Kelly Osbourne knows about being a mess.
In the early-to-mid-2000s, around the time she and her family lived in the self-inflicted fishbowl called “The Osbournes,” the middle Osbourne sibling endured the fallout from drug addiction, too much partying and all of the other trappings of being young, rich and TV-famous.
But the Kelly Osbourne of today couldn’t be more different than her teenaged self.
At 27, she is both poised and endearingly shy, telling a small crowd of young adults at Usher’s World Leadership Conference, “Don’t give up on yourselves. I’m the perfect example of how you can change because I was a [screw] up.”
This is the third year for the event, presented by Usher’s New Look Foundation, a non-profit founded by the Atlanta-based R&B star to empower young people worldwide.
At the kickoff of the three-day meeting Wednesday morning in the Harland Cinema at Emory’s Goizueta Business School, Osbourne charmed the group with her 15-minute empowerment speech, giving one girl a quick hug on her way out the door.
After her speech, the tiny-waisted multi-hyphenate (she’s been a singer, author, activist and currently, a TV star again as part of the “Fashion Police” panel on E!), chatted in a side room for a few minutes about her involvement with Usher’s charity.
Though she declined not to discuss her brother Jack’s recent multiple sclerosis diagnosis – “I’d prefer not to talk about that,” she said politely – she candidly explained why she agrees to do these types of appearances, despite her stage fright.
“I know what it feels like to feel like you’re nothing,” Osbourne said. “Being the child of celebrities is a blessing and a curse. I’m proud of it, but it’s [difficult].I can share my experiences and hopefully help others.”
Osbourne said she doesn’t know Usher extremely well, that they’ve met a few times, but before she finished reading his email asking her to speak at the conference, she agreed.
“So many people have helped me along the way, I owe it to myself to share in turn,” she said, her striking gray-blue eyes widening. “This is something I truly believe in. When you look at these kids, and they’re so young, I mean, they’re the future. It doesn’t matter what you’re going to be in life. If you’re going to be a plumber, then be the best damn plumber.”
Check out more of our coverage of Usher’s Leadership Conference on The Buzz Blog.
By Melissa Ruggieri, Atlanta Music Scene