Rumer Willis, the newly minted champion of "Dancing with the Stars," knows how to waltz and paso doble with the best of them. But, in an essay published in Glamour, the 26-year-old reveals the most valuable lessons she learned from the show were about self-love and acceptance.
As the daughter of A-list stars Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, Rumer faced years of harsh criticism about her appearance.
"When you grow up in the public eye the way that I did, everyone’s looking at you and waiting for you to do something crazy or say something wrong or have a meltdown," she says. "I was constantly bullied because of my looks, so I struggled a lot with my body image."
Rumer acknowledges younger sisters Scout and Talullah as great examples of bravery and poise, but says that her confidence had to come from within. She credits her successful stint on "Dancing with the Stars," in particular, for her newfound happiness--not because the bullying ended, but because she found ways to overcome it.
"After the show started, I had to block almost 10 people every day on social media because they wouldn’t leave me alone. But when it happens now, I remind myself that focusing on people’s negative opinions will only make me feel like crap."
That strategy, coupled with a boost of self-assurance from winning the famed mirror ball trophy, proved tremendously helpful.
"After I finished [the show] I felt more beautiful than I had in my entire life. Not because of how I looked -- it’s not about having on a fancy dress or having your hair and makeup done -- but because of what I’d accomplished and worked so hard for."
Now, Rumer hopes to inspire other young people who face similar struggles with self-confidence.
"What it comes down to is this: We all need to stop bullying ourselves and being cruel to other women."