Kate Winslet Opens Up About Being Bullied for Her Weight as a Child

“The unkindness made me feel truly horrendous.”

kate winslet
Composite. Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Kate Winslet is famously confident. She’s one of our greatest actresses, a style star, and, not to mention, one of the latest Pirelli calendar girls, but the Oscar-winning actress recently revealed that she wasn’t always so self-assured. In fact, Winslet is opening up about being bullied as a child for her weight — an experience she describes as “horrendous.”

At the fourth annual WE Day event in London on Wednesday, Winslet, 41, spoke candidly about the childhood bullies she faced from a very young age. “I was always comparing myself to others,” she said, according to the Evening Standard{: rel=nofollow}.

“They called me ‘Blubber,’ they teased me for wanting to act. Locked me in the cupboard and would laugh at me. I wasn’t the prettiest and I was even told that I’d be lucky in my acting if I was happy to settle for the fat-girl parts. I’d never let go of that, and they’d say, ‘You’re just not what we’re looking for, Kate.’ This unkindness made me feel truly horrendous.”

The horrific bullying, Winslet said, led her to feel like she “wasn’t enough” and “didn’t look right”—but she channeled that negativity, which further fueled her passion for acting. “I didn’t lock myself away and give up on my dream,” she said. “I fought back. I had to ignore the negative comments. I had to believe in myself. I had to choose to rise above it all, and I had to work hard. You have to be indestructible to do what you love, and believe that you are worth it. And sometimes that’s the hardest part.”

She continued: “I was always auditioning for the school plays. I didn’t really get very good parts, mind you, but I didn’t mind. I didn’t care. I would often get cast as the crocodile, or the scarecrow, or the dark fairy. I was even a dancing frog once. But it didn’t matter. I still loved it. I loved acting. It didn’t matter how big or small the parts were. I wanted to be great and I was determined to keep learning.”

It was that determination that eventually led to the casting of a lifetime: her role as Rose in Titanic (you may have heard of it). “The most unlikely candidate—Kate from the sandwich shop in Reading—suddenly acting in one of the biggest movies ever made!” she said. “You can be from anywhere and you can do anything, believe it. It is possible to overcome your fears.”

Winslet ended the inspiring speech with an equally heartening message: “I learned to embrace my flaws, to make no apology for who I am,” she said. “I dug deep and I decided that I simply wouldn’t listen when they said my body didn’t fit. This is who I am, the real me, Kate from Reading.” Good for you, Kate from Reading. Good for us all.

Actress Mya Taylor is a Fan of Winslet’s Confidence and That Titanic Love Scene: