With just nine days left until Avengers: Infinity War, everyone is waiting to see how fans react to this surefire blockbuster, but this superhero adventure has already inspired a photographer to help stop bullying. Josh Rossi was so inspired by the Avengers: Infinity War trailer, that he took it upon himself to "assemble" 15 kids who were victims of bullying, and turn them into Avengers in an epic photoshoot. Here's what Josh Rossi had to say about how the trailer for Avengers: Infinity War inspired him to help victims of bullying, and how the social media platform Vero helped them put this shoot together.
"After recently seeing the trailer for the new Avengers movie, my wife Roxana and I were inspired to bring bullied kids together to provide a platform where their voices could be heard. In the movie, the bully of the universe, Thanos, comes to take over the world, but the Avengers unite to destroy him. Each Avenger has unique differences and strengths ranging from green and purple skin to being able to stop time. Without each superhero's strength and power, their efforts to defeat Thanos will be unsuccessful. Similar to bullying, as we unite against it we can stop it. After recently finishing the Justice League Kids series, we were contacted by the social media app Vero who offered to help us with any future projects we had. We told them about the bully project and they were in!"
Josh Rossi revealed on his official website that when he was first thinking about this project, he came across a video of Jackson Bezzant's father. The father made the video because he wanted to explain how his son, who had been born with facial deformities, had been called a "monster" and "freak" at school. While Rossi hadn't officially put this project in motion, he reached out to the father through social media and said he wanted his son to be a part of his anti-bullying project. Josh and his wife Roxanna would ultimately "assemble" 15 kids to be a part of this project, offering a heartbreaking glimpse into these kids' daily lives on his website.
"Going into this project, my wife Roxana and I didn't know the heart breaking details of each kid's story. We didn't know that 12 year old Jackson Sommers (Dr. Strange ) had 35% of his brain missing and that kids pushed him down and spit on him at school because he walked and talked differently than they did. We didn't know that Sydney Gerardis (Gamora) was secretly contemplating her suicide when her close friends told her they'd throw a party if she died. We definitely didn't know the cruel words that were said to Grant Southam (Ironman) when he would walk past kids at school every day and they would yell "the retard is here!" while beating their chests."
After word about this project started to spread, Rossi got some support from a famous youngster, eight-year-old Jaxson Bieber, the younger brother of Justin Bieber, who flew out to be a part of the photo shoot as Thor. Jaxson Bieber joined Jackson Bezzant (Captain America), Grant Southam (Iron Man), Sydney Gerardis (Gamora), Cole Helton (Vision), Joshua Walker (Star-Lord), Mia Velarde (Scarlet Witch), Braiden Ellerman (The Incredible Hulk), Jackson Sommers (Doctor Strange), Benson Bateman (Spider-Man), Leila Puentes (Maria Hill), Jaron Balico (Drax the Destroyer), Dorothy Gee (Black Widow), Morisi Elakano (Black Panther), Benjamin Crofts (The Falcon) and Miles Fuqua (Hawkeye) as the "Avengers of Bullying."
All of the wonderful costumes were designed and created by Julie Whiteley, who spent three months on the costumes prior to the shoot. Josh Rossi also released a video featuring some of these kids telling their own stories, plus behind-the-scenes footage of the shoot, and you can take a look at all of the posters below. We also have tweets from Zoe Saldana, who revealed on Twitter that she was inspired by Josh Rossi's work. You can take a look at the video and posters below, and visit Josh Rossi's website at FullTimePhotographer.com to learn more about these incredible kids.
These bullying victims were turned into the Avengers for this awesome photoshoot pic.twitter.com/5fAkVUbGGL— NowThis (@nowthisnews) April 18, 2018
Jackson has been called a freak and a monster because of his facial differences. He told his mom he wanted to wear a mask and was even thinking of killing himself. He is now #CaptainAmerica in this #InfinityWar#stopbullying series. 💥#herewecome@ChrisEvans@Russo_Brotherspic.twitter.com/yiF82ZK6ND— Josh Rossi (@JoshRossiPhoto) April 10, 2018
Sydney has struggled with depression and bullying in school to the point where she was thinking of taking her life. Find out how #Gamora empowered her in our #InfinityWar#fightagainstbullying series here: https://t.co/r5Ijs9ZVQy 💥@zoesaldana@Russo_Brothers#sharesydneystorypic.twitter.com/ShlWoFDsgm— Josh Rossi (@JoshRossiPhoto) April 11, 2018
Benson is prob Spider-Man’s #1 fan. He started getting bullied in 1st grade and had kids tell him “I wish you weren’t alive”. Benson draws great inspiration from Spider-Man @TomHolland1996 . Read his story https://t.co/r5Ijs9ZVQy@domholland@Russo_Brothers#infinitywar#bullyingpic.twitter.com/1NbqCIeEgw— Josh Rossi (@JoshRossiPhoto) April 12, 2018
These kids are hoping @TheEllenShow sees this. She inspires them ❤️. Their full stories: https://t.co/r5Ijs9ZVQy. Feel free to Retweet and help their voices be heard! @andylassner@EdGlavin@MaryConnelly@EllenFans@official_tWitch#herewecome#infinitywar#waragainstbullyingpic.twitter.com/2262BiXS7u— Josh Rossi (@JoshRossiPhoto) April 13, 2018
Jackson Sommers has been bullied because he does things differently due to having 35% of his cerebellum missing. See how he was empowered by @DrStrange in the #infinitywar#herewecome series by @JoshRossiPhoto:https://t.co/r5Ijs9ZVQy@scottderrickson@Russo_Brothers@louisde2pic.twitter.com/35H4sGZit7— Josh Rossi (@JoshRossiPhoto) April 16, 2018
Speaking out and fighting back. These kid are standing up to bullying. #herewecome#AvengersofBullying#DrStrange @Marvel@MarvelStudios@Avengers@ChrisEvans@JoshRossiPhoto@MarkRuffalopic.twitter.com/zfn4h6I9tb— Katie (@ksommers14) April 10, 2018