Mister France of Branly high school in Dreux: “School bullying can destroy the strongest people”

In the auditorium, only they can see him. 1.90 m, an athlete of construction, attractive smile, curly brown hair, Lenny Tabourel gives the “course”. It was a relaxed exchange with high school students in Branly, in Dreux. Here as elsewhere, we are sensitive to the issue of harassment and how to combat it. There are, of course, specialists, “but a testimony also has a significant impact”, according to the school administration, who invited one who, before becoming Mister France, was the laughing stock of his companion.

For you, what is most important is physical or mental?
It’s the mind, because it conditions your physical.

Did the title of Mister France heal you from the wounds of your childhood?
You just can’t stand it, there are so many wounds. But these trials allow us to move on. There is nothing hopeless, even in the most dangerous of circumstances.

Lenny Tabourel, “the physical envelope is just an ephemeral appearance. It just proves my desire to change.”

“We can’t get up from it, but these trials allow us to keep going”

This bullying, when was the first time?
I was in school, but at the time, I didn’t pay attention to it. When you are young, there is no perspective needed to realize any ill -treatment. I remember being taught. My classmates wanted to make fun of other people and they made fun of me. I am their scarecrow. Not very happy.

Did you talk to your parents, friends …
I kept it all to myself, as many harassed people do. I stay in my pain because, in a moderate manner, I don’t want to talk about how I feel, I feel. I don’t find it useful. That’s probably what I did wrong.

Is there a particular embarrassment that marks you?
It was a series of facts that affected me physically and morally. It was everyday. And also, I’m “lucky” that social networks haven’t. Now, a harassed youth can go through hell. This is why I do interventions in colleges and high schools. Harassment can destroy people’s most resilience, seriously damaging their future.

Did you go through phobia at school?
I have nothing to do with school phobia, but annoyance with my situation. The next morning I went to school with a lump in my stomach. However, I don’t want to show anything vis-à-vis others. My philosophy is to keep smiling to hide a tear… I smile, even when I suffer in silence.

Food is your refuge.
I was in a state of depression and the more I was attacked, the more I ate. This is my only happiness. I raised a lot. And the comments didn’t stop at school. I’m always thrown in “big bacon” and “big pork”.

Did it affect your work?
I always have the energy to make allowances, which are probably more mature compared to others. I don’t want my depth to reappear in my classes and my homework. I’ve always had this logic of hiding my pain.

premium Harassment, subject of the first film by a schoolboy from Chartres

“Awareness and prevention are top priorities”

Why are National Education prevention actions important in combating bullying?
The ban is gone and there are more and more awareness campaigns. I would like to see more initiatives aimed at providing practical advice, during dedicated hours. For example, create the theme: “How does a bully react?” Awareness and prevention are top priorities. Because there are so many more silences on the subject.

What is your main message?
There are a number of these and involve a lot of school bullying such as personal development, personal motivation and ambition. My journey is proof of that. But there is first a click of the desire to break this infernal circle.

Which?
It all started with a personal conscience, a deep exhaustion of my college years. I did some teaching myself. A general question. I don’t feel good in my body, I don’t think about my curves anymore. No longer support the view of others. I didn’t apply any miracle recipes. I just want to build another shell through sports and better nutrition. My great growth in adolescence has helped me, as well as games. From rugby, which I had practiced when I was older, I switched to basketball. And then I stopped snacking on outside food.

What diet?
I stopped abusing sugar, which I eliminated from my breakfast. Goodbye sodas too! At noon and at night, these are starchy foods, vegetables and fruits. I’m used to being hungry and not cracking in between meals. The mind plays a big role.

The ex-obese child became a muscular man. How did you experience this “metamorphosis”?
The insults stopped in high school. I no longer see my stalker. In fact, I can’t blame them. At school or college, the child does not always realize that what he or she is saying is harmful to the person.

The selection of Mister France is a revenge… but also a stage?
It’s both, concreting a heavy past. “Lenny le gros” became Lenny Mister France. From this experience, I remember that you can always get rid of it by knowing how to take advantage of your opportunity.

Next, what is it?
Writing a book is my experience, which will provide ideas for personal development to be better on your skin and especially on your head. And most of all, helping victims of harassment. I want to force the delivery of messages of hope.

“Actually, I don’t blame them for my bullies. At school or college, the kid doesn’t always know that what he’s saying is harmful to the person.” Photo: Alexander CK

“The army is my second family”

Where are you in your personal development?
I am on the “step” way, committed to intervening in schools. It is also true that I am happy with my life as Mister France. Nice to praise the body after living years of insults, years of “dirty fat”. Now the physical is just looks. The important thing is the content. Sport plays an important role.

You are now part of the Army, in Besançon (Doubs). Did military life contribute to your recovery from bullying?
The army is my second family. It gives me more self -confidence and a better knowledge of how to manage events. I now coordinate with military groups. The army contributed to my transformation. This is an important step to stop. I really want to move towards a path of counseling, psychological and nutritional. Young people need it.

What would you say to the harassed kid who aspires not to be Mister France or be a rugby player?
Talk about it around you. And don’t stop making fun of others. Giving importance to it is to comfort them in their opposite way.

Not easy to resist.
This is why we need to talk about it. Don’t be left alone.

Does your fame and your body have an impact on your private life?
I didn’t have much time for that. As always, I first managed Mister France’s life before a couple. ulitawo ko. A heart to take!

Organic Express:
December 3, 1998. Birth of Lenny Tabourel in Avignon (Vaucluse).
2018. Vocational baccalaureate audio-visual digital electronic system.
2019. Enlisted, in the barracks of Besançon (Doubs).
2022. Chosen Mister France.

Olivier Bohin

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