Growing up is hard. Form parents harping on you to judgmental peers, it’s easy to feel like you’re alone. This is especially true if you’ve been bullied. The fame and success of your favourite celebrities feel beyond distant from your reality—they feel downright unattainable. Whether your dream is to pursue music, fashion, acting, broadcast journalism, or any other high profile profession, the weight of being bullied can make it seem as though your dreams will never come to life. While these ten celebrities are now living the high life, they show that bullies don’t discriminate and are everywhere.
It also shows that when you can rise up above what a bully might say and really focus on your goals, their insults and judgements will only help motivate you further toward your goals. From their looks, to their heritage, to interests, talents and social groups, these celebrities have seen it all. While they may now have high profile lives that often make their lives seem endlessly glamorous, you only need to turn to your grocery store magazine rack to see that celebrities are faced with criticism everyday. What makes these celebrities different is that they choose not to focus on the negative, but rather to focus on what is positive in their lives.
Success may be harder to achieve when you have a troubled past, but the more you struggle, the more sweet the success will be. When you’re feeling low or like celebrities have some untouchable life that is somehow perfect, take a look at these ten celebs to see how you can rise above your pain and crush your goals.
10. Tyra Banks
From being a Victoria Secret model to hosting reality and talk shows to having her own business ventures, there isn’t much that Tyra Banks can’t do. While Tyra is known for her stunning beauty, kind nature, and willingness to stand up against the unrealistic standards that society puts on women in terms of body image, Tyra hasn’t always been surrounded by praise. In a 2012 interview with the Daily Mail, Banks told the paper about how a growth spurt that caused her to gain three inches in height and drop 30 pounds made her the target of every joke in school. While Banks may have been bullied in her youth, she’s used that pain to drive her into being the successful and confident woman she is today.
9. Lady Gaga
From slaying record charts with her hypnotic songs to slaying characters on American Horror Story: Hotel, singer, songwriter and actress Lady Gaga is a celebrity that is fiercely true to herself. While Gaga isn’t afraid to show off her unique sense of style and takes pride in her talents, she wasn’t always admired for her avant-garde approach to life. In a 2011 interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Gaga told interviewer Brian Hiatt that she was often bullied for her looks in high school. While Gaga may have been ridiculed for being different, she’s proven that being true to yourself will always get you farther in life than clinging to the flock.
8. Demi Lovato
From launching her career in acting at the age of ten in the hit children’s show Barney and Friends, to her work with the Disney channel, to her successful singing career, Demi Lovato has been candid about her struggles to gain confidence despite her success. People magazine notes that the actress/ singer was bullied so badly that she ultimately had to seek treatment for an eating disorder she developed, along with her struggles with self injury through cutting. Through treatment and learning to love and appreciate herself, Lovato has overcome her past. The 23 year old beauty now works with anti-bullying campaigns, like Dove’s “Mean Stinks” campaign aimed at bringing awareness to the issues of being bullied.
7. Zac Efron
With those piercing blue eyes, beach-ready hair and awesome body, it’s hard to believe there was ever a time when Zac Efron didn’t have people flocking to him. From his sweet hearted days in 17 Again and High School Musical to his more current ventures in romantic book-to-film adaptations like The Lucky One, Zac Efron has made a name for himself among the young elite in Hollywood. Before his launch to stardom, Mirror notes that Effron was known as a clumsy, dorky kid who never really fit in, making him a perfect target for bullies. Thankfully, Effron didn’t let anyone get in the way of his dreams, allowing him to go on to land several acting roles, including his breakout role in High School Musical that would launch him into stardom.
6. Taylor Swift
Between catchy lyrics, fun musical collaborations, and a killer sense of style, there’s a lot to like about singer/songwriter Taylor Swift. While Swift had her sights set on singing professionally early on in life, her passion didn’t spare her from the cruel words of fellow students. In a Spring 2009 issue of Teen Vogue, Swift told the magazine she struggled in junior high school because she was “dumped” by the popular crowd, leaving her to fend for herself. While no one deserves to be left behind by their friends, Swifts experiences have clearly helped her grow into an influential young artist who can relate to the day-to-day struggle of her fans.
5. Anna Kendrick
From her role as the ditzy yet funny highschool student Jessica in the Twilight Saga film franchise to her killer performance in the Pitch Perfect films and others, Anna Kendrick is an actress that knows how to make audiences laugh effortlessly. In the face of criticism that comes her way, Kendrick told Bustle that if someone says she’s ugly or unattractive, she retorts that most of her high school classmates would have agreed. It may be a unique way to combat the haters, but it lets Kenrick walk away with her head held high. Clearly she has more important things to worry about than what shallow people think. If others can’t see her beauty and talent, that’s not going to stop Anna from achieving her goals.
Rihanna has a bit of everything—she’s got a great vocal range, her music has infectious beats that can make you bob your head subconsciously, and she’s got a look that’s alluring and exotic. While Rihanna regularly tops the music charts and is regularly featured on popular magazine covers, she went through her share of awkward moments and has noted repeatedly that she was bullied throughout school. While Rihanna’s past with being bullied is more commonplace than it should be, she proves that if you focus on your passions, you will rise above the hate and come into your own.
3. Michael Phelps
Being an olympic level competitive swimmer takes countless hours of dedication and focus to achieve. American swimming olympian Michael Phelps, who has racked up more Olympic medals than any other olympian (22 total to date), faced constant bullying in school but he didn’t let that cut into his hours. Phelps was picked on for his looks throughout school, but he stayed focused on his dreams, working hard, and clearly got over the hateful comments of his peers. A fierce competitor who is a champion of dedication and persistence, Michael Phelps is an inspiration for anyone who may be facing bullying but is willing to go after their dreams.
2. Kristin Kreuk
Superhero television show regular, Kristin Kreuk hasn’t always lived life on the red carpet. As Madame Noire notes, before Kreuk’s days acting in superhero romance roles and slapstick comedy films, she was teased in school for everything that made her different from her classmates. While Kreuk endured constant bullying in school, she has proven that not believing what bullies say or letting them get under your skin can help shape you into the person you want to be. Resilience is a quality everyone needs to learn, and Kreuk has proven she has what it takes to stand up to her most fierce critics.
1. Justin Timberlake
It’s hard to listen to a pop radio station today and not hear a Justin Timberlake song. From his early days in *NSYNC to his solo career, Timberlake has made a name for himself as a soulful singer and songwriter who knows how to woo the ladies and make everybody dance. When Justin isn’t singing and dancing to his latest tracks, he can often be found doing commercial bits with friend Jimmy Fallon. While Timberlake has found great success as a singer and songwriter, he noted on Ellen that as a kid, he was made fun of because he was more into the arts and because he didn’t care for more “typical” guy hobbies like sports. While stereotypes die hard, JT shows us that persistence and individuality will always top fitting in with the crowd.