MANILA – Life was not always easy for Miss Intercontinental 2017 first runner-up Katarina Rodriguez, who had to endure bullying while she was a high school student in the United States.
“I experienced a lot of bullying, and these were people I saw day to day,” she said in an interview with the entertainment website Pep published Tuesday.
“There was a group of girls… They would just call me all sorts of names,” added Rodriguez, who revealed that her bullies even made fake social media accounts just to taunt her.
“They’d say things about me. And in my room, I’d cry.”
But instead of letting bullies bring her down, Rodriguez proved them wrong by making a name for herself.
She made it to the Top 3 of “Asia’s Next Top Model” in 2014 and won the Binibining Pilipinas Intercontinental 2017 crown, which allowed her to represent the country in the Miss Intercontinental pageant.
Now, the tables have turned. Rodriguez said her bullies are now her admirers, and they have been trying to get in touch with her on social media.
“You know what’s funny? Now they message me on Instagram. They’re like, ‘Hey Kat, how are you? Blah-blah, you’re doing so well,’ this and that,” she said. “And me naman, I’m not bitter. But it’s like, ‘What do you want? What do you want?’ I don’t reply to them. I just read it and laugh kasi I wanna be like, ‘Hey, thanks for calling me this and that, one time at 11th grade.’”
“I don’t [say that] naman, but things come around… They always come around. So make sure when you give, it’s always good things.”
Asked to give advice to the bullied, Rodriguez said: “If they’re saying things, just ignore them. The best thing you can do is ignore. If you feel like you need to fight back ‘cause it’s too much na, you fight back.”