Surviving Bullies Project

Did You Know: Tyra Banks was Bullied

Claim to Fame:

Tyra BanksTyra Banks has made a splash in both the entertainment and the fashion industry. As a model, Tyra was the first African-American to be featured on the Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue and in the Victoria’s Secret catalog. Tyra has also graced the covers of top international fashion magazines such as Vogue and Elle. She has modeled for Cover Girl, Swatch, Pepsi, Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Mcdonalds, and Dolce & Gabbana while jetting to world’s fashion centers—Paris, Milan, Tokyo, London, and New York—to strut her stuff on the high fashion runway shows. She is one of the wealthiest supermodels.

The multi-talented Banks also has an exciting film and television career. She played opposite Will Smith on the fourth season of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air as Will’s hot friend from Philly Jackie. Tyra has also starred in girl-power movies such as Coyote Ugly and Life Size. Currently, Tyra is the host of her own talk show, The Tyra Banks Show. She is also the host, head judge and executive producer of America’s Next Top Model.

Interests:

Before hitting it big on the high fashion runways, Tyra wanted to flex her science muscles as a veterinarian.

Target Profile:

Despite her model good looks and success in her endeavors, Tyra was bullied as a teenager! At school, Tyra was picked on for being tall and skinny. At an interview for GQ, Tyra told a GQ reporter, “People called me Olive Oyl, Lightbulb Head, and Fivehead, because my forehead was so big.” At Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles, Tyra was teased for being a stick: 5’11” in height and only 125 lbs in weight. (Source: http://www.gale.com/free_resources/bhm/bio/banks_t.htm)

In the fashion arena, Tyra has also experienced her share of bullying. Due to jealousy over Tyra’s success, the british supermodel, Naomi Campbell tried to exclude our talented bombshell from walking down the runway for Chanel. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyra_Banks)

Did You Know: Christina Aguilera was Bullied

Claim to Fame

Christina Aguilera courtesy of Wikipedie.org

Commanding the stage with her voice from a very young age, Christina Aguilera is now one of America’s most successful singer-songwriters.  Aguilera was initially marketed as a “bubblegum pop” artist (with the likes of Britney Spears and Mandy Moore), but was dissatisfied with the music and image her management had created for her.  The bold, petite singer decided to focus on self-expression, cultivating a more daring fashion sense and edgier songs.  She has had four number one singles on the Billboard Top 100 and two top five albums in the United States.  Aguilera has won three Grammy Awards and one Latin Grammy Award.  (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christina_aguilera)

Interests

As a child, Christina enjoyed lining up her stuffed animals like they were her audience and singing to them. (Source: http://www.christinamultimedia.com/statistics/shesaid_childhood.php) As an adult, Christina is very passionate about different causes, and has remained a strong force in her hometown of Pittsburgh, contributing financially to the Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh.  She is also affiliated with PETA, Wildlife Foundation, and the Coalition for the Cure of Blindness.  In her November 2006 wedding, Aguilera and husband Jordan Bratman donated all of their wedding gifts to charities in support of Hurricane Katrina victims. 

Target Profile

Dubbed “the little girl with the big voice,” Christina Aguilera performed in many talent competitions growing up, defeating her opponents with little effort.  However, this label became troublesome for her because competitors began to back out of competitions when they learned who they were up against.  Her own classmates in high school were jealous of her celebrity, and began teasing her, isolating her, and even trying to physically assault her.  At her senior prom, when a DJ played her hit single “Genie in a Bottle,” most of her classmates stopped dancing and left the floor. (Source: http://www.anecdotage.com/index.php?aid=9581) Her classmates even went as far as vandalizing her family’s property, in which the tires on her family’s car were slashed.  Aguilera and family ended up relocating because of her peers’ nasty behavior, and Christina refused to talk about her talent for fear of similar incidents in her new neighborhood.  (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christina_aguilera)

In the entertainment industry, Christina has had her share of ups and downs as well.  Since their simultaneous entrance into the music arena, the media has reported constant feuding between Britney and Christina, to which Christina responded on her fan website, “If certain journalists want to throw their integrity out the window by spreading false information, then so be it.  But I’m not falling for their lies and neither should my fans or Britney’s, alike.” (Source: http://music.yahoo.com/read/news/23404326) Christina has also had to fend off rumors started by singers like Eminem and Limp Bizkit.  In his single “The Real Slim Shady,” Eminem made allegations about Aguilera, which she countered were “disgusting,” “offensive,” and “not true.” (Source: http://www.ew.com/ew/report/0,6115,85175_1%7C6219%7C%7C0_0_,00.html). 

