It’s a sad fact that almost everybody can recollect incidents of appearance-based bullying from their childhood. After all, kids can be relentless if their peers are seen to be too thin, too fat, too short or really anything at all that deviates from the norm – whatever that is. But it’s not just “ordinary”-looking folk who’ve suffered this. In fact, some celebrities now considered to be among the most beautiful people in the world have some truly surprising, even shocking, stories about being body-shamed.
20. Tyra Banks
Supermodel Tyra Banks was in fact on both sides of the bullying divide at school. First, she bullied other kids, but then, as her looks changed, she found that she was the one being picked on. In 2011 she recollected the experience and urged her fans to support the “Stop Bullying: Speak Up” campaign.
19. Mila Kunis
“I had a very funny-looking face when I was little. I had like big eyes, big lips, big ears,” actress Mila Kunis told OK! back in 2011. “I was constantly being made fun of for having big eyes and that was awful.” Of course, no one thinks that the Golden Globe-nominated actor is “funny-looking” now.
18. Nina Dobrev
In 2013 The Vampire Diaries star Nina Dobrev told E! News that she was bullied in third grade for her “chunky face.” However, she was the one who later sunk her teeth into the gorgeous Ian Somerhalder and formed one of TV’s most beautiful couples.
Surely someone as confident and radiant as Rihanna could never have been bullied? Wrong. “I got teased my entire school life… It was my skin color. Then when I got older, it was about my breasts,” the singer told Glamour in 2013. “But I’m not victimized — I’m grateful.”
16. Gisele Bündchen
In May 2016 the Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen told The New York Times, “I was used to being bullied because I was always tall and skinny and stuck out.” However, it was those exact qualities that helped her become the highest-paid model in the world.
15. Kate Winslet
Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet was bullied for her weight in school. Now, however, she is more than happy to rub her success in the faces of her bullies. Speaking on the Today show in September 2016, she said, “This is my revenge. This right here. This lovely career that I have been blessed with.” Sweet revenge, indeed.
14. Joan Smalls
Supermodel Joan Smalls didn’t think much of her looks as a kid. “I was so awkward-looking-tall, super skinny, gangly. The boys at school made fun of me,” she told Lucky in 2015. Now, however, they’d probably fall over each other to have a chance with her.
13. Rumer Willis
Unfortunately, even having Bruce Willis as your dad won’t protect you from bullying, it seems. In fact, Rumer Willis was often body-shamed by other kids throughout her childhood. In an essay she subsequently wrote for Glamour in 2015, she revealed that her mother Demi Moore helped her get through it.
12. Jessie J
British singer Jessie J suffered such unpleasant bullying at school that she ended up referencing it in her music. Her song “Who’s Laughing Now” features a reference to her childhood nickname of “Bugs Bunny” as well as the pertinent lyrics, “But thank you for the pain, It made me raise my game.”
11. Rita Ora
Singer and America’s Next Top Model host Rita Ora was body-shamed at school because she developed curves before anyone else. But fast-forward a few years, and we can assume that she’s pretty happy with her sexy figure now.
10. Eva Mendes
“I was a gawky, skinny girl with big teeth and that made me an easy target,” actress Eva Mendes told the Daily Mail in 2011. “I had two bullies and they tortured me all through junior high school.” These days, though, Mendes is consistently ranked as one of the sexiest women in the world.
9. Shailene Woodley
Actress Shailene Woodley was picked on at school for being too thin. “Freshman year, upperclassmen would call me anorexic, so I’d go home and cry, wishing really hard for the curves to appear,” she told Seventeen in 2012. Now, however, she encourages her fans to be body-positive.
8. Viola Davis
Actress Viola Davis’ bullying story is horrific. “Eight to 12 boys every day would chase me after school with bricks and sticks and just say, ‘ugly, black, ugly, ugly,’” she later recalled on The Talk in 2012. Hopefully, those boys feel guilty now, and not just because Davis grew up attractive and talented.
7. Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato was bullied for her weight as a child, leading to an eating disorder later on in life. The singer, who has been open about her mental-health issues, now supports anti-bullying campaigns such as Secret’s “Mean Stinks.”
6. Rosario Dawson
The beautiful Rosario Dawson was in fact bullied at school for not having enough curves. “One of my worst memories is getting all dressed up for a school activity and having the girls pick on me because I was flat-chested,” the actress told PBS Kids.
5. Cindy Crawford
Supermodel Cindy Crawford is a living example of how a weakness can become a strength. Indeed, at school, boys taunted her about the mole on her face to the point that she wanted it removed. But her mother convinced her to live with it. Now, of course, it’s her trademark.
4. Jessica Chastain
It’s hard to accept that Jessica Chastain could ever have been considered ugly, but she was. “I was told every day at school that I was ugly. And that no one wanted to be my friend. The most cruel things,” she told Glamour in 2014. For this reason, she’s now an activist for bullying victims.
3. Kate Upton
“Kids can be cruel, and they used to make fun of me for having long legs and bushy eyebrows,” supermodel Kate Upton told Glamour in 2016. But it was defiance of the bullying that put her on the path to modeling – so the joke’s on them.
2. Lady Gaga
In 2011 Lady Gaga revealed to NY Daily News that she was bullied for “being ugly, having a big nose, being annoying.” But now she has 12 Guinness World Records, six Grammy Awards and an army of adoring fans, so no-one would dare touch her now.
1. Rosie Huntington-Whitely
Supermodel Rosie Huntington-Whitely was teased for her big lips while at school. “I was called ‘Kipper Lips,’ and boys didn’t really go out with me,” she told GQ in 2012. Now, of course, she’s considered to be one of the hottest women on Earth.