Project Runway judge Tim Gunn opens up about his experience with bullying in a new video through the Friend Movement, an initiative aiming to share positive anti-bullying messages through the media.
View video below.
The television personality and fashion consultant talks about his hardships, saying, “I have spent a huge amount of my life being bullied, to be perfectly honest, and it profoundly affected me. The number of friends I had you can count on one hand. There was nothing I liked more than the privacy of my own room. I wasn’t a sports guy as the only sport I ever participated in was solitary sports like swimming, track: things you can do alone.”
Gunn remembers being an easy target because of his stutter. But there were those along the way who stood up for the awkward youth. Gunn specifically remembers Craig Smith as one of his few close friends, who confronted a group of kids who picked on him.
Smith stood by Gunn and said, “Leave him alone. It isn’t his fault.”
“When Craig stood up for me, the attack and the bullying were instantly dissipated. [That] doesn’t mean it didn’t rise again but at the moment it certainly extinguished it, and I am just so grateful for having that moment,” said Gunn. “At times like that you’re only thinking short term. If you think long term, it’s catastrophic. In short term, it was sublime. I’ll love Craig forever for that.”
Through his involvement with the Friend Movement, Gunn now educates the younger generation on the dangers of bullying, and the avenues available to find help.
“There’s people around each of us who are there to help. Talk to your parents, talk to people who you trust, to your friends, talk to anyone, but talk it through,” Gunn said. “When I reflect upon my life, would I like the bullying to never happen? Yes, but I think it also made me stronger. I loathe saying there’s not any aspect that I want it to go away because all of those things made me who I am today.”
Co-founded by Ronnie Kroell and Director Elliot London, the Friend Movement initiative is meant to prevent bullying “by enabling them to be a better friend” and to “invoke inspiration and conservation.”
Tim Gunn also participated in a grassroots photo campaign called the New F Word. The campaign recruited various celebrities like Glee star Darren Criss and singer Adam Lambert who replaced words like “freak,” “fatty,” and “faggot,” with “friend,” to “project inner strength and confidence.”