Being bullied can have devastating effects on most people. However, one ugly duckling decided to rise above the abuse and come up on top. Joanna Joseph went from being overweight in high school to a gorgeous beauty queen in just a few short years. The Malaysian stunner is now sharing her success story to inspire young people.
Joanna Joseph had a difficult childhood. As a young girl, she struggled with bullies who constantly teased her about being overweight. Joanna dealt with the abuse until high school before she decided that she would no longer be an ugly duckling.
Joanna and her family didn’t realize that she was getting obese until it was too late.
As an only child born to a loving family, Joanna said she “grew up eating” and that she “could eat five plates of rice in one go.” This led to her weight ballooning to 60 kg when she was only seven years old, making her “the fattest [child] in preschool.”
She was at her heaviest (104 kg) at only 13 years old.
According to Joanna, the bullying began from her own friends and “got worst in high school.” Unfortunately, there was no support from anyone in her own school.
“My teachers would taunt me and so would my own friends,” she said. “I fell into depression because of that and I had no friends to talk to. I only had my diary and music to keep me sane in school.”
Joanna credits her beloved father, music, and pop idol Justin Bieber as the inspiration behind her transformation.
Things changed when Joanna turned 15. This was when the TESL student decided that she “had enough of all the bullying” and was ready to take control of her weight.
“My main motivation were those who bullied me and the urge to prove them wrong that a fat person can go slim if they wanted to,” she said.
Joanna admits cutting down on her favorite food in favor of "vegetables and fruits, brown carbo, protein and such"
“I worked out for two hours everyday at home and jogging in the field during the evening.”
The young beauty queen has an interesting message for bullies.
“I believe that bullies always feel insecure about themselves hence they bully other people to feel better.”
“Instead love yourselves and aim to inspire.”
It took around three to six months of dieting and exercising to see the changes but Joanna’s hard work certainly paid off. After she “dropped from 104 kg to 53 kg, she was crowned Miss Selangor Earth 2016. She immediately shared her transformation story with the world.
“For those who want to lose weight all you need is determination and will power,” Joanna says.
Joanna made sure people were aware of her past and aimed to empower anyone who were and still are struggling with bullying. Not surprisingly, the 21-year-old model decided that the best way to help other people was to write a book about her story.
Her message to weight watchers: "Thinking of those who mocked you definitely helps in pushing you forward."
“Keep going and always look for the end results.”
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