You might be familiar with Cassey Ho, the certified fitness instructor behind Blogilates, thanks to her fun 30-day challenges, YouTube videos, and ever-active Instagram. But this week the cheery trainer revealed the dark side of being a face of fitness and an Internet celebrity: the hurtful, body-shaming comments she receives.
Ho posted the selfie below on Instagram with the caption "Finally got my perfect body" and directed people to her YouTube channel to learn her "body slimming secrets." The photo was altered, but she didn't say so.
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Her followers were in for a big surprise. In a video of titled "The 'Perfect' Body," Ho looks at herself in the mirror, happy with her appearance (and rocking a post-workout glow). She posts a selfie. As she scrolls through her social media feeds, she starts to see mean comments. "You shouldn't give advice when you're so fat," says one. "Trainer?…really? Tone up the belly fat and love handles," writes another.
So she "edits" her body with Photoshop-like features: enhancing her butt and chest, thinning her thighs, slimming her face, and lightening her eye color.
She starts to post another selfie—this time with her new and "improved" look—and then stops. The video ends with Ho looking sadly at her reflection and fades to the words "What would you change?"
On Instagram, Ho posted a follow-up to her Photoshopped image, this time with people's comments alongside. "Still too fat," said one, while others praised this new slimmer, retouched body with comments like "goals."
Wow guys. The response on yesterday's post was moving, incredible, and shocking all at once. Thank you. I couldn't have asked for anything more. I'm happy that many of you clicked over to watch my short film when you saw my new "perfect" body. You experienced the most powerful video I have ever created. You saw me strip down my confidence and self esteem. You saw me raw. Hurt. And vulnerable. For those who haven't seen it yet, please click on the link in my bio. I wanted to post again because there was a weird phenomenon that happened when I posted this photoshopped picture. On the very same photo, I got some people praising me and others degrading me. What worries me is this: 1. That some people think this is real and that it should be "goals." 2. That some people still think it's not good enough. It's tough knowing what's real and what's not when magazine covers and music videos are photoshopped (yes, music videos), Instagram pics are photoshopped, and so many women are getting surgery. How are we to know what kind of beauty can be naturally achieved when everything around us is so deceiving? If you want to know what you can do to help stop body shaming, all I ask is that you share the video with at least 1 person. That's all. After countless days of shooting, weeks of editing, visual effects, and lots of hard work from a team of amazing people, my short film was turned into a reality. Thank you to James Chen, James Jou, and @smashboxcosmetics for helping me bring this to life. #madeatsmashbox I hope you guys liked it. I love you. Stay beautiful.
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Ho wrote in her caption that she was moved by the responses to her video, but was dismayed that some people thought this was her real body or a "goal" for them to reach. On the other hand, some others still didn't think she was thin enough.
"If you want to know what you can do to help stop body shaming, all I ask is that you share the video with at least 1 person. That's all."
With so much body shaming in the news recently (Kelly Clarkson, Pink, Iggy Azalea, and Taylor Swift, just to name a few), we're glad someone stood up to illustrate the effects of these hurtful comments. Being yourself will get you criticized—as will "fixing" your body to fit match what others think would be better. Ho showed that you can't please everyone (nor should you want to) and that being confident in your own skin is the ultimate definition of beauty.