Elissa Sursara is an Australian biologist, broadcaster, filmmaker and celebrity conservationist who came into popularity after a number of television and film appearances relating to her environmental work. A former child actress appearing modestly on day time television, Sursara is the celebrity ambassador for a series of animal rights organisations, including the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and the WWF's Earth Hour.
I was always a little different to my peers and certainly not like other kids my own age. I spent large portions of time out of school working as an actress, which made developing strong friendships with my classmates almost impossible. I had different interests, different goals and a different schedule to other children, and I suffered socially because of my shy, reserved nature. There were times where I was physically bullied by other students, pushed against walls, scratched and bitten, and locked in dark classrooms, and times where I was emotionally taunted and called awful names. I'd hidden my experience from my family for many years - something I regret - but when the bullying turned physical, my family became aware of the situation and intervened.
My experience has made me a stronger person and it's proved particularly beneficial in my position. Bullying never ends, it just manifests in new ways and I've experienced it tenfold since coming into my role as a public figure. My personal experience with bullying helped me to develop a thick skin, and though I still have my moments, I've learned to carry myself with pride and with confidence and to understand that the hurtfulness of others is a reflection of their character, not mine.
Reach out and ask for help from an adult you trust, whether it's a parent or a teacher or a neighbor, and remember that it's never your fault, there's nothing wrong with you and there's always something you can do about it.
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