Oscar winner Kate Winslet sought to inspire young people at a motivational event in London Wednesday, assuring them that, like her, they could overcome teasing and cruelty to pursue their dreams.
In audience videos posted online, Winslet, 41, recalled how as a struggling young actress, “I got a job at the same sandwich shop as my mum [so that] I could save enough money each week to pay for train fares to London to go on auditions. I didn’t get that many auditions back then,” she told the crowd at the annual WE Day UK at The SSE Arena. “And it was tough. I never got the parts. I tried so hard to get them but I never got them, and I was always comparing myself to others. You see, I’d been bullied at school. They called me ‘Blubber.’ They teased me for wanting to act. Locked me in the cupboard. Laughed at me.”
The seven-time Oscar nominee confessed, “I wasn’t the prettiest. I always had big feet. And I was even told that I might be lucky in my acting if I was happy to settle for the fat-girl parts.” Casting agents “would say, ‘You’re just not really what we’re looking for, Kate.’ And so I’d hear that a lot. And so these comments about how I looked started to crop up, and I’d never really dared to think about how I looked before. I was just kind of ordinary, nothing special, but this unkindness made me feel truly horrendous. I felt I wasn’t enough, I wasn’t good enough, I didn’t look right. And all because I didn’t fit into someone else’s idea of perfect.”
Already a respected actress when she starred in the blockbuster “Titanic” (1997), Winslet told the students and other youths — who earned tickets to the free event by completing one local and one global action relating to social justice — that, “You can be from anywhere and you can do anything. Believe it. It is possible to overcome your fears. . . . Be you. I learned to embrace my flaws, to make no apology for who I am. I dug deep, and decided I simply wouldn’t listen when they said that my body didn’t fit.”
Winslet has been forthright about body issues since at least 1998, when she told Rolling Stone magazine, “I was chubby as a child. When I was 16, I was fat. It was a family thing. We’re all big eaters. My uncle is a chef. My mother is a fantastic cook. Kind of unavoidable. I sensibly lost the weight doing Weight Watchers. End of story.”