A plus-size model has revealed how she was bombarded with hateful comments and even sent death threats after sharing nearly-nude images of her 230lb frame online.
Nursing assistant, Ashleigh Atkins, 24, from the Blue Mountains, Australia, says that the hate she received after starting a ‘fat positive’ TikTok account was so severe that she decided to quit social media three times this year as the vitriol was quickly ruining her life.
The 230lb, size 16 model who frequently posts nude or semi-nude images from her photoshoots on Instagram, first got into modelling at the age of 19. Since then she has amassed a following of well over 117,000 on the social media platform.
Upset: Plus-size model Ashleigh Atkins has opened up about the horrific hatred she receives on social media, revealing she has been branded ‘fat’ and a ‘cow’ by cruel trolls
Proud: The 24-year-old, from the Blue Mountains, regularly shares images of her body online, and says the majority of comments she receives are positive
Difficult: However in recent months, she has faced an onslaught of cruel comments, with one person even telling her they wished she had cancer
She says that the majority of her followers are wonderful people who comment on her pictures telling her that she has inspired them to love their own bodies.
However, a select few trolls have caused Ashleigh intense stress and anxiety, commenting that she is too fat, damaging her health and that her stomach is disgusting.
But after a few months offline, Ashleigh is keener than ever to show that a person’s size or shape doesn’t determine their value. She says that modelling has allowed her to feel empowered and the anonymous voices of a few mean spirited individuals isn’t going to stop her from doing what she loves.
‘Our value as human beings does not decrease with weight gain or increase with weight loss. Regardless of appearance, people deserve basic human respect,’ said Ashleigh.
‘I think that while I’ve noticed a growing acceptance of bigger models since I started modelling, there is definitely still a way to go.
‘I am on the smaller end of “plus size” and I don’t face half the challenges bigger models do.
Break: Ashleigh has actually quit her social media accounts on a number of occasions after struggling to deal with the vitriol she faces
Difficulty: Although she has dealt with her fair share of cruel comments online, Ashleigh said the bullying became even worse when she joined TikTok
Hurtful: ‘I started a TikTok to create body positive content and was bombarded with hate comments about my weight, my health, the way my stomach looked,’ she said
Stepping away: Ashleigh decided to stop posting on TikTok altogether last month, and now only shares her content on Instagram and OnlyFans
‘I have noticed that even in the smaller range there is the preferred plus size shape, the hourglass.
‘I would love to see more women with different body shapes and bigger sizes hired and represented in fashion.
‘It’s taken a lot of mental work to accept that your body weight can fluctuate, but that doesn’t mean your worth does too.
‘I unfortunately had a rough time on social media recently.
‘I started a TikTok to create body positive content and was bombarded with hate comments about my weight, my health, the way my stomach looked.
‘It was intense. I had to take a little break from all social media when a troll made their way into my Instagram DMs and wished cancer on me.’
But with the support of her family, friends and her MMA fighter boyfriend of five years, Ashleigh is certain that the future will be a bright one for her.
‘In the past with ex partners there have been issues with me being out late for runways or showing my body,’ she said.
Shocking: Ashleigh revealed in a recent video posted to her Instagram that she has been told she will be ‘dead by 30’ and been accused of ‘glorifying obesity’
Support system: The model said it is the support of her family, friends, and her boyfriend that helps her to deal with the social media bullying
Fight: Ashleigh wants the fashion industry to embrace a wider range of body types, noting that even within the plus-size group, there are preferred figures
Dream: ‘I would love to see more women with different body shapes and bigger sizes hired and represented in fashion,’ she said
‘I’ve been with my boyfriend for almost five years now and he’s nothing but supportive of modelling and my social media.
‘We have a mutual respect for what each other does.’
‘The only challenge we face is that my partner can’t stand seeing trolls or hate comments on my page.
‘But my friends and family have always been so supportive of everything I do and modelling is no exception.
‘My friends have even travelled with me to shoots and my parents have attended runways and paid for test shoots when I first started.
‘There are so many lovely things that people say to me, however it has to be the comments from people who thank me for helping them improve their self esteem or body image issues.
‘Those make every hateful comments and messages worth it.’