The Love, Lust or Run host told PEOPLE about her bullying days at the Pencils of Promise Gala in New York City

By Lydia Price
Updated October 22, 2015 01:15 PM
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Credit: Ben Gabbe/Getty

Stacy London is no stranger to bullying.

The former What Not to Wear host, 46, opened up about her childhood struggles with psoriasis – and subsequent teasing – in an August episode of Love, Lust or Run.

On Wednesday, the style expert revealed to PEOPLE that being victimized actually turned her into a bully.

“I had to wrestle not just with being bullied but then with turning into a bully,” London said at the Pencils of Promise Gala Wednesday night in New York City, where she supported the non-profit that provides access to education in the developing world.

“I became like a real mean girl, which probably made me good at my job in some respects, but in others it’s not what I wanted to be.”

London explained that her bad behavior was a way of shielding herself from the pain of teasing: “It was sort of a direct reaction to being bullied and feeling so defenseless that you wind up to be – excuse the term – bitchy because you just want to protect yourself,” she said. “Sometimes you forget that you’re even being a bully when you’re being defensive.”

London says she has had friends and family throughout her life that helped put her “in check” and “rise above” the tendency to put down others when she feels threatened.

But there is one group of people the fashionista stands by criticizing. London, 46, has been vocal on Twitter about the national controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood, and she’s not backing down from politicians who seek to diminish the organization’s funding.

“There is nothing I care more about frankly than humans being tolerant and kind to other humans. Now when it comes to a woman’s body, hands off,” she said at the PoP Gala.

“I am the only person who gets to decide what happens to my body, no one else. And if that’s screwed with in any way I will take to Twitter and use curse words,” she added.

RELATED VIDEO: Stacy London Encounters a ‘Punk Barbie’ Mom on Love, Lust or Run

Love, Lust or Run

returns to TLC in January.