Dazzling smile, killer wardrobe, charming personality, to-die-for abs. It is little wonder that Lee Elliott, a 35-year-old mechanical plumber from Melbourne, became a fast favourite on Season 2 of Ten’s The Bachelorette.
What is surprising? As a child, Elliott looked vastly different—and was the target of bullying so severe he actually changed schools in year 8. After turning away from competitive swimming in primary school, “I stopped training, but I kept eating like I always had,” Elliott tells WHO.
Once puberty hit, things got worse. “I was already chubbier,” Elliott says, “but I also had bad skin, braces, glasses and big hair. It was a hamburger with the lot—and kids will find anything to pick on.”
Elliott says he “never really stood up” to his tormenters because “I was brought up to be a lover, not a fighter.” And he long ago came to realise that “there’s far more to life than high school… the older you get, you realise it’s all bullshit.”
Yet even in the Bachelorette mansion, Elliott struggled with his self-esteem. “There were a couple of mornings I woke up and said, ‘What am I doing? What could Georgia possibly see?’ People mistake me for being confident and self-assured, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s silly, but it’s still there."