5 celebrities in Canada on how to cope with bullying

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From musician Shawn Mendes to poet Rupi Kaur, Kids Help Phone shares stories and quotes from celebrities in Canada who’ve experienced bullying.

Celebrity story #1: Shawn Mendes

In June 2019, singer/songwriter Shawn Mendes took to Instagram to share his experiences with bullying. (The harassment happened in Grade 9 over his passion for music.) “To make someone feel bad about doing what they love… every single person deserves to do what makes them feel alive,” said Shawn. “I want you to know that no matter how old you are, no matter who you are, no matter where you’re from… you deserve to follow your heart. I’m here and I’m rooting for you.”

Celebrity story #2: Sarain Fox

Sarain Fox is an Anishinaabe dancer, choreographer, storyteller, activist and more. Growing up as an Indigenous student in a settler school, Sarain experienced bullying and discrimination for her traditional beliefs. “I realized that this bullying was not something I would just come across in school, but in my art, my professional life and my activism,” she told She Does the City. “I continually choose to educate, to reframe, and to reaffirm who I am as a way of overcoming this. Instead of hiding who I am to protect myself, I share it. I put it on the table and offer a safe space to learn.”

Celebrity story #3: Alessia Cara

Before the launch of her album The Pains of Growing, singer/songwriter Alessia Cara received abusive comments on social media (a.k.a. cyberbullying) for her appearance and a previous performance. In response, she shared a video with her followers, stating that even just making jokes can hurt others. Alessia ultimately decided to take a short break from her online channels. Upon her return to Twitter, she said, “I’m taking my own steps to navigate this weird thing called the Internet in hopes that I can maintain a healthier, more positive environment for both me and you. I hope you do the same,” said Alessia.

Celebrity story #4: Jacob Tremblay

13-year-old actor Jacob Tremblay has been in many A-list movies, including a role in the film Wonder. (It’s about a boy who experiences bullying at school over his looks.) Jacob is no stranger to bullying himself, sharing his feelings on social media about people who bully and showing support for others who’ve been targeted. The Vancouver star also revealed his message of “LetsBeOddTogether” online, stating, “Our differences, quirks and oddities are what make us special too! Let’s try to remember that everyday as we enter our school grounds.”

Celebrity story #5: Rupi Kaur

Rupi Kaur came to Canada from India when she was a kid. She turned her experiences with bullying at school into words that would later form the poetry she shared on social media, and later, published works. On her website, in her signature style, Rupi wrote, “i won an essay and speech competition in grade 7 and i see that as my first performance. me- a shy introverted bullied 12 year old now standing in front of a hundred students reading my work out loud and accepting an award. It was my first step toward becoming the person I always wanted to be.”

We hope these stories and positive words remind you that no matter what you’re going through, things will get better. If you’re experiencing bullying (or any issue, big or small), you can talk to a parent/caregiver, teacher or other safe adult. You can also reach out to Kids Help Phone 24/7 by text, phone and Live Chat. We’re always here for you.

*This story was published in November 2019 for Bullying Awareness Week

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