The 10-year-old daughter of Kiwi actress Nicole Whippy has spoken out against body-shaming in an insightful poem about an incident that happened to her at just age 7.
Pearl Holden's spoken word poem, which she will recite to her classmates including her body-shaming bullies at Pt Chevalier School, is being praised as an empowering story for other children to learn from.
"I was Year 3. Seven years old. I was free. I was walking to the playground with a group of friends," the poem reads.
"A gang of boys approached us. Took one look at me and said: 'Hey, look at that fat one'. They started smirking and walked away.
"From that day I started to do everything I could to make myself look slimmer, until I got a glimmer, of what you had actually done to me.
"You body-shamed me."
Whippy, 42, told the Weekend Herald she was very proud of her eldest daughter.
"It is amazing. She knows herself in the most amazing way because any other kid might break but Pearl is just trying to carry on," Whippy said.
"When you hear anything like that happening to your child, and so blatant. But Pearl is an incredibly stoic child.
"We try to offer her ways of expressing herself so she can release some of this and she is a really incredible writer."
Whippy, now a regular on Shortland Street who has also starred in Outrageous Fortune and Nothing Trivial, is a drama teacher and coached Pearl's class on how to write a spoken word poem.
"It's about telling your own story as opposed to a speech which is quite factual and has a certain structure.
"If you can talk about things that matter, that's what will come across, that's what we'll connect to."
Pearl had already written a speech about body-shaming when she decided to do the spoken word presentation as well.
"I said to her, 'Do you have a story about body-shaming?', and that was her story."
Whippy said she was aware of other incidents involving Pearl being judged by her peers but the schoolyard taunting was new to her.
"She is one of very few Pacific Islanders at her school and there have been just little comments made about the differences.
"The fact that she was going to get up in front of her class and say this, I was just speechless.
"And I was scared. I was like 'Oh my god my baby, you are basically putting your pain and your heartbreak out there'."
Whippy said a post she made about the speech on Instagram attracted so much positive feedback she showed it to Pearl.
"It's really empowered her. She hasn't even had a chance to do the spoken word yet but her teachers are 100 per cent behind her.
"Because everyone can see the bigger picture here, which is a young girl speaking her truth."
Whippy encouraged parents and other children to talk about body-shaming.
"Everywhere you look is this thing of 'You are a better person if you're thin'. It's everywhere. And it's in these kids' faces. These babies are saying that to each other.
"Pearl's had people judge her lunches before. I'm affected by it. I'm still trying to learn from it.
"I just really have to watch because I'm in a world where image is quite prominent so it's really important that what Pearl perceives through me reflects what I want her to believe in the world."