Lisa and Lady Gaga bond over shared pain
When Lisa Wilkinson and Lady Gaga sat down for their chat on The Sunday Project, there was a moment where both women realised they shared a strong connection.
Beloved television personality Wilkinson, 60, and pop music juggernaut Lady Gaga, 34, have overcome being relentlessly bullied as teenagers to become two inspiring women in the public eye.
Chatting to Gaga after the release of her new single Rain on Me, featuring Ariana Grande, from her new album Chromatica, Wilkinson asked the star what impact the pain of her past had on her today.
"I know you were badly bullied in high school. I was too, so I can really relate to a lot of your lyrics," Wilkinson began.
"It stays with you your whole life," Gaga said.
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Agreeing that bullying "absolutely does" stick with a person, The Sunday Project host wondered whether the taunts from the peers in her past had an effect on her now.
Gaga, who showcased her impressive acting prowess in 2018's A Star Is Born opposite Bradley Cooper, said while the memories hurt, she'd learnt the importance of "spreading kindness" in the world.
"I remember things my bullies said to me in front of other people and no one said anything, nobody said to me, 'Are you OK, are you fine?' In fact, if I were to speak up about a bully being mean to me, it would just make it harder for me at school," she recalled.
"Being bullied has taught me the importance of spreading kindness in the world because I think it's something that we can fix."
The singer started the Born This Way Foundation in 2012 to do just that, with the organisation's website stating it was "committed to supporting the wellness of young people, and empowering them to create a kinder and braver world".
"What I had to do was go back further into my childhood and into my high school years. When I was bullied and made fun of for having big dreams," she told the publication.
And back in 2011, she spoke at Google headquarters during a live interview about how she'd always been considered "a loser" by her peers growing up.
"Bullying really stays with you your whole life. And it really, really never goes away. And I know you're using words like 'superstar' and 'most-Googled' and 'billions of YouTube (views).' But I was never the winner. I was always the loser. And that still stays with me. And do I want to stick it to anybody? No. I just wanna make music," she said.
Wilkinson has similarly been open about the bullying she endured in her younger years, telling The Project panel in 2018: "I felt so humiliated and so small as a result of it that I thought if I keep it as much as I can to myself, even though sometimes half the school would be surrounding me because the toughest girl in the school would want to fight me."
As a result, the TV presenter said she was made to feel that she "didn't want to excel at anything".
"If I was doing well at something that meant that I stood out and became a target," she said.
"It's the most awful, humiliating moment - moments - I've ever experienced in my life and I really feel for kids."
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I have such mixed emotions when I look at this photo of me at the age of 15 because I’m immediately reminded of the pain behind that very tentative young girl’s smile. At school I was being badly bullied and every day I feared what that school bell would bring. Somehow, I managed to survive the schoolyard bullies but I’m painfully aware that an ever-increasing number of kids today don’t. Including Amy “Dolly” Everett who, two years ago, at the age of just 14, took her own life after the bullying became too much. On this #DoItForDolly Day, please remember, if you or someone you know is struggling, there is always help available. And please, speak, even if your voice shakes. If you need someone to talk to: LIFELINE: 131114 KID’S HELPLINE: 1800 5551 800 BEYOND BLUE: 1300 224 636 With help, you CAN get through this. For a glimpse into how I did, see the link above in my bio.🌺🌺🌺🌺🌺 @10dailyau @theprojecttv @dollysdreamaustralia
She went on to say her experience led to her making a promise to herself that she would "never again allow somebody to decide on my behalf who I was and what I was capable of".
Earlier this month, Wilkinson penned a piece for Ten Daily titled 'I Survived The Schoolyard Bullies, But Too Many Aussie Kids Don't' to raise awareness for Do it for Dolly Day, held in honour of Dolly Everett, a victim of cyberbullying who took her life in 2018 aged 14.
On The Sunday Project tonight, Lisa Wilkinson's full interview with Lady Gaga will cover everything from her eccentric outfits and enormous onstage confidence, to making her mark in Hollywood.
The Sunday Project airs tonight from 7.30pm on Channel 10.
Originally published as Lisa and Lady Gaga bond over shared pain