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Behind the success and fame of some celebrities lie gruesome stories of them being bullied when they were kids. Some were tormented for being overweight, while others were teased for the colour of their skin or other perceived disadvantages.
No-one would make out from her strong personality that Indian-American actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas was once a victim of bullying at her school in the US.
In her upcoming memoir ‘Unfinished’, the 38-year-old global icon recounts how other teenage girls in her school would hurl insults like, ‘Brownie, go back to your country!’ or ‘Go back on the elephant you came on’ when she walked down the hall.
In a recent interview with People, Priyanka opened about how her ‘confidence was stripped’ due to racist bullying she’d faced.
“I took it very personally. Deep inside, it starts gnawing at you…My confidence was stripped. I’ve always considered myself a confident person, but I was very unsure of where I stood, of who I was,” she said.
Priyanka tried her best to ignore the bullies and sought refuge within a close group of friends and even sought counsellor’s help. However, when none of these helped, she decided to “break up with America” and after a call with her parents, “returned to India”.
In a 2016 interview to The Guardian, Chopra said “I was the only Indian kid in my school in Iowa. Later I lived in Queens, New York and Newton, Massachusetts, and in high school I was bullied really badly.”
Priyanka is not the only one who struggled with bullying when she was a kid, here’s a list of many other popular Bollywood stars who battled the same and have opened up about it in the past.
Canadian-born Indian-American actress Sunny Leone too was bullied for the way she looked.
Speaking about her experience in an interview with The Times of India, Sunny said: “I was a light-skinned Indian girl with black, dark hair on her arms and legs and Ace and very awkward looking, not very dressed well. So yeah, there was some bullying, it’s not fun.”
All the bullying affected her life but she learned to deal with it over time.
“Some of that bullying has carried through my entire life which is not a great feeling. But I think, for those people out there. Bullying is like a circle, it goes around. So usually when we see people who are bullied, they end up usually bullying somebody else,” she added.
The “Greek God” of Bollywood and a star kid, Hrithik Roshan had a stammering condition because of which he was bullied in his childhood days. He not only battled bullying but also overcame the stutter. His inspiring story features in the Class 6 textbooks in India’s Tamil Nadu state, which read, “Due to his stammering problem, children laughed at him and teased him too. He used to come home crying.”
Pleasantly shocked to find this. How I wish I could go back in time and show the 11 year old me this image.
Is this a little thing or really as big as it feels inside me? Perhaps the biggest recognition i’v ever received.
Thank you for this. pic.twitter.com/o48sFbksp3
— Hrithik Roshan (@iHrithik) April 23, 2019
Actor Siddharth Malhotra used to be bullied by his own elder brother when they were kids. He revealed that he was beaten and physically abused by his elder brother, which motivated him to become stronger.
In an interview with GlamSham website, he revealed, “I was bullied, we have a 6 years gap. I was 10 years old and he was 16, how do you fight with that? And I’ve got beaten up. I only managed to sometimes scratch him (sic).”
The son of legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek too was intimidated as a kid as he was dyslexic and a slow learner. He would often become an easy target by bullies.
One of the most successful filmmakers in Bollywood, Karan Johar revealed that he was called a ‘pansy’ by his peers in school due to his girlish demeanour.
Karan spoke about his unpleasant childhood memories in an interview with India Today and how he was also bullied for being overweight.
Like Karan Johar, Arjun Kapoor was also overweight. He was body-shamed and bullied for being an obese kid.
Sonakshi faced a lot of bullying and was ridiculed for being overweight. But the Dabangg star took it in stride and followed an extensive weight loss regime, shutting down the bullies for good.