If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Demi Lovato’s new documentary ‘Simply Complicated’, it’s that being a victim of bullying when you’re young won’t hold you back from basically conquering the universe.
Demi’s bullying experience at school sounded horrible – kids would laugh at her demos, shout at her, write hate petitions – and she’s been pretty outspoken about its impact on her mental health.
Since becoming a global success story, Demi's thrown herself into anti-bullying campaigns. She was named ambassador of Mean Stinks, an anti-bulllying campaign with Secret aiming to end girl-on-girl bullying, she was a spokeswoman for the anti-bullying organisation PACER and she just generally NEVER fails to speak up against hate, always promoting kindness and acceptance in its place.
“When you go out into the world feeling confident in who you are and what you reflect, young folks will call you names and grown folks will call you names. It’s ok. One day you will name yourself, and that name will belong to you. It will not be the ones they ordained: “crazy, ugly, attention-seeking, weirdo.” – Teen Vogue
You’d think that Solange Knowles of all people would escape torment at school, but when she wrote a powerful letter to her younger self in Teen Vogue in May, she recalled feeling victimised.
She continued that she even gets bullied as an adult too. “I really hate to tell you this, but sometimes you will still get called these things as an adult, except you will actually embrace some of them. You will learn that these are just words. Words that only have power if you choose to give them power. Every once in a while they will hurt, but you will choose to turn those words into a symbol of beauty.”
“I’m by myself in the stairwell, and the entire basketball team comes up the steps and one of the boys beats the hell out of me” – RuPaul’s Drag Race
This season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Peppermint told a chilling story about her years at high school. After she had commented that one of the basketball players on the school team was "cute", the entire team later turned on her and beat her up.
And now? Now she’s a fabulous internationally renowned drag queen with the world at her feet, all because she stayed true to her real self. Winning.
4. Kylie Jenner
Growing up, I’ve heard the worst things anyone could ever say about me and bullying was such a big part of my life with the whole entire world judging me and stuff. So I started to look towards people with, like, I think, bigger more real issues then I have.” - Wonderland magazine
In an interview with Wonderland magazine in March last year, Kylie talked about the fact that being thrust into the Keeping Up With The Kardashians spotlight from such a young age wasn't as glam as it may have seemed. Kylie was getting bullied at school, and eventually she even opted to be home schooled.
Since then, as well as creating her own empire with her beauty range, and basically becoming a millionaire at just 18, Kylie decided that her bullies were just haters, and that there were worst things in the world to have to cope with. Cue her anti-bullying Instagram campaign #IAmMoreThan which saw her post six different pictures of inspiring individuals who had turned the negative bullying they received into something positive. And it was hella empowering.
5. Ed Sheeran
(about being bullied) “People don’t like what is different. I think there were three redheads in our school, and that was different… Kids are always gonna find things to pick on other kids for”
He might be the world's most successful male solo artist now, but back in the day Ed Sheeran wasn't always appreciated for who he was. Ed was a victim of bullying growing up, but he didn't let that phase him as he continued to focus on his music, built up his YouTube channel, committed to making it in music and, finally, absolutely bladdy smashed it to the point of no return.
We'd like to see that school reunion.
6. Justin Timberlake
“Everything that you get picked on for or feel makes you weird is essentially what’s going to make you sexy as an adult.”
Justin Timberlake told Ellen DeGeneres that as a kid he was often called a sissy for choosing to spend time doing arty stuff over sports. Moral of the story – follow your passions, even if they’re deemed uncool, and you could be the next global superstar to bring sexy back.
7. Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus bared all about bullying in her book. One of her worst moments in high school saw her locked in a toilet by girls much bigger and stronger than her. She banged on the door for so long waiting to be rescued, “Wondering how my life had gotten so messed up.”
Since reaching mega-fame she’s supported a bunch of anti-bullying campaigns and charities, and has spoken out about online trolling and the mental scars it can leave.