Leah Stanley, 29, from New York is a size 28 who was bullied since she was young. Focusing on the positives, she turned her life around and became a successful plus-size model and fashion blogger.
Stanley has learned not to listen to the negative comments from internet trolls and has since learned to embrace her body.
Since starting her Instagram account, Stanley earned over 92,000 followers and counting.
She has been using the platform to encourage other women to love their curves since she never had any plus-size model to look up to when she was growing up.
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Talking about her bullies, Stanley shared, “I've received countless comments and messages regarding my health, lifestyle, and life overall. I've been told I should kill myself, that I should learn to stop eating or that I'm unhealthy and only promoting an unhealthy lifestyle.”
Stanley admitted that she does have her off days where she lets the nasty comments get to her. Still, she tries her hardest to remain positive and encourage other plus-size women not to let their weight define who they are.
Afterward, she also opened up about her dating life and said, “During school, I never really had a high school boyfriend and boys never looked at me growing up. Nowadays it's the opposite. A lot of guys want a plus-size babe - and if they say they don't, they probably secretly do.”
Stanley expressed how modeling has helped her bring up her self-esteem. Since becoming a fashion icon, she learned to love the parts of her body that she once felt ashamed of.
“I always struggled with my arms and thighs, so it wasn't until recent years that I started to ditch cardigans and wear shorts at the beach,” she explained.
Now, Stanley goes all out and wears bikinis at the beach and models in lingerie. She said that the key is giving yourself a pep talk to remind yourself that other people’s opinions don’t matter.
In the end, Stanley said all she wants is to promote “love and respect.” She also wants to be a good influence on people and “to break the standards.”
She said, “Growing up, I didn't have a positive plus-size role model to look up to. It's really important to be that person - not just for women and young girls - but anyone out there who needs it.”
“Bodies like mine need to be seen and accepted,” Stanley added.
Talking about what makes her feel her sexiest, Stanley said her secret is her “attitude and personality.”
Some of the most famous plus-size models like Ashley Graham, Tara Lyn, Robyn Lawley, Marquita Pring, Sophie Dahl, and Tess Holliday shared their stories.
Graham was only 12 years old when she was discovered to be a model. Meanwhile, Lynn was always conscious of her body, and she only learned to love her figure when she reached college.