Kim Kardashian ‘Inspired’ Charli D’Amelio’s Work on Prison Reform: «I Was Truly Astounded» (Exclusive)

“Some of the stories about being trapped in this cycle are heartbreaking,” the TikTok star tells PEOPLE

Published on April 16, 2024 06:52PM EDT
Charli D'Amelio on How Kim Kardashian Inspired Her Work with Prison Reform
Charli D’Amelio, Kim Kardashian . PHOTO: STEVEN SIMIONE/FILMMAGIC; MICHAEL TRAN/AFP VIA GETTY

Charli D’Amelio is tipping her hat to Kim Kardashian for inspiring her to get involved in social change.

Speaking exclusively to PEOPLE, the 19-year-old social media influencer — D’Amelio is teaming up with REFORM Alliance to empower Gen Z to embrace supervision reform as a priority issue — discussed how she’s using her star power to help others.

“I heard Kim speak on this issue at a dinner hosted at Michael Rubin’s house that really kicked off the idea for REFORM’s Future Shapers Advisory Council,” says the “if you ask me to” singer about becoming involved in criminal justice reform.

Charli D'Amelio on How Kim Kardashian Inspired Her Work with Prison Reform
Charli D’Amelio and Kim Kardashian. TIFFANY ROSE/GETTY; STEVE GRANITZ/FILMMAGIC

“She talked about what inspired her to get involved in fighting for reform and gave us advice on how to use our platforms to change policies and help people in the system,” D’Amelio adds of the SKIMS founder, 43.

One of the former incarcerated individuals that the business and beauty mogul previously worked with was Alice Marie Johnson — a woman who was sentenced to life in prison after her 1996 conviction for her involvement in a Memphis cocaine trafficking organization.

“Kim talked about Ms. Alice Marie Johnson and how unjust it was for her to be serving a life sentence in prison. Kim said she had to do something to help this woman, and eventually her efforts helped free Ms. Alice,” D’Amelio tells PEOPLE.

Charli D'Amelio at Revolve Festival: The Seventh Annual Fashion, Music and Lifestyle Event held on April 13, 2024 in Palm Springs, California.
Charli D’Amelio, April 2024. GILBERT FLORES/WWD VIA GETTY

“I was really blown away by the impact she’s had. Kim has helped so many people directly and her involvement with REFORM and other groups helped pass laws that have changed thousands and thousands of lives,» she adds.

The D’Amelio Show talent said she left the dinner feeling “inspired” to continue educating herself, adding that she wanted to “use my platform to shine a light on what’s happening in our probation and parole system.”

Last week, the TikTok star appeared in a social media campaign that featured other Gen Z talent — including her older sister Dixie D’Amelio —  as they came together to get college students involved.

“We can all use our platform and our voices to help pass more laws, and help more people,” Dixie, 22, says in the Instagram clip.

Charli also opened up to PEOPLE about why REFORM means so much to her. “I’ve met people who have been in the system, and some of the stories about being trapped in this cycle are heartbreaking,” she says.

She adds that she and her family have attended events with REFORM co-founder Rubin that have left a lasting impression.

Charli discussed how “minor technical violations like missing a meeting with your probation officer” can cause a negative ripple effect. “The main people that end up suffering are their children. Meeting the young kids affected by the cycle really broke my heart,» she says.

«This is not about excusing crimes. It’s about a system that cares more about being punitive due to technicalities,» adds Charli.

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“We need to make sure that prisons, jails, and our supervision system don’t continue to create cycles of harm,” adds Future Shapers Advisory co-chair Rondo Bonilla.

“Hurt people hurt people — and the system doesn’t really help them get better. We need to help people who’ve been hurt, and get them healed and onto a better path,» says Bonilla. «I believe my generation will show up and lead the charge. Let’s get to work.”

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