Rumer Willis Opened Up About Being Bullied and Called "Potato Head" as a Teen
Demi Moore and Bruce Willis's eldest was often targeted in the media.
After enduring bullying from her classmates and then what seemed like the entire internet Rumer Willis knows something about picking herself up and rising above all the negativity. In a new interview with the Huffington Post, Willis explained that she was viciously tortured for so much of her life that she almost didn't know she had any value. But thanks to a little bit of self-reliance and spreading positivity instead of the hate she's had to experience, she's grown more than she could have ever expected.
In the profile, Willis explained that when she was younger, a lot of the negativity centered around her physical appearance. She was called names and thought that dressing in a provocative way would gain her some sort of favor. Living through that, she explained, taught her that being positive is much more effective than focusing on the negative. It's something that she hopes comes across in her social media feeds.
"They said I had a huge jaw. They said I had a 'potato head,'" Willis said. "When you're 14 or 15, I didn't really understand having value in myself yet. My mind went to, 'OK, so if I get skinny or if I dress the right way or present myself very hyper-sexually and dress this way, then I'll be valued.'"
Willis's more than 700,000 followers expect her to be open about her struggles, not hide behind the hazy veneer of social media filters. She says she's older, wiser, and has plenty to be proud of. With a role in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and the upcoming What Lies Ahead, Willis is bracing herself for more criticism, but notes that having her parents as a support system keeps her where she needs to be: rooted in reality.
"I still deal with insecurity and trying to figure out my own path in all of it," she said. She added that she's not immune to putting others down, but she is more aware of it when it happens. "If I am watching myself talk negatively, I'm like, 'Would you ever talk to a kid like that?'"
Having been in the business since she was 7 years old, Willis wants to be the positive influence that she had as a young woman. During her time working on Now and Then, she looked up to Gaby Hoffmann, Christina Ricci, Ashleigh Aston Moore, and Thora Birch. She hopes her positive spirit online can spread a little bit of the magic she held onto working with that support system.
"I remember being on that set, and it was like heaven for me," Willis said. "All I wanted to do was talk to the older girls and feel like I was in it. It was so fun."