Bullying can have a lasting impact on a child’s psyche, and the ridicule can even persist into adulthood. This former reality television star was bullied from a young age, but she’s standing up to it with comedy.
Chanel Omari grew up in Brooklyn, New York but moved to Great Neck, Long Island when she was in grade school. As a native New Yorker she felt out of place in Long Island.
For instance, she dressed differently from the other kids by wearing outfits with floral patterns or sporting accessories like berets.
From first grade until ninth grade, Omari was bullied severely. By high school she had found her clique. However, she still experienced a fair amount of ridicule, even within her own friend group.
She found herself acting as the class clown or self deprecating in order to fit in.
“I was bullied a lot as I grew older. I think that’s what actually affected me as an adult more,” Omari told The Epoch Times.
Omari went to Northeastern University, and graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism and communications. She pursued a career in journalism and radio and television production, and found that she was bullied for her Jewish-Colombian heritage.
Other female coworkers would bully and threaten her as well in order to get a promotion or raise instead of her. The executives were also abrasive toward Omari.
“‘You’re not good enough. You’re not our caliber. Your nose is too big. Your face doesn’t fit our profile. You’re too loud. You’re too funny. You’re not cookie cutter. You’re not perfect. You’re too real. You’re too raw. You’re not polished,'” Omari recalled executives telling her.
Omari worked diligently at a radio station five to six nights a week filling in for people and working overnights.
However, there were coworkers that didn’t do half the work she did who would receive recognition and entitlement.
Princesses of Long Island
Omari eventually became involved in a reality television show called “Princesses of Long Island” after speaking with a friend who was a casting director.
He was always fascinated with the culture of Long Island, and felt a show about women in their mid-twenties moving back in with their parents on Long Island would be interesting.
The show focused on Omari and her five friends who had grown up on Long Island, and highlighted their friendships, home lives, and romantic relationships. But the bullying ultimately continued into the show.
“At the same time I got bullied for it. Not only bullied from the public or the fans, but I got bullied from certain producers,” Omari explained.
Executives bullied her about her nose, her weight, and urged her to change her “look.” She felt like she was being ridiculed for being different. The media criticized her personality on the show as well.
Omari also found herself getting ridiculed in the street, and even from family and friends she was familiar with.
Moreover, the other women on the show bullied Omari all day, everyday. Especially behind the scenes, women would try to take away airtime from Omari by threatening their friendships.
They would often put her down, and tell her that her work didn’t matter. Despite being a working professional in the television and radio industry, she still found herself being ridiculed by other women on the show who would tell her that her work was insignificant.
When the show was cancelled after the first season, Omari struggled for five years to find work because of how she was perceived on television.
She was also ridiculed just by virtue of the show being cancelled. People would call her a has-been, throw eggs at her house, spray paint her car, and worse.
“I felt very depressed. I was in a very dark place, and I felt like I had no worth. I felt like I was a nobody,” Omari explained.
Omari had to work to realize that the reality show didn’t define her, and that her eccentricity was a beautiful part of her identity that other people would have to accept.
Omari worked at a top 40 radio station, and worked overnights for the first two years before working prime time for the next two years on a show called “Nights with Chanel.”
It was during this time when Omari conceived her own radio show and podcast called “Chanel in the City.” She felt like she wasn’t fitting the cookie cutter mold in the corporate world, and decided to venture out on her own.
Chanel in the City
The show currently features celebrity interviews, restaurant recommendations, anti-bullying campaigns and organizations, and whatever Omari feels is important or just funny to talk about.
Omari is also producing stand up comedy in an effort express herself and to combat bullying. Most of the proceeds from her upcoming show will go toward the anti-bullying campaigns she works with.
The content of the show will feature former and current reality television stars and where they are now. The message of the show is about what happens when a star gets pushed aside and nobody will give them a chance.
Each reality television star will do a comedy set about their lives and careers, which will be followed by a roast of Omari.
The show will be featured at The Stand in June.
“With comedy you can really be yourself,” Omari said.