Fat Shamed & Depressed, Joanna J Almost Opted For Suicide

Tall, slim and beautiful! Joanna Joseph, 22 years old seemed like the girl who had it all. But before she made a name in the modelling world and won numerous pageants, including Miss Selangor Earth, Joanna was bullied due to her weight. But today, she’s inspiring young girls everywhere on body positivity and embracing their flaws.

Wanting to know how she dealt with bullies, suicide and weight problems, Likely sat down and got real with Joanna J.

Q: Describe yourself in 3 words. 

J: I think I’m pretty outgoing, friendly and bubbly! I enjoy talking and meeting new people because I believe everyone has their own story to share.

Q: What was the most hurtful thing a bullied has every done to you? 

J: A lot of hurtful words like “Eh, you’re so fat!” When I stand up in class, people will ask me to sit down because they can’t see the whiteboard because I’m too big. I remember during ‘merentas desa’, they’ll say, “Omg, the whole ground is shaking when you run.”

But the worst was, a day before SPM, a friend called to inform that someone had spray painted the wall with red paint and words, “Joanna, you’re so fat, you’re a prostitute.” The school even blamed me and said it’s my fault that someone did this.

Q: How did that affect you growing up? 

J: It definitely took a toll