Kate Winslet delivered a heartfelt and passionate speech about body shaming and overcoming bullying at 2017 WE Day UK in London on Wednesday.
The 41-year-old Oscar winner took to the stage with an inspiring speech about the body shaming she endured in school and when she first began her acting career.
“I was always comparing myself to others, I was bullied at school,” she revealed at the event which aims to empower and inspire youth. “They called me ‘blubber,’ they teased me for wanting to act. Locked me in the cupboard and would laugh at me.”
Winslet may be one of Hollywood’s top talents now, but the British star reveals that wasn’t always the case. She quickly learned that her appearance didn’t always meet the standards of casting directors, leaving her to deal with a lot of rejections.
“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 fell truly horrendous,” she tells the crowd.
“I didn’t have the perfect body and I would rarely hear anything positive so I began to feel uncomfortable in my own skin. It made it hard, I wanted to give up. ‘Maybe I should rethink this acting thing,’ I said to myself but it was my passion and it made me happy!'” Winslet says.
Her confidence rocked, Winslet reveals she came close to giving up but her love of acting and belief in herself made her persevere.
“Surely nobody could take my happiness away so I had to rise above it, I had to dig deep and be strong… I was done with being told I looked wrong, I was done with being told I didn’t fit that perfect mold. I wanted to be an actress and nothing was going to stop me. “So what did I do? I didn’t lock myself up and give up on my dream, 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.”
Winslet says her determination eventually caught the eye of director James Cameron who cast her in her breakout role as Rose in 1997’s “Titanic”.
“One day 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. You can be from anywhere and you can do anything, believe it. It is possible to overcome your fears. ‘What if I fail, fall over my big feet?’ Who cares? Be you!”
“I learned to embrace my flaws to make no apology for who I am I dug deep and I decided that I simply wouldn’t listen when they said my body didn’t fit,” she says, ending her passionate speech. “This is who I am, the real me, Kate from Reading.”
Winslet is the latest star to speak about body positivity.
“Girls” actress Lena Dunham discussed the public obsession over stars’ weight on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” on Wednesday, telling host Ellen DeGeneres, she too has dealt with body shaming. Dunham has always embraced the notion of body positivity, and now, with her recent weight loss has been facing criticism from fans who call her a “hypocrite.”
“It’s just so crazy because I spent six years of my career being called things like ‘bag of milk’ on the Internet—’bag of milk,’ ‘baby cow,’ ‘aging cow.’ I just never felt self-conscious about it. I was like, ‘Anyone who is going to take the time to say something negative about my weight on the internet isn’t someone I was particularly keen to impress anyway,'” she tells DeGeneres.
“Then I had this experience of my body changing. Suddenly I got all these people saying, ‘You’re a hypocrite. I thought you were body positive. I thought you were a person who embraced body types of all sizes,'” Dunham says. “I do. I just understand that bodies change. We live a long time. Things happen.”