Did You Know: Tiger Woods was Bullied

Claim to Fame

Tiger Woods courtesy of Wikipedia.org

Second only to the legendary Jack Nicklaus and Walter Hagen, Eldrick (“Tiger”) Woods is considered to be one of the greatest golfers of all time.  A child prodigy who began to play golf at the age of three, Tiger Woods has more wins on the PGA tour than any other current golfer.  In 2006, Woods was named Forbes highest paid athlete, and he ranks second on the list of overall highest paid celebrities, making around $87 million a year. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiger_Woods)

Interests

Tiger Woods has established several charitable and youth projects, including The Tiger Woods Foundation (a child-focused organization which offers golf clinics to disadvantaged children, university scholarships, grant programs, and much more) Tiger Woods Learning Center (a learning center with multimedia facilities, plus summer and community outreach programs), Tiger Jam (an annual fundraising concert), and Target World Challenge (an annual off-season charity golf tournament, in which Woods donates all of his winnings to his foundation) among others. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiger_Woods)

Target Profile

A child of mixed race (he calls himself “Cablinasian,” a mixture of Caucasian, Black, American Indian, and Asian), on his first day of kindergarten, Woods was tied to a tree by a pack of older boys and taunted with racial slurs.  (Source: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/features/2000/sportsman/) In addition, during a March 26, 2006 interview for 60 Minutes, Tiger Woods admitted to having a severe stuttering problem when he was younger.  In spite of his difficulties as a child, Woods was an impressive student who did not let others bring him down.  He garnered mostly A’s in school, and then went on to study at Stanford University.  Woods has also been credited with inspiring the interest of other minorities, and youth in general, in the game of golf. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiger_Woods) Go Tiger!

Did You Know: President Clinton was Bullied

Friday, March 31, 2006

Claim to Fame

President Clinton Courtesy of Wikipedia.orgIn 1992, the brilliant and charismatic Bill Clinton won the hearts of the American public and became one of the youngest presidents in American history at the age of 46. In 1996, he also became the first democratic president since 1936 (Franklin Roosevelt) to win re-election. Despite the controversies and scandals that plagued his tenure as president, Clinton led the U.S. toward significant economic expansion, reduction in unemployment, and growth during his time in the White House. He ended his presidential career with a bang: a whopping 65% approval rating.

Prior to his presidential career, Bill Clinton was an all-star in the academic arena. Our talented Mr. President won the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship (awarded to 90 students around the world each year) after receiving a degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. He then went on to study law at Yale Law School. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_clinton).

Interests

Besides his leading role in the political and academic arena, Clinton has been stealing the show as a saxophonist since he was a kid. Clinton loved music and playing the saxophone so much that he considered becoming a professional musician. (Source: http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/presidents/bc42.html)

Clinton is also an avid reader. In fact, he’s been reading since the age of three! (Source: http://clinton4.nara.gov/WH/kids/html/bill.html)

Target Profile

As a kid, our all-star president struggled with his body image, and he was teased for being overweight. Luckily, the resilient “Billy,” as his friends call him, refused to let the fat jokes keep him down, and worked hard to propel himself all the way to the White House. Now he admits to being a “fat band boy” with much candor (source: http://www.cnn.com/2005/HEALTH/diet.fitness/08/05/clinton.obesity/index.html). In his post-presidential career, Clinton champions a campaign to end childhood obesity. You’ve made us proud, Mr. President.

Did You Know: Chris Rock was Bullied

Claim to Fame

Chris Rock courtesy of wikipedia.orgReferred to by the New York Times as “… probably the funniest and smartest comedian working today” (Source: http://www.chrisrock.com/), Chris Rock has made a huge name for himself as a stand-up comedian and actor. His first national exposure came with his three-year sketch comedy stint on Saturday Night Live (1990-1993).  After SNL, Rock moved on to the big screen in an attempt to promote a career in film. However, due to the scarcity of acting jobs, he left Hollywood and turned instead to stand-up comedy. His jokes typically center around race relations in the United States. As a result of his success as a stand-up comedian, Rock managed to land larger roles in films, and has appeared in Lethal Weapon 4, Dogma, and Madagascar to name a few. 

In early 2005, Rock hosted the 77th Academy Awards Ceremony, and in the fall of that year, his show Everybody Hates Chris debuted on UPN. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Rock) He was voted funniest person in America by Entertainment Weekly, and ranks #5 on Comedy Central’s 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of all Time list (April 2004). (Source: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001674/bio)

Interests

Chris Rock loves music, and has been quoted as saying, “I love music.  Music is the soundtrack to the crappy movie that is my life.” His tastes include: Jay Z, Red Hot Chili Peppers, DMX, Boy George, Elvis Costello, Eminem, and Smashing Pumpkins. He is also a loving father of two children. (Source: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001674/bio)

Target Profile

Politically and racially incorrect funnyman Chris Rock was bullied during his high school years. His parents, who were worried about the neighborhood schools, had him bused to an almost all-white high school in Bensonhurst, a white neighborhood in Brooklyn known at the time for poor race relations. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Rock) His thriving sitcom Everybody Hates Chris is loosely based on his childhood experiences in school where he has said, “I got beat up just about every day ... I got kicked and whatever” (Source: http://www.contactmusic.com/new/ xmlfeed.nsf/mndwebpages/ rock%20gets%20apology%20from%20old%20teacher).  We applaud Chris Rock for taking his tough experiences and turning them into something positive.

