SZA Says Being Bullied As a Teenager 'Made Me Who I Am'
SZA has the No. 1 album in the country with SOS, but she wasn’t always the popular kid.
The “Kill Bill” singer reveals that she was bullied when she was a teenager. Speaking with PEOPLE, she opened up about her “shi**y experience” growing up.
“I was bullied because I wasn’t quiet and I was awkward at the same time,” she recalls. “I wasn’t this tiny sad victim, but I was more so attacked just because it was giving ‘What is wrong with you?’ energy.”
At the time, she thought it would define her. “I always thought, ‘Oh my God.’ I’ll never have the approval of anyone in life, this must be my defining factor, this must be the bottom line,” she shares.
Looking back, SZA is “grateful” for her experiences because they made her into the person she is today.
“I realized that all the things that made me feel so lame were actually what made me into who I am,” she says. “It’s like, I didn’t go to prom because I didn’t have any friends and I had no one to go to prom with … [and now] it’s so weird that my life turned into [having] a bodyguard while traveling to parties.”
She tells the magazine, “All these things, if I had such a fulfilling existence and experience in high school, I would’ve felt validated to the point where I didn’t need to do anymore. [So] I just had to do more, I had to be more because I was like, ‘This shi**y experience can’t be the end of it because if it is, I am cooked.'”
But SZA is getting the last laugh these days. Her album SOS is No. 1 on the Billboard 200 for a third consecutive week, becoming the first R&B album by a woman to spend three weeks at No. 1 since Beyoncé’s self-titled album in 2013.
SZA also has some advice for victims of bullying—it gets better. “Everyone who experiences bullying, that just sucks, but it’s going to lead you to something, it has to,” she says. “If you could hold on and just wait until high school is over because 10 years from now, I promise you, none of those people will matter.”