Although Barbie Forteza is one of the most sought-after Gen Z stars today, she encountered her fair share of rejection prior to her rise to fame. ICYDK, the Maria Clara at Ibarra actress recently revealed that she actually used to be a victim of bullying when she was still in school.
“Nabu-bully ako sa school t’saka ‘di rin naman ako nag-e-excel masyado sa academics,” Barbie divulged to Karen Davila in an interview last March 2, 2023. Barbie further confessed, “Noong naging excuse kong um-absent ang pag-aartista, na-enjoy ko rin.”
Apparently, Barbie was bullied for four years before she could afford to transfer to a private grade school. At the time, one of her classmates would blackmail her into giving her weekly baon.
“‘Pag hindi ko siya pinapa-utang nililista niya ako sa noisy. ‘Pag noisy ka, kahit hindi ikaw ‘yung cleaner, maglilinis ka on that day.”
“Naka-dalawang school po kasi ako. Grades one to four, public school po ako. Tapos grades 5 and 6, medyo nagko-commercial, medyo may ipon ng kaunti, nakapag-private school na po kami,” Barbie shared. “Noong public school ako, binu-bully ako dahil hindi ko pinapa-utang ‘yung isa kong kaklase. Mga lima-limang piso, pambili ng lunch, ng recess.”
READ ALSO: How This Children's Book Helped My Bullied 8-Year-Old Daughter
Whenever Barbie refused to give her money, her classmate would list her down as “noisy” so she would have to clean the classroom every day. She explained, “‘Pag hindi ko siya pinapa-utang nililista niya ako sa noisy. ‘Pag noisy ka, kahit hindi ikaw ‘yung cleaner, maglilinis ka on that day.”
“So laging ganoon, so minsan pinapa-utang ko siya. Hanggang sa umabot sa 25 pesos ‘yung utang niya sa’kin,” she added. 25 pesos may not seem like a lot of money in today’s market, but it was already a big deal for students from humble backgrounds like Barbie.
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Since then, Barbie has learned to surround herself with positive people instead: “Mas naging mindful ako in choosing my friends. Hanggang ngayon nadadala ko pa rin, lalo na sa ating trabaho.”
You can watch Barbie’s full interview here.
What to do if your child has been bullied
Dr. Michele Alignay, a family psychologist and member of Smart Parenting Board of Experts said in a previous article that the role of parents of children who have been bullied is to initiate better emotional connections and more relatable communication with them.
“Allow them to grieve, express themselves or be vulnerable to you (if needed). They do not need judgments or comments when they share what they are going through. They need emotional supporting utmost understanding.
“If their mental health state is at risk, then get help from professionals,” Dr. Alignay added.
Read what to do if your child is the bully here.
This story originally appeared on CandyMag.com. Minor edits have been made by the SmartParenting.com.ph editors.