Kate Winslet Says Childhood Bullying Helped Her Grow Into A Stronger Woman

Kate Winslet is again sharing her experiences with childhood bullying and body shaming, but, unlike some celebrities, the Titanic star isn’t blaming those bullies for ruining her life. On the contrary, Kate says she’s a stronger woman because of those that criticized her at such a young age. She recalls that past not with fondness, but with the knowledge that she can use her youth to help today’s growing girls avoid similar pitfalls.

Insurgent‘s Kate Winslet shares the pain of her childhood body shaming

Kate Winslet, body shaming
Kate Winslet hopes to help others overcome the effects of body shaming. Image via Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images.

Kate, who, at 40 years old, is decades separated from her childhood years, says that she was teased for how she looked. She says that, while there may have been other reasons her classmates tormented her, the one cause that sticks out in her memories is her weight.

“I was quite stocky as a child. And I was very much teased for that,” said Ms. Winslet.

Kate has talked openly about childhood body shaming once before, when she appeared as a guest on Running Wild with Bear Grylls. During that appearance, Ms. Winslet commented that she never received positive reinforcement as a child, an oversight she makes sure not to repeat with her own daughter.

“When I grew up, I never heard positive reinforcement about body image from any female in my life,” Winslet admitted. “I only heard negatives. That’s very damaging because then you’re programmed as a young woman to immediately scrutinize yourself and how you look.”

As an adult, the actress has worked to attain a healthier lifestyle, which contributes to a higher, positive body image. She also does what she can to help others overcome the low self esteem resulting from the bullying and body shaming of their own childhoods. Winslet wants to build confidence in young girls and help them to understand that no matter how glamorous a celebrity may look on the red carpet, that’s just a part of the job. It’s important, Kate says, to understand that stars don’t look like that all of the time.

The celebrated actress revealed with a laugh that she often drops off her kids at school wearing a bathrobe and pajamas.

Kate Winslet was unprepared for the ways in which Titanic changed her life

Kate Winslet, Titanic
Kate shares how the overwhelming sensation of instant success took her by surprise. Image via Jason Merritt/Getty Images.

Titanic premiered in 1997, garnering immediate success as a box office and critically acclaimed smash, eventually winning 11 Oscars. But more notably, it launched the film’s young stars into superstardom. Speaking at BAFTA’s A Life in Pictures, which was hosted in London, the Titanic actress said that she never expected the film to have such a dramatic effect on her life, even when friends asked, prior to the 1997 release, how she would cope with her new-found success.

“And it truly did, overnight,” Winslet recalls. “I remember one day being able to go and buy a newspaper and a pint of milk, no problem, and the next day I actually couldn’t get out of the house because of paparazzi. And that was a huge shock.”

Kate says it was a frantic change that really overwhelmed her, and, with so few female celebrities who were in her age range, she says she really had no one to turn to for advice. As her popularity mounted, she decided that throwing herself into her work was the only thing she could do to keep from going crazy from the attention and from the constant bombardment of the paparazzi.

As for the film itself, Ms. Winslet says she adored the Jack and Rose love story. She added that, while she read with a number of well-known actors for the part of Jack, she had heard a rumor that Leonardo Dicaprio was liked for the role and she found herself hoping that he would get the part.

“And lucky for me he did. And it was a completely extraordinary experience but very, very hard. Really very hard.”

[Featured image by Michael Kovac/Getty Images]