Rumer Willis can’t control what other people say about her — but she can control how it affects her. After opening up to Us Weekly earlier this year about being bullied for her looks as a teen, the Season 20 Dancing With the Stars champ is now baring her soul for the July issue of Glamour.
“I’d say that before this year, I was kind of stuck,” Demi Moore and Bruce Willis‘ eldest daughter, 26, told the mag. “Fear is a really debilitating emotion…Until recently, the thought of making one misstep that could be criticized would stop me from trying new things and from standing up for myself.”
So what changed? Willis credits her younger sisters, Scout, 23, and Tallulah, 21, for inspiring her to be brave. That bravery, in turn, led her to Dancing With the Stars, which upped her confidence even more.
“The first day I danced on-air, I was nervous; I had been struggling, and the dress rehearsal hadn’t gone well,” she admitted. “But after I finished I felt more beautiful than I had in my entire life. Not because of how I looked…but because of what I’d accomplished and worked so hard for.”
She’s quick to point out, however, that she’s not “invincible.” And while winning DWTS (with pro partner Val Chmerkovskiy) was certainly a victory, it wasn’t necessarily a solution to the bullying.
“I still have low moments,” she told Glamour. “Just because I was celebrated on Dancing With the Stars doesn’t mean the bullying has stopped. After the show started, I had to block almost 10 people every day on social media because they wouldn’t leave me alone.”
The difference now is that she’s better equipped to rise above and not let the haters get her down. “I remind myself that focusing on people’s negative opinions will only make me feel like crap,” she explained.
“If I start to get discouraged, I take a step back and go, All right, I don’t feel great today, but what can I do to shift how I’m thinking?” she continued. “It’s difficult, but the moment you stop saying, ‘I’m really fat,’ or ‘I’m ugly,’ and just say, ‘Wow, I have this,’ then you’ll see a change.”
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