Jackie Evancho: Overcoming bullying on her way to the top

Jackie Evancho told Lauren Kirchmyer that proving her bullies wrong is "a major motivation." (Photo by Tim O'Shei)

Jackie Evancho told Lauren Kirchmyer that proving her bullies wrong is “a major motivation.”
(Photo by Tim O’Shei)

Big dreams come with a big cost: People will target you on your way up.

I’ve seen it over and over in our Live! Starring … You! interviews: When we ask stars about their experiences with bullying, they almost always tell us they endured it. Usually they’re targeted for being different, for aiming higher, for thrusting themselves into a spotlight and taking risks that other people avoid.

Figure skating champion Jeremy Abbott told us so.

So did Jon Beavers, better known as “Twist” from Nickelodeon’s Fresh Beat Band.

Likewise for Max Schneider, a singer and actor from Nickelodeon’s How to Rock; National Football League star George Wilson, and so many more. The pop-rock duo MKTO even wrote a song (and told us) about it.

The latest star to share her inspirational story of overcoming bullying is 13-year-old Jackie Evancho, the soprano who gained fame at age 10 on America’s Got Talent and has since sold millions of copies of her five albums.

“People like me, who are trying to fight their way to the top, they’re different,” Jackie told LSY reporter Lauren Kirchmyer. “They’re not afraid to be who they want to be. Because of that, because they’re slightly different. They’re made fun of because if it.”

As Lauren and I sat with Jackie before a recent concert, she told us that she’s been “bullied with words” many times, and physically bullied (punched and choked) a few.

“Sure, I cried in the moment,” she said, “but I got over it thinking, ‘These people are just horrible people who don’t have anything else to be happy about because they’re negative. They’re not optimistic and open-minded.’”

Jackie, however, is both of those things, which is a major reason why she was able to move past the bullying.

“Because they had done this to me, I kind of wanted to show them I’m not going to give up,” she said. “It’s a major motivation for me.”

(You can watch the video of our interview below or on YouTube.)

A personal from the LSY team to you, our readers and fans: We know so many of you deal with this too. You’ve told us about it in tweets and Facebook posts and emails. There’s no simple solution to bully-proofing yourself, but I do hope you find Jackie’s story to be a helpful reminder that it is possible to move past the negativity and chase your dreams at full speed.

Tim O’Shei, LSY founder

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