Everybody was, at some point or another, a victim of bullying from others, whether it was played off as light teasing or it was brutal torment of both a physical and mental nature. Even, believe it or not, a lot of familiar faces, like beautiful top stars and influential role models, were not left unscathed by the ruthless nature of those around them, yet they have grown from the days of hurt and pain. They've come out a better woman for it, brave enough to talk about it to younger girls who need their sage advice and need to know about their experience in order to feel less alone in the world, in order to know it's okay to talk about bullying and that it's nothing to be ashamed about.
In a time where bullying takes even new forms through social media and awareness is spread through timeless stories like 13 Reasons Why, it's time to celebrate past victims of bullying who have prevailed to become the confident, successful women we know today.
Read their stories below and you'll see for yourself that not everyone starts off fierce and bold, but it's more than possible to become that person!
15 Jessica Alba
This gorgeous, sexy star revealed that she wasn't always this way! She is a celebrity well-known for her past experience as a victim of bullying. She had revealed she was a shy and awkward teenager, and her looks had not yet bloomed, so girls would frequently want to pick fights with her. As a result, her father had to walk her to school and she ate lunch in the nurse's room! However, she stayed strong, never trying to stoop to their level to fight back and, in the end, she revealed how much she was able to grow as a result, revealing that in order to escape it all, she picked up acting classes and discovered her passion in life. Thanks to those classes and her immense love for acting, she has become the successful star we all know and love today! She stands up for her decisions and her beliefs with conviction. Bullies wouldn't have such an easy go with her anymore, would they?
14 Kate Middleton
Plenty of reports had come out to reveal a surprising fact that the classy Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, was bullied when she was younger. It was revealed that she was a normal and meek girl, an easy target for the more assertive girls at the boarding school she had attended. On top of that, she was a newcomer at this cliquey establishment and was a day girl, not a boarder, meaning she only came for classes but did not sleep at the school. There are some contradicting accounts of what exactly happened to her, but it appears she was ostracized with some name-calling and book-stealing going on. Although she may have been a nice girl who "lacked personality" when younger, she has now grown to be a more confident and radiant woman that the people look up to all over the world! And she's already using this to her benefit, bringing attention to the charity called Beatbullying to help with donations for the cause.
13 Sandra Bullock
This talented actress not only had a big transformation in Miss Congeniality but a pretty big one in real life, too! We know her as the confident, outspoken actress today who takes on tough roles like Leigh Anne Tuohy, a woman who stands up for a voice left unheard in society in the acclaimed film The Blind Side. However, it was revealed that as a child, she dreaded going to school because of the bullies. Because of her "frumpy" clothes from traveling abroad and her lisp, kids made fun of her and "whooped her ass"--to the point she can still remember all their names! Surely now, instead of dreading anything, she'd be ready to show them all that she's just got too much class to care.
12 Dove Cameron
You may know this radiant star from Disney's Liv and Maddie! Although she plays both the tough athlete and the popular starlet, she revealed in a surprising interview with Yahoo! that her experience in high school was quite different from what was portrayed on TV. She revealed she was constantly bullied by the other girls, suffering from actions like being locked in the closet, getting her dress ruined by chocolate milk, constantly being tripped, and even having razors thrown at her with the comment, "Go kill yourself," by a group of girls. Although this would definitely be a tough situation for anybody to go through, the bright star was able to keep on going thanks to her mother and the mature understanding that the bullies were going through problems of their own. In the end, she knew there was something special about her, perhaps something the others envied, and so she kept nurturing that part of her until she became the adored star she is today with her own TV show and over 11 million followers on Instagram!
11 Bethany Mota
This huge, beloved YouTube star did not stay quiet on her tumultuous teenage years, revealing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and other media that she had been bullied by her classmates for years. A group of them had even created a Facebook page for her in which they would frequently bash her physical appearance, leading to an extreme dip in her self-confidence. As her depression and anxiety grew, she eventually left public school to be home schooled by her parents and found an outlet for herself: YouTube. Through her time away from school and her videos, she regained her self-confidence, took back her radiance, and became a huge sensation. As a result, she collaborated with Aeropostale, went on speaking tours, and competed on Dancing with the Stars! She has also talked about her experience with bullying on her popular channel which even now has a whopping 10 million subscribers.
10 Tess Holliday
This plus-size model was the very first size-22 model to sign with a major agency, MILK Management, and she continues to rise in popularity for how she confidently shows off her body and ignores the haters. However, she wasn't always this confident! She revealed that when she was younger, she had constantly been bullied, leading to low self-esteem. She had surrounded herself with "friends" who kept making fun of how she looked and joked about her body. Otherwise, she was ostracized and alone while attending school. However, that did not stop her from coming to embrace her body. She eventually made the decision to become a model and stuck with it, learning to accentuate her beauty with the power of makeup and accepting--nay flaunting--her size to become a hugely successful model and familiar face.
9 Demi Lovato
A strong and fierce diva today, super talented singer Demi Lovato had meeker days when she was the constant victim of harsh bullying at school. The former Disney star revealed that she was bullied for being "fat," and this eventually led to an eating disorder. There was even a hate wall in the school bathroom and a petition for girls who hated her. Eventually, she left to be home-schooled, but now she has grown to be not only a powerful singer but also a powerful voice that will shout to be heard. Known to be outspoken and armed with an admirable attitude that refuses to back down, Demi Lovato now sings about being "Confident" and works to boost others' individuality rather than succumb to criticism.
