Surviving Bullies Project

Did You Know: Winona Ryder was Bullied

Claim to Fame

Winona Ryder from

A Golden Globe winner and two-time Academy Award nominee, Winona Ryder is quite the seasoned actress, with more than 30 films under her belt over her 20-year career!  Her films include: Beetlejuice, Heathers, Edward Scissorhands, The Age of Innocence, Little Women, The Crucible, Girl, Interrupted, and many more.  She was also selected as one of People’s “50 Most Beautiful People” (1997) and “Top Players Under 35” (1996). (Source: In December of 2001, Winona Ryder shocked us all when she was arrested for shoplifting.  However, we commend her for continuing to practice her craft and make more movies. 


Winona is quite the activist.  She dedicated her film Little Women to Polly Klaas, a young girl from her hometown of Petaluma who was kidnapped and murdered.  Winona offered a $200,000 reward for anyone who had any information regarding Klaas’ death, and is a supporter of the Polly Klaas foundation.  She is also on the Board of American Indian College Funds.  Winona’s favorite book is The Catcher in the Rye, and she says she owns every paperback edition and translations.  She practices Buddhism and believes in karma.  (Source:

Target Profile

At the age of 10, Winona’s family moved to Petaluma, California.  During her first week of junior high, she was harassed by a group of kids who mistook her for “an effeminate, scrawny boy.” As a result, Winona was home schooled for the rest of that year, and she began taking acting lessons at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. (Source: Winona graduated from Petaluma High School with a 4.0 GPA (Source: , and went on to become one of Hollywood’s most talented, beautiful stars! 

Since her shoplifting scandal, Ryder has had a difficult time shaking her tarnished reputation.  Despite this nightmarish ordeal, however, she has managed to stay true to herself and the causes she believes in.  In September of 2003, Winona bravely appeared at a downtown L.A. art gallery to raise awareness of three inmates she believed were wrongly convicted of murder.  Though she was advised to avoid this sort of risky public appearance, she stated that she didn’t care if she was the recipient of more criminal jokes.  What was important was overturning a verdict that was, in her opinion, based on “rumors, prejudices and superstitions.” (Source: A talented, beautiful, intelligent, and dedicated woman, Winona has shown tremendous perseverance and fortitude in the face of adversity.  Winona, our hearts go out to you.

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