Kate Winslet was bullied at school: ‘They called me blubber’

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Kate Winslet spoke at the WE Day U.K. event on Wednesday about being bullied in school, a subject she has touched on before. At the event, Kate went into further detail about how she was often picked on for her weight and for her pursuit of an acting career. Bringing the two together, her tormenters would tell her to be prepared to be happy with “fat girl parts.” Although all the ostracizing chipped away at her self-esteem, it was her love of acting that ultimately brought her happiness and confidence. Now that she can flaunt a successful career that includes several awards, Kate wants to share what she overcame to get there to help others possibly suffering form the same negative influences.

Getting the last laugh. Kate Winslet got candid about being bullied as a child during a talk at the fourth annual WE Day U.K. event Wednesday, March 22, telling the audience that she was called names and made fun of for her weight from an early age.

“I was always comparing myself to others,” she told the audience of approximately 12,000, including numerous youngsters. “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.”

Winslet, 41, added that she always felt like she “wasn’t enough” and that she “didn’t look right.” But ultimately, she chose to ignore the negativity and worked hard to become the celebrated actress that she is today — though it was by no means an easy task.

“I was always auditioning for the school plays,” she said. “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.” ”

[From US]

Hand to God – I am having both my children read Blubber presently – one read it and handed it off to the other who is halfway through. My son and I spent over two hours discussing it the night he finished. Even though we talked about the characters and events in the story, we both knew we weren’t discussing the book. It’s shocking how relevant it is today. I know I have said this before but I highly recommend it to anyone as an excellent resource to discuss bullying.

But I didn’t write this just to plug books from my childhood (although I could write an entire post discussing books from my childhood) but to applaud Kate for reaching out to the younger generation and letting them know that no one is immune to the cruelness of others. And it’s always crueler when kids are involved. I mean, I know Kate has a lovely life and an Oscar to punctuate her impressive acting career and even knowing that, her comments about being locked in the cupboard made my heart hurt. I find it so interesting that although her acting was used against her, her love of it saw her through. She didn’t act for the recognition, primarily because it doesn’t sound like she got any, but just for the enjoyment she got from doing it. And ultimately, it was her salvation. That’s a lovely story. Almost a Hollywood ending, if you will.

However, since I possess a cold, dead heart, I don’t want to end with warm hugs. I’d rather end on Kate’s thoughts on the Today show last year when she spoke about this subject. After listing how good her current life is, she said to her bullies, “Look at me now, girls.” Ha!

Speaking of the best revenge – macking on Idris would be right up there
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Photo credit WENN and Fame/Flynet Photos

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19 Responses to “Kate Winslet was bullied at school: ‘They called me blubber’”

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  1. astrid says:

    Seems like a lot of actresses are coming out lately to say they were bullied…

    • KLO says:

      and good for them

    • teacakes says:

      There are interview receipts from Cosmo in the 90s/early 00s that she was called ‘Blubber’ at school, fyi.

    • OhDear says:

      I think it’s both good and questionable. It’s good in her bringing awareness to the issue (will assume she’s being sincere).

      However – and this might not apply to Winslet – it’s questionable because it reeks of PR sometimes, since it makes the person ‘relatable’ and “dorky and formerly unpopular” is the in thing these days. IMO it’s particularly harmful with women, since everyone’s tripping over themselves to say or show that they’re “not like those other girls.”

      • teacakes says:

        OhDear – I hear you on being healthily sceptical of celebrities jumping the ‘I was bullied’ bandwagon, but I remember post-Titanic interviews and profiles with Kate all the way back in the 90s that talked about how she was teased as a fat kid – I specifically remember her saying she’d been nicknamed ‘Blubber’ at school.

    • Mrs.Krabapple says:

      I have to doubt anything Kate Winslet says, if it seems intended to make people like her more. She lies about that type of thing. Like, lying about having a c-section. Lying about having work done on her face. It wouldn’t surprise me if this is another of her lies to try to make her more “relatable.” Sorry, but once you’re known for lying it’s hard to see you any other way. I think she’s messed up in her own head and is very insecure, way more than people might suspect (because she can act passably well and is passably attractive, people overlook things).

