Long before Vinny Guadagnino was beating the beat on "Jersey Shore" (and beating off the attention of club-hopping ladies), he was a gawky kid getting picked on by high school girls.
"I was really awkward-looking and I got bullied a lot — especially by the hot girls," he recently told MTV News. "I was cool enough to sit at the popular table with the hot girls, but at the same time, I wasn't the most popular kid at that table. They would make fun of me and it would really hurt me, because you don't want the girls thinking that you're a loser."
How times have changed. But Vinny hasn't forgotten what it's like to be bullied, and he's made an effort to use his celebrity to bring attention to the issue, taking part in MTV's A Thin Line campaign to empower kids to identify, respond to, and stop the spread of digital abuse. On Monday, at 9 p.m. ET/PT, the channel is set to premiere "DISconnected," a film about online bullying. After the movie, Vinny will take part in an MTV News special to discuss these issues.
Though he's now a celebrity with almost 2 million Twitter followers, he still encounters digital abuse. Not long ago, he posted a YouTube video with some of his young cousins in the background and, as he put it, "some hater called a little girl in the background fat."
"I've learned not to let it affect me, but there are other people that can be affected by it," Vin added. "That's why I want to share a message with young kids that whenever someone is pointing the finger at you, they have a ton of problems themselves that are making them do that. That's their own insecurities talking."