Did You Know: Harrison Ford was Bullied

Claim to Fame

Harrison Ford courtesy of Wikipedia.orgHarrison Ford has been heralded as both a tremendously talented actor and a committed environmentalist.  His movie repertoire is impressive, and includes the wildly successful Star Wars and Indiana Jones trilogies.  The 2001 Guinness Book of World Records listed Ford as the richest actor alive. He has starred in 27 movies, which have grossed more than $3.3 billion at the box office. He also graced People Magazine’s pages as one of the “50 Most Beautiful People in the World” (1997) and “Sexiest Man Alive” (1998). (Source: http://www.amiannoying.com/ (rje3yia3bjxjovbecquvxe45)/view.aspx? id=1139&collection=238)

Interests

When he was a freshman in college, Ford played gutbucket in a folk band called The Brothers Gross. Ford enjoys flying planes and helicopters, and also owns an 800-acre ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, half of which he donated as a nature preserve (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harrison_ford).  He is a passionate environmentalist devoted to protecting biodiversity on our planet, and was presented with the Global Environmental Citizen Award in 2002. 

Target Profile

An introverted loner in high school, Harrison Ford attended Maine East High School in Park Ridge, Illinois, where he says he was picked on by his peers and voted the boy “least likely to succeed” (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harrison_ford).  Ford silently endured the taunting and abuse of his peers until he one day snapped and beat up his aggressors’ leader (Source: http://www.harrison-ford.com/bio.htm). It wasn’t until Ford took a drama class (mainly as a way to meet women) during his junior year at Ripon College in Wisconsin that he became fascinated with acting. While he auditioned for roles on television and in movies Ford also supported himself as a carpenter, which helped to land him his biggest movie role ever. Star Wars series director George Lucas hired Ford to build some cabinets in his home, and asked him to read lines with actors rehearsing for Star Wars IV: A New Hope. It was Steven Spielberg who first noticed that Ford would make a great Hans Solo, and well ... the rest is history!

Did You Know: Winona Ryder was Bullied

Claim to Fame

Winona Ryder from Wikipedia.org

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: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000213/bio) 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. 

Interests

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: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000213/bio)

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: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winona_Ryder) Winona graduated from Petaluma High School with a 4.0 GPA (Source: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000213/bio) , 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: http://www.usatoday.com/life/2003-09-07-winona_x.htm) 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.

Did You Know: Eva Longoria was Bullied

Claim to Fame:

Eva LongoriaIn 2005, the lovely Eva Longoria took Hollywood by storm and titillated the American public’s senses with her starlicious hotness. She and her co-stars for the hit TV show, Desperate Housewives, won the 2005 Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Television Ensemble – Comedy. She was also nominated for the 2005 Golden Globe for her role of the desperate housewife Gabrielle Solis.

Eva is now conquering the film arena, starring in movies opposite Hollywood heavyweights. She just wrapped The Sentinel, starring Michael Douglas, Keifer Sutherland, and Kim Basinger.

Award-winning talent aside, Longoria was named one of People en Español‘s “50 Most Beautiful” and according to Maxim, she is the “#1 Hottest Woman in the World.” Recently, she signed an exclusive worldwide contract as the newest face of L’Oreal. (Source: http://abc.go.com/primetime/desperate/bios/eva_longoria.html)

Interests:

Eva loves to read, especially Latino literature and history. She is also a science buff, having studied kinesiology at Texas A&M Kingsville. Kinesiology studies the movement of the human body anatomically, physiologically, neurologically, biochemically, and biomechanically. Go Eva! (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinesiology)

Target Profile:

Eva Longoria was born in Corpus Christi, Texas. This former Miss Corpus Christi and current one hot tamale was teased for being ugly as a teenager! (Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eva_Longoria) Eva was branded “Pieta Fea,” which means “ugly dark one” in Spanish. Seeing the grown-up Eva, we think she is more like, how do you say, “sizzling hot one.”

Did You Know: Steven Spielberg was Bullied

Claim to Fame:

imageFour-time Academy Award-winning director, Spielberg directed Jaws, E.T., Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and many more outstanding movies.

Unusual Hobbies:

Not surprisingly, Spielberg enjoyed making movies when he was younger. He made his first film at 12. He made at least four movies on his own by the time he was 18, including a 140-minute science fiction epic called Firelight. Spielberg also got his little sister, Annie, to act in his movies and sell popcorn at his (home) movie screenings for friends and family. 

Target Profile:

As a teenager, Steven Spielberg’s family moved from Phoenix, Arizona to Saratoga, California. The kids at Saratoga High School picked on Spielberg for being Jewish. It’s also suspected that the kids picked on Spielberg because he showed symptoms of Asperger Syndrome (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspergers). One symptom related to Asperger is delay in development of social skills.  When asked about his experiences at Saratoga High School, Spielberg would always say that it was “hell on Earth.” Nowadays, most people and aspiring filmmakers deem Spielberg’s life to be more like “heaven on Earth.” (Source: http://anecdotage.com/index.php?aid=18843)

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