8 Ronda Rousey
No one would mess with this powerful MMA fighter now! Especially not any of the kids who may have bullied her when she was little. It was revealed that when she was a child, Ronda Rousey had a speech impediment that made her difficult to understand. Children would either ignore her so they wouldn't have to speak to her or they would outright bully her. Like with most people who have such impediments or disabilities, she suffered a low self-image, and in order to boost her self-confidence, she, like Jessica Alba, discovered the magic outlet--sports. She worked hard to get to where she is now, raking in amazing accomplishments like becoming a UFC Champion and Olympian. She now advises other victims of bullying to stand up for themselves and spreads her inner strength by being an inspirational role model.
7 Taylor Swift
Another pop artist as well as America's sweetheart, Taylor Swift revealed that she had suffered from bullying when younger, too. According to her, the popular girls dumped her because they did not find her "cool or pretty enough." It was also deemed weird that she was so into country music. However, she was able to channel all her feelings into her songs and become a huge international sensation. She now says that she should thank them because if it weren't for her bullies, she wouldn't have honed her skills in songwriting and have such a successful singing career! If anything, it makes her even more relatable for the fans who adore her. She's certainly shining and confident now, not afraid to be bold with bright red lips, even a daring genre change, and telling people off through songs like "Shake It Off"!
6 Marzia Bisognin
This lovable and quirky YouTube star opened up on her blog about hardships she endured in the past. Now, it's important to note that bullying isn't always such an open-and-shut case like picking fights, locking victims up in closed spaces, vicious name-calling, and all that. Sometimes, bullying takes on much subtler form--but is hurtful nonetheless. In Marzia's case, she revealed that she grew very self-conscious about herself during school because of how thin she was. Her lack of curves was constantly brought up by boys who made fun of her and girls who teased her. Even grownups and teachers got involved, some calling her home to ask her parents if she had eating disorders. One teacher even demanded she eat a sandwich in front of everybody else on a school bus. However, although she was very embarrassed and miserable at the time, she is no longer so meek. She writes that she wishes she had as much confidence when she was younger and that she could have "[laughed] about people’s opinions about [her] and not let them influence [her] so deeply . . . [She learned] to love [her] body instead and let people talk . . . [She] worked through [her] insecurities and [she] now [accepts her] flaws."
5 Khloe Kardashian
A household name and well-known face, Khloe Kardashian may seem to have it all. She certainly seemed to be a confident and bold personality who wouldn't let anybody walk all over her--but it turns out that this was not always the case. She had opened up on multiple accounts in the past about her painful childhood as a victim of bullying. She revealed that she was often called fat and ugly and was compared to her sisters, resulting in her internalizing those words to think about herself the same way as her oppressors. She revealed that those words would play on repeat inside her head. However, she is now beloved as a tough woman, a crowd favorite with how she always says what's on her mind and is more confident about her body. She's not an easy target anymore!
4 Khoudia Diop
This beautiful teen was constantly bullied in Senegal for her dark skin tone. She revealed this was fairly common in her country but that didn't make it any easier--which may be why more and more women are purchasing skin whitening products there. However, she revealed that she kept working hard to love herself and tune out the negativity, embracing her skin to become a model and internet sensation! She has over 200k followers on Instagram and is leading a revolution by storm with her work with The Colored Girl, Inc. to boost all women's self-esteem and celebrate their diversity! She says, "If you’re lucky enough to be different, don’t ever change." You keep holding your head up high and you tell them, Khoudia!
3 Shay Mitchell
This "pretty little liar" revealed that she used to be bullied in school, saying that a group of friends turned their back on her and she was ostracized, partly because of her roots (her mother is Filipina and her father is Irish-Scottish). Look at her now! Gorgeous and a regular on an immensely popular series, Shay Mitchell has made a name for herself as a successful actress. In the past, she tried to belong, feeling insecure about how no one in media looked like her. She would dye her hair blonde and wear blue contacts, but now she's all about standing out rather than fitting in! She owns who she is and how she looks, to great response from all her fans. Who needs friends who would ditch someone so easily anyway?
2 Miley Cyrus
This pop singer and former Disney star might be the epitome of confidence and a badass IDGAF attitude now, but turns out she was as insecure as everybody else when younger. She revealed she was bullied when younger, in part because of her acne problems, to the point she grew very depressed. Kids would even bring up her father, saying he was a one-hit wonder. There were even physical altercations with bullies pushing her down and locking her in the bathroom. Now she says she's a lot stronger than when she was younger, and we can sure see it now with how she doesn't care what people think about her. She even wrote a book about her experiences being bullied in school, hoping to spread awareness and lend support to those suffering the same way.
1 Priyanka Chopra
A huge up-and-coming star in America's entertainment sphere, Priyanak Chopra of Quantico revealed that she had briefly lived in the States only to be bullied in high school for three years before escaping back to India. She revealed there would be racial slurs like "Brownie" and "curry" and she was often told to go back home, which she eventually did. She admitted she was scared of showing who she was in all her glory, to be more outwardly proud of being Indian in front of racist bullies. However, she is no longer afraid to show anything. She plays a tough character in Quantico and continues to reap in immense success. She can now be seen often everywhere with a bright, radiant, and self-assured smile on her face that you can't help but love. Looks like this time she's here to stay!