People Magazine
August 08, 2017 10:00 am
Getty Images/James Devaney

Halle Berry‘s timeless beauty has helped made her one of the most sought-after actresses in Hollywood, but her appearance—and the heritage it came from—didn’t always make things easy for the Kidnap star.

Sitting down for The Jess Cagle Interview with PEOPLE’s editor-in-chief to talk about her latest film, Kidnap, an action-packed thriller about a mother’s mission to save a child snatched before her eyes, the Oscar winner, 50, opened up about what it was like growing up biracial in an all-white school.

Related article: Halle Berry talks new movie Kidnap — and how she once lost her daughter in a department store

Although she and her sister spent their earliest years in Cleveland’s inner city, her mother moved them out to the suburbs after observing the conditions in the schools. “She was so horrified by what she saw at the school, the violence, and all of a sudden it hit her … So, she moved us out of that neighborhood … and while we got taken out of imminent danger, we also got taken out of what was normal for us, and now all of a sudden, we were in an all-white school with all-white kids, like 3 out of 2500 students,” Berry explains.

Related article: Watch: Halle Berry reveals what Malia Obama was really like as a production assistant

The X-Men actress says she was bullied “because of the color of my skin.”

And succeed she did. The young Berry ended up an honor student, cheerleader, in addition to being “editor of the newspaper, class president, the mascot” before becoming the star she is today.

Kidnap is in theaters now.