The teenage years are hard, you’ll be hard pressed to find someone to argue with that. But when you’re only 13-years-old, already weigh more than 200 lbs., and everyone’s mocking and bullying instead of supporting you, it’s torture.
You’d never guess it just by looking at her, but 21-year-old Joanna Joseph spent the majority of her life being mocked, not only for being the proverbial ugly duckling, but also for her weight: Her battle of the bulge started early – she was the heaviest child in her pre-school class – and by the time she was seven, she already weighed more than 130 lbs.
The teasing was merciless and nonstop, coming from all directions: her classmates, her friends, even teachers and members of her own family. With no friends or other social outlets, she fell into a major depression and withdrew into listening to music and writing in her diary.
I went through hell from the age of 12 till 16 until I decided to take matters into my own hands because I realized that if I wasn’t going to act, I’d be the same forever. I had to push myself and sacrifice a lot of things in life to get to where I stand today.
Once she reached that tipping point, it was a matter of changing her diet and lifestyle, swapping out the comfort foods for fruits and vegetables and starting an exercise regimen that had her running for two hours each day through the fields surrounding her home in Malaysia. But even then, after she’d put in all that work and dropped down to 116 lbs., the bullying still continued!
The reason why I don’t post much about my weight-loss story on Facebook is because of society … Even when I lost so much weight, everyone used to taunt me saying I took drugs and I was a “Drug addict” and more, which is why I decided to just let it go.
It’s fortunate Joanna decided to ignore the haters, because you wouldn’t believe what happened next: This “ugly duckling” won the Miss Selangor Earth title in 2016…
Then placed second in this year’s Miss India Worldwide contest…
And did we forget to mention she’s a model?
Way to go, Joanna!
In the picture above, she’s signing autographs at a recent appearance that was attended by teen girls, maybe some who’re around the same age as her when she was being bullied. She’s hoping (as are we) that by telling her story, it’ll inspire others to find the strength within themselves to make whatever changes they need to be happier and healthier.
Let me tell you guys that I felt this way at a point in life. I used to be insecure. Crazy insecure about myself. I’d never walk out without makeup, I’d make my friends delete the pictures of me which are candid because I felt I look ugly. I’ve always had this thought that society has their own perspective of girls which they find are “pretty” and “beautiful”. Which is the sad truth. They actually do. But then what makes us all unique is being yourself.
It took me a really long time to start loving myself. I’d always hate my body and my face because of what people say about me… But let me tell you this, every flaw makes you who you are today. Every scar has a story behind it which is unique.
People will love you for who you are once you start loving yourself. You see, in the end of the day it’s all about how you shine. When you are constantly positive you have a bright aura that shines bright which make people notice you and I feel that’s important because spreading positivity is something that is lacking in the world these days. It’s okay to admire other women and empower each other. But it’s never okay to put yourself down looking at another person. ☺
After all trust me, when it comes to the industry which I am in, all the pictures that are portrayed in social media aren’t as perfect as it looks. There’s a lot of editing and covering up to make a picture perfect.
You should be proud of being yourself because you are a warrior that has fought your way through. ❤
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