  2. jinni says:

    Thank you for the different perspective on Kate and her talking about her body issues.

    Off topic: We talk about diversity in HW, but can we get more diversity of opinion on this site too? It’s nice to read different writers perspectives on the same old celebs. It makes things fresh and leads to seeing them in another light. Can maybe each writer take turn writing about some to the regularly featured celebs?

    I just want you, Hecate and Corey to know I have come to enjoy your write-ups alot, so in celebitchy fashion I am honking for more write-ups from you two.

    • Skylark says:

      Just to say I love this post and agree so much with it.

      I love both Hecate and Corey’s refreshing take on things. They both offer a very thoughtful, agenda-free view.

      I would love to see more of them on here.

  3. Jillian says:

    I personally think it’s great when actresses talk about issues like this because I hate admitting it but I feel like and this is my own opinion but young girls and boys do look up to entertainment industry.
    Kate Winslet has always been one of my favorites and I just think it’s great.
    Disappointed that she worked with Roman Polanski. He should be hanging his head in shame.

  4. KLO says:

    I like that she shared this. People who have gone through something like this know how important it is to acknowledge their experiences and let others know that they are not alone.

    For someone her words could be the encouragement they needed to get through the day.

  5. minx says:

    I’ve gone from being a hardcore Kate fan to rolling my eyes at many of her pronouncements. But I applaud her for this and hope it might help some kids who are bullied.

  6. Louisa says:

    What movie is she in with Idris? Is this something being filmed now? Because just that picture of him with his hands on her head kissing her is giving me “feelings”. I need to see this.

    • arbelia says:

      it’s a movie that they just shot ( the shot endend at the end of february ). It’s called the Mountain between us and should come aout at the end of the year.

  7. Heat says:

    Hecate, please write a post about your books from childhood!

  8. teacakes says:

    Good on her for speaking out, but it makes me sad in so many ways that she couldn’t escape getting ragged on for her weight even after making the biggest movie of the last two decades.

    I remember there were full-on print articles after Titanic, published in non-tabloid sources, about how Kate was too fat and was so much fatter than the other It Girls of the 90s (Goop, Drew Barrymore, etc) and how execs were freaking out over her appearance at the Golden Globes that year. It was utterly disgusting, and as a ‘stocky’ kid myself, I thought I’d be disgusting ‘blubber’ to people too. I’m glad backlash has forced journalists to be less asshole-ish now.

    • arbelia says:

      Yep but at the same time in England trashy tabloid like the DM questions it. the director of her school didn’t really like the image she gave of the school ( she said she would not like her daughter to go to this type of schools, that was very competitive, girls were very cruel at each others, and as it was a private school and she got there thanks to a bursary , she was always mocked because she was poor and didn’t have fancy clothes). And the director responded by saying that she was a popular girl, that she was not “fat” ( when clearly you see pics of a show she made when she was a teen she was overweight if not obese).ANd so those so called tabloids dismiss her , by saying she never was a fat girl – when themselves they trashed her for her weight circa Titanic- nor from a poor background because she went to a private school.

  9. Digital Unicorn (aka Betti) says:

    I’ve always liked Kate but she can be a bit ‘extra’. I strongly relate to what she is saying as I was badly bullied at school as I was a quiet and not the prettiest either – my ears stuck out and I wore glasses. I am now successful in my chosen career and life and I too have my moments when I’m like ‘look at me now’. Those types of childhood experiences are sometimes hard to let go even if you think you have.

    Children can be crueler than adults.

  10. manta says:

    I don’t see how people can doubt what she says about that. Either they weren’t around 20 years ago or their memory fails them. Even pre Titanic, I remember some pieces written after Heavenly Creatures, Jude and Sense and Sensibility. It was a festival of circumlocutions for “fat”.
    She was “a fresh breath from the waifs”, reminiscent of some Raphael painting (one of the Three Graces), or voluptuous like a Botero. All code words for chubby or fat.

    And if a journalist in a printed material is extra careful to phrase it like a compliment, I bet you school pupils weren’t and didn’t hesitate one bit to go to the jugular.