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Lisa Wilkinson: 'I still don't know how I survived it every day.'

Lisa Wilkinson is many things. A highly-respected journalist, television host, former women’s magazine editor, as well as a wife and mother of three.

The Today show co-host attributes her success to a combination of putting her head down, timing and confidence in her talent.

But in an interview with Woman’s Day celebrating a decade behind the desk at Channel Nine’s beloved prime-time morning show, it’s ‘confidence’ the 57-year-old Wilkinson admits she has worked hardest to build after experiencing severe bullying as a teenager.

Affecting every aspect of her adolescence from grades to a budding ballet career, Wilkinson describes her fear of the “gang of school girls” who bullied her both physically and verbally at Campbelltown High School.

“When you get bullied, you want to disappear,” she told the magazine. “You don’t want to shine at anything.”

“So something I was really good at and that I loved, I gave up because the bullies thought it was uncool.”

"I look at photos of myself back then and think, I wish I could reach into that photo and hug that girl." (Image: Instagram)
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Reflecting on her daily torment, which reached its worst in her mid-teens, Wilkinson recalls the feeling of self-loathing and shame that all too often forces the victims of bullying further into their shells.

"I became really good at hiding it. I hid it from my parents," she said.

"I would isolate myself so [my girlfriends] didn't become part of it because I felt so completely humiliated."

Having now mothered three kids - Jake, 23, Louis, 21, and Billi, 19 with husband, Peter FitzSimons - Wilkinson acknowledges she's lucky to have been able to pull herself out of what was a very tough period.

"I felt so powerless. I still don't know how I survived it because everyday I went to school I didn't know if I was going to get beaten up."

But she did survive, forging a career for herself which infamously started with a single ad in the newspaper for a receptionist at Dolly magazine. In the years that have passed since her first job answering the phones, Wilkinson has become one of the country's most-loved and respected media personalities, something which she wishes her teenage self could've known was coming.

Listen: Lisa Wilkinson chats to Mia Freedman on No Filter about being on live TV for 20 hours a week, her marriage and working with Karl (post continues after audio...)

"I look at photos of myself back then and think, I wish I could reach into that photo and hug that girl and say 'Just hold on, it's going to be okay. And you're going to have an amazing life'."

Were you bullied in high school like Lisa? How do you look back on the experience?

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