Katie Boland was born February 14, 1988 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and began her acting career at a very young age. Katie has been in a wide array of movies and television since her career began.
I had the pleasure of connecting with actress Katie Boland to discuss the subject of bullying and get her take on it. I am proud to announce that Katie is one of the newest supporters here at Bullies Keep out, which I am very grateful for.
Katie is a rising star, so please keep an eye out for her future projects.
Q&A with Katie Boland
Q. So I know you’re an actress, but tell me a little bit more of what you do besides that and any other causes that are close to your heart? Why did you find it important to lend your voice to Bullies Keep Out?
A. I am really passionate about speaking out about bullying. I wanted to lend my voice here because I think a lot of bad deeds in the world are allowed by the silence of good people and bullying is something that needs to be talked about. I also think it’s important for kids to be able to Google bullying and see that there are adults who have dealt with it and who are talking about it and how it does get better. I am playing a character on Reign right now who is bullied because of how she looks, and I find a very sad situation to have to act out every week – I want kids to know they aren’t alone.
Q. Have you ever been bullied or known someone to be bullied? If so, what did you do in that situation?
A. I would say I have been bullied more as an adult than as a child. I was in a relationship where in retrospect, my partner’s behavior was bullying. As I think is so often the case, you don’t realize that until way after. I think I was in denial but I always knew something was wrong and I wish I had trusted my instincts sooner and left. My advice to other people in that situation is to talk to loved ones about what’s happening. My advice would be the same to children who are being bullied; talk to your parents about it. Tell them what’s happening and ask someone you trust for help. I know it’s the hardest thing to do, but you aren’t alone. Maybe in asking for help, you can make a change. Sometimes you just need to get out of the situation you’re in. Anything is better than staying somewhere where you’re being bullied because most of the times, the bullies are so damaged that they can’t change. If you can’t leave the relationship or the situation you’re in, at least having someone to talk to will make it easier and together, you can try to find a solution and your loved one can provide some support.
Q. Do you feel bullying is becoming a major epidemic?
A. I don’t think bullying is a more major epidemic now than it’s ever been. I think we are talking about it in today’s society and I think that’s a good thing. Do I think more gay kids are killing themselves today due to bullying? Probably not. I am sure that’s always been an issue throughout history. However, we are paying attention to it and trying to do something. I also think celebrities, like Lady Gaga etc. are speaking out about bullying and sharing stories of having been bullied and I think that gives kids a lot of hope. I think any way to draw attention to bullying is beneficial and helpful and I think all this effort has saved a lot of lives because it does get better. Childhood and school is hard for anyone who is interesting and different – as an adult, being different is what you strive for. I know as a kid that’s hard to believe, but it’s true.
Q. What do you feel causes the majority of bullying or do you see it as not coming from one single source?
A. In situations like this, I blame enablers. So, I blame parents and teachers. Firstly, you should know if your kid is a bully or not. If you don’t know what your kid is like at school, you’re negligent. Secondly, as a teacher, you know very quickly who’s being bullied. Do something. Adults need to deal with it. They need to step in and change what’s happening. Kids who bully generally suffer from low self-esteem or some part of them is damaged, they aren’t going to stop by themselves. I think adults need to take way more preventative steps to protect children. If your kid is being bullied, do something… encouraging your kid to be a tough guy doesn’t help. I advocate getting them out of the situation or the institution taking major steps to punish those who bully. Enough is enough – if you aren’t doing something to stop it, and you are a healthy well adjusted adult, you are to blame. I feel strongly about this.
Q. I have thought about opening bullying centers in each major city as a place for both children and adults to go outside of school, the workplace, and or family atmosphere. What are your thoughts on this? Do you think they would help or fail as some of the programs in school have?
A. I think they would help. I think anywhere where kids can go and talk and meet other kids who are going through the same thing would help. Of course it would. People need resources. The most eye-opening situation is when you meet someone else who has had a similar struggle to you and you say, “Oh, you went through that, too?” People need to talk, they need understanding and companionship. I think in bullying centers kids would find that.
