Recalling a lifetime of bullying, Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet shared some words of empowerment to an audience of children at a charity event this week. Speaking in London Wednesday, the seven-time Academy Award nominee talked about overcoming comments about her body ― in school and in Hollywood.
“They called me ‘Blubber.’ Teased me for wanting to act. Locked me in the cupboard. Laughed at me,” she said about her school days, per the Evening Standard.
At the event organized by WE, a youth empowerment organization, Winslet recalled career advice suggesting she “might be lucky” in acting if she “was happy to settle for the fat girl parts.”
“I didn’t look right, and all because I didn’t fit into someone else’s idea of ‘perfect.’ I didn’t have the ‘perfect’ body. And I would rarely hear anything positive,” she continued. Winslet explained how she sustained herself through her determination to act professionally and encouraged young people to pursue their own dreams, even in the face of discouragement.
This isn’t the first time the British actress has discussed comments she’s gotten about her weight. She revealed back in 1998 the nickname used by school bullies, along with “Titanic” director James Cameron’s own, horrible nickname ― “Kate Weighs-a-lot” ― while discussing her body image with Rolling Stone.
“My uncle is a chef. My mother is a fantastic cook. Kind of unavoidable. I sensibly lost the weight doing Weight Watchers. End of story,” she told the outlet.
At the London event, Winslet recalled how she chose to ignore negative feedback and, instead, become a hard worker, auditioning for school plays and accepting roles as a scarecrow or “a dancing frog,” because they gave her a chance to learn and grow, E! News reports.
“And then one day,” she continued, “I was cast as Rose in ‘Titanic.’ The most unlikely candidate, Kate from the sandwich shop in Reading, suddenly acting in one of the biggest movies ever made!”
Since that 1997 blockbuster raised her to superstardom, Winslet has used her platform to promote more honest images of beauty. Upon signing an endorsement deal with L’Oreal, she made sure the company wouldn’t retouch her photos to conform with “someone else’s idea of ‘perfect,’” as she said this week.
“You have to be indestructible to do what you love, and believe that you are worth it,” she told the crowd. “And sometimes that’s the hardest part.”