DANCING On Ice star Matt Lapinskas has revealed how he was branded “gay” at school for taking dancing and singing classes – and warns ministers must get tougher on today’s playground cyber-bullies.
The ex-EastEnders actor and hot tip to win the ITV skate contest fears a teen suicide epidemic if the Government cuts anti-bullying programmes.
He has even become an ambassador for an anti-bullying campaign.
Speaking for the first time about how he was bullied and mocked at school, Matt said: “I had a lot of friends but, because I was into drama, singing and dancing, my mates called me a ‘gay boy’ and said, ‘Stop being a f****t!’ and, ‘Why don’t you prance away!’
“These were my friends — but to have them say that was hurtful.”
Even now Matt says bullying remains in his life as kids shout abuse at him in the street.
He said: “Still when I walk down the street today a group of lads go, ‘Oi there’s that **** from EastEnders’ and I think, ‘When did I become a ****?’ They’ve never met me before, they don’t know me but that’s how they are. But I’ve grown up now and I’ve learned to take it on the chin.
“When you’re young, it affects you but I never let it stop me wanting to become an actor. But it shouldn’t happen in schools and we’re trying to stamp it out.”
Matt and model Jodie Marsh have been working in schools with award-winning anti-bullying campaigner Alex Holmes.
Matt said: “Jodie and I are both ambassadors for a campaign run by Alex and do a lot of work talking to kids about dealing with bullying, be it physical or mental. Now we’ve got cyber-bullying, which is the worst kind — you’ve got Twitter, Facebook, all that. Kids will start writing and spreading rumours.
“In one school a kid had set up a fake account called ‘so and so is a slag’ and there were pictures of her. It’s horrible.”
But Matt said: “We help kids come up with ideas to deal with bullying. There are counselling and ‘no blame’ meetings where everyone gets together, you have it out and it’s the kids who have these ideas — which is fantastic.”
His and Jodie’s findings are often harrowing.
Recalling some recent research they did, he said: “This one girl sent a picture of herself topless to someone, they sent it round the school, she was bullied and a few weeks later she hanged herself.”
But Matt’s work is threatened by Whitehall spending cuts. He said: “The Government have been funding it for three or four years and they want to cut it so we’re fundraising. I don’t understand how they can say we’ll cut that. It’s like they have no morals.”
To boost his chances on Dancing On Ice, Matt has been taking expert instruction in ballet.
He said: “Because of my street-dancing background my extensions are quite jerky but now I’ve worked on my lines, posture and breathing.”
The contestants face their toughest challenge tonight when they must skate unsupported by their professional partners — in Matt’s case Brianne Delcourt — for 30 seconds.
Matt will also be without his girlfriend cheering him on, EastEnders star Shona McGarty.
He said: “Shona is on holiday in Gran Canaria at the moment — but when I’ve finished the show we’ll go away together.”
Read more: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/tv/dancing_on_ice/4775930/Dancing-On-Ice-star-Matt-Lapinskas-was-bullied-at-school.html#ixzz2K2Fgei88
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Posted By: ThanksSoLong |
2/05/13 2:38 PM
All the dancing and singing looks like it paid off and his bullies were just a waste of his time