Speaking to Jack Vidgen, Paulini said the Black Lives Matter protests across the world stirred up a lot of memories - especially from primary school - where she was regularly bullied for being black.
“My primary school experience was disgusting,” she said, adding that it wasn’t just the kids in school that would bully her but their parents and the teachers in the school.
“I remember one time so clearly,” Paulini said remembering one instance where someone in her class attacked her unprovoked.
”I was having lunch and I was sitting on my own and basically he walked up to me and he spat on my sandwich,” she said, adding, “I would just get picked on every day.”
Paulini was just four-years-old when she, her siblings, and her father moved from Fiji to Sydney where her mum had been working as a nurse for two years. The family initially lived in Randwick before moving to Sydney’s South-West.
Paulini said her time at primary school was a “traumatising” time, full of racist accusations and bullying.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever really dealt with it,” she later said in the Tok Tokkie.
“I don’t think I have because I feel like maybe it has a lot to do with how I am now,” she continued, admitting that she believed the racist bullying is partly why she Is as shy and reserved as an adult.
“It’s funny, when you’re in the jungle and you’re spending a lot of time with yourself, you start realising maybe some of the things that have happened to you kind of make you who you are today and make you react to certain things the way you do because of the hard things that you went through when you were a kid.”
After her time on Australian Idol, Paulini said the school reached out to her inviting her to appear and speak to some of the students there.
“I was like no way in the world would I ever step foot in that school,” she told Jack. “That’s how bad the whole experience was for me.
Last week, Travis Varcoe opened up to Grant Denyer about his experiences of racism while playing AFL admitting that he wouldn’t want to bring his children to a game due to the insults fans would hurl at the players.
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