These famous names struggled with, and overcame, bullying at its worst
If you’re being cyberbullied, you’re in good company. Victims of online haters include pop stars, actors and other celebrities now at the top of their game.
Taylor Swift and Demi Lovato were bullied when they were younger. Now LeAnn Rimes is the latest celebrity to draw attention to the issue. But these high achievers have turned the tables—in different ways. Let’s see what lessons we can learn from their experiences.
Lesson 1: Get creative
Channel your feelings into something creative—art, literature, music, whatever makes you happy. That’s what Taylor Swift does. She told Ellen DeGeneres that school was tough, and often she was alone. When she was ignored, she said, “I’d be like, `It’s okay, because I can write a song about this later.’”
Later, the kids who were mean to her showed up at a concert linelooking for an autograph. “It was bittersweet, because it made me realize that they didn’t remember being mean to me, and that I needed to forget about it, too. If I hadn’t come home from school miserable every day, maybe I wouldn’t have been so motivated to write songs. I should probably thank them!”
Lesson 2: Raise Awareness
Disney star turned X-Factor judge Demi Lovato had a hard time in middle school. She was teased mercilessly after appearing on the children’s show Barney & Friends and producing a CD. Lovato has spoken on behalf of the anti-bully group PACER and has appeared on America’s Next Top Model and CNN to draw attention to the problem. Now she’s the Anti-Bully Ambassador for the new Secret deodorant “Mean Stinks” campaign.
Lesson 3: Spread kindness
The best defense against bullies, Lovato has preached, is to spread kindness. She encourages everyone to wear blue nail polish on pinkie fingers for National Cyberbullying Prevention Month to show you’re against bullying. “I’ll definitely be wearing [the nail polish] starting soon,” she said. “It’s a conversation starter: ‘Hey, why is your pinky blue?’ This is a pinky promise that I’m not going to bully people, that my friends and I are ganging up for good.’ ”
Lesson 4: Take action
When the online hate crosses into real-world threats, it’s time to take action. Maybe that’s legal or police action, or maybe it’s contacting the bullies’ parents.
That’s what LeAnn Rimes is doing. The country music star is fighting back against haters on Twitter with lawsuits and increased media attention. The cause of all her torment stems from her relationship with husband Eddie Cibrian. Cibrian’s ex, a Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star, has a mob of rabid supporters, who have tried to make life miserable for the 30-year-old singer.
Lesson 5: Ignore the haters
The list of bullied celebrities is long. In Emma Watson’s case it extended to college where the Harry Potter star was tormented at Brown University for her part in the successful film franchise. (She since made a move to Columbia University in New York City.)
For every tragic case, there’s the story of someone who has turned it around. Michael Phelps dealt with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder as a child. A teacher told his mom, “He’s not gifted. Your son will never be able to focus on anything.” Now the most successful Olympian in history—that takes a little focus—his trainer has said he’s a “motivation machine … bad moods, good moods, he channels everything for gain.”
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