Q. What part do you feel the school and parents should play? Do you think they are not in their children’s lives enough as many wonder how all this is taking place and parents have no idea until it is too late? Many also are blaming the schools while the schools insist they are following all the appropriate protocols.
A. Honestly, for the most part, no one is following appropriate protocols. I fully blame parents. Until your kid is eighteen, even past that, it is your job and responsibility to know how they’re acting, if they are making good choices. It is, in my opinion, that black and white. Also, teachers and educational professionals need to do better. Bullying scars people for life – if you are an adult, you need to step in and do something. If your kid is being bullied, I think there are signs and I think it is your responsibility as a parent to talk to your kid and figure out what’s going on in their life. Parents need to be more aware. If your kid is depressed, you should know.
Q. How do you feel about the cyber bullying situation and social media? It seems to be prevalent among regular individual along with celebrities.
A. I think because of the internet it is easier to bully now than ever because you don’t have to do it face to face, which, again, is why as a parent you need to know what your kid is doing on social media. When regular adults or celebrities engage in twitter bullying I think they are idiots and need to get a life. It’s pathetic and it sets a terrible example.
Q. Do you feel television shows or commentary that are used to make fun of people such as best dressed and worse dressed are seen as an outlet or excuse to bully? I know many feel that we preach how to treat each other with kindness yet promote and laugh at shows that do the complete opposite.
A. Yeah, on the one hand, I love What Not to Wear because I love clothes, but when you put it that way, I actually wonder if the underlying message of that show is positive. They preach self-esteem and that healthy self esteem makes you want to dress well, but now, I don’t know if that show is good or bad. I think we need to embrace individuality as a concept more. Why do we care what someone wears? We need to be thinking about out own lives. So, probably those shows are doing the complete opposite and are promoting unkind and unhealthy values.
Q. How would you recommend handling harassment or bullying online or in schools or the workplace?
A. Again, I recommend telling someone you trust. It is such a difficult and awful situation because usually there isn’t one quick solution. My advice is to ask for help. You don’t have to go it alone and with the help of an adult or a friend, it gets better.
Q. Many have sadly taken their life for being different such as race, religion, or sexual orientation. What is your opinion on this, and are you a supporter of the LGBT community?
A. I am a huge supporter of the LGBT community. I think it’s a giant tragedy. I think more major celebrities and politicians need to voice their support of the LGBT community and acceptance of those who are different. Of course the fact that gay marriage isn’t legal in the states plays into the lack of acceptance of gay kids in school. We need to make major changes in our society. Those who are capable of change and doing the right thing on a major and political level need to do better. It’s not okay. Just because it makes some people uncomfortable doesn’t mean we are allowed to undervalue the rights of members of society. It’s wrong.
Q. Do you have any personal advice or wisdom to share about bullying?
A. Just know that it does get better. High school ends and the next day it’s like it never mattered and all those social hierarchies fade away. Being cool as a child or a teenager doesn’t mean you’re going to have a fabulous life. In fact, adversity as a child and being different has been linked to a successful adulthood. It might not feel like it now but your sensitivity, your kindness, your difference is your greatest strength. You don’t want to peak in high school, trust me. Also, if you are a bystander, do something. Speak out. Help the person being bullied. If you are in an abusive relationship, try to get help and then try to leave. But just know that this situation you’re in isn’t permanent. As Winston Churchill says, “If you are going through Hell, keep going.” Don’t give up. Talk to someone, keep going, try to make a change – you’ll get through this, so many people have and have gone on to have wonderful lives.
Q. Would you like to add anything? Also list all your sites and where people can find you and what you do.
A. I was not cool in high school. Now, I am so grateful for that.
Thank you for having me!!!!
As you can see Katie is extremely passionate about where she stands and what how she feels about bullying. I happen to agree with everything she said 100%. Please stay tuned for Katie’s PSA for Bullies Keep Out coming soon!
Interview done by: Founder of BKO and host of La Bella Vita Dana Jacoviello
Be kind…always LOVE BIG!