updated 10/15/2011 AT 2:50 PM ET
•originally published 10/15/2011 AT 12:00 AM ET
Kenny Wormald is having the last laugh.
Once bullied for being a male dancer, the Footloose actor, 27, shows off his fancy footwork in one of the most anticipated movies of the season and recently performed a seductive number in front of millions on Dancing with the Stars with Julianne Hough.
“I used to get made fun of … especially growing up in Boston,” Wormald told Celebuzz. “Kids are terrible, they don’t realize how heavy words can be.”
Years later, his haters now kiss up to him.
“I go home and see those same kids and they’re congratulating me,” Wormald says. “I smile and say thanks, but I really want to throw them into a locker.”
The new Footloose opened Friday. Click here for PEOPLE’s review.