How Lady Gaga Helps My Mentees on the Spectrum Who Are Bullied

When I was growing up I never really had someone to look up to who was on the autism spectrum. For that reason I looked up to people like actor Will Smith, who had been able to overcome obstacles in his life. Early on, I saw the importance of having a role model and the positive impact on my own development. This theme later led me to become a mentor for those with autism.

Many of my mentees thoroughly enjoy pop culture. So when they were having trouble with bullying, I went to the internet to research celebrities who had become bullying ambassadors. The first name that popped up for me was none other than pop-sensation Lady Gaga. Gaga told Rolling Stone magazine that she used to be bullied in high school for having a big nose. Countless peers would call her names like “ugly.”

At first I didn’t know how to make the connection of Gaga to my mentees — until she came out with her smash hit song “Born This Way.”

The song is catchy but also has a positive lyric in it that really resonated with my mentees when I played them the song.

“There’s nothin’ wrong with lovin’ who you are” became something we would discuss in deeper detail.

As I continued to research celebrities, I found out that both Bruno Mars and Adam Levine had been victims of bullying as kids too.

I’ve taken these opportunities to learn more about each of their stories to educate my mentees and include them in talks I give around the country on bullying prevention based on my own experiences being bullied.

At the end of the day my message to our communities has always been the same. Most have been a victim of bullying at some point in their lives, but that doesn’t mean we can’t overcome these obstacles to find the beauty in ourselves. Some people who have been bullied have gone on to do amazing things. That potential is what I want my mentees to see every day. If I can leave them with that, I’ve done my job.

“It is important that we push the boundaries of love and acceptance. It is important that we spread tolerance and equality for all students.” – Lady Gaga

You can read a version of this piece on


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Autism Spectrum Disorder

Color gears on white isolated background.

Autism Took That Away, but Autism Gave Me That

Last night, my husband and I almost had a fight over something I said to him. I’m thankful after 27 years, he knew me well enough to know my intent wasn’t to hurt him. I had a long day after a long two weeks, and I did not think I could do one more thing [...]
woman with asperger's syndrome

Being Diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum in My 40s

When I was in elementary school, I was diagnosed with speech and hearing problems, and “giftedness” (whatever that is). Since it was 1960s in rural Oregon, there weren’t a lot of resources to deal with things like that. I did have speech and hearing therapy and a supply closet by the nurse’s office that was dark [...]

Having Children With Autism Does Not Make Me a 'Martyr Mommy'

There are few things that really get to me. Working in social media, I scroll through countless offensive and generally awful things on a daily basis. You learn quickly to let things roll off your back or you’ll just feel down all the time. But when I came across this meme while scrolling through my [...]
Side-by-side photos of a boy wearing a hat that says Lane and a bright yellow vest and a hard hat

When a Construction Crew Went Out of Its Way to Give My Autistic Son an Amazing Evening

A week ago, my husband was stuck in traffic for over an hour just trying to get home from work. He was stuck at a place on his commute that is usually only five minutes or so from our driveway. We’re living right on a busy street undergoing a huge overhaul at this very moment. [...]