Actress/singer Zendaya is convinced childhood bullying toughened her up and made her better equipped to deal with life in the spotlight.
The former Disney star, 19, reveals she was tormented by mean kids when she was in school, but she learned not to take their nasty comments to heart.
She now believes the trouble she suffered as a youngster gave her the thick skin she needed to make it in showbusiness.
"I was made fun of (in school), but it didn't bother me very much because I was very comfortable in who I was," she tells New You magazine. "I was taught as a young child by my parents and family to love myself. And it's the same today - there are certain things that don't bother me. I just focus on being a good person... I feel that if you shelter your kids from everything, one day they are going to be out in the world on their own and they are going to have to figure it out."
Zendaya, who shot to fame as a child star, is determined to use her experiences with bullying to help others, and she hopes her success inspired other young women who are teased over their looks.
"Whether it is through my social media or whatever, I want anyone who looks up to me to know that I go through the same problems," she adds. "I have to be confident in who I am. When I learn things about myself, I like to share that journey with people because I know there are a lot of people going through the same thing... It is very important because I have a lot of young people on Instagram and Twitter who are looking to me for guidance and inspiration. I feel responsible to be real with them, honest with them, and inspire and help them in any way that I can while still learning and figuring out who I am."
The teenager recently spoke out against the use of air-brushing on images of celebrities and models, and Zendaya hopes the entertainment industry will eventually accept all standards of beauty.
"There is no such thing as ugly. That's a word that doesn't really enter my vocabulary," she explains. "If there's any definition to being perfect, you're perfect at being yourself. No other person can be you 100 percent; no one has your fingerprint; no one has your DNA. You are you 120 percent, through and through."