One of the 'tween' girls who posted a video of herself on YouTube asking "am I ugly?" has revealed she's actually a 21-year-old art student.
Sophia Roessler's video was featured on "The Today Show," "Good Morning America" and other news outlets as an example of the alarming online trend, but she's not a tween or even a teen for that matter.
The Kansas City Art Institute senior emailed the women's blog Jezebel, who first broke the story, and admitted she's a 21-year-old college student working on a thesis project concerning tween culture and the societal pressures facing girls transitioning into womanhood.
Roessler explained to Jezebel that her work focuses on the "often awkward transition from young girl to womanhood and how confusing it can be to figure out if you're sexy, and what sexy is supposed to be."
In a statement later added to her "Am I Ugly" video, Roessler explained the video was a "social experiment as well as commentary on this disturbing trend."
"I found the videos these girls were making and thought, 'How awful,' I just wanted to hug them," she told the Kansas City Star. "It is a difficult and confusing experience and my video aims to express some of the feelings associated with this uncertain period of life."
Critics of the videos expressed concern that tweens are only harming themselves by asking anonymous strangers for look-based critiques, and Roessler's social experiment also proved that even at 21, she wasn't immune to online bullying.
"Of course I cared what people said, event though I didn't think I would," she told Jezebel, adding that mean comments, even about her hair, which she intentionally messed up to appear younger, made her feel worse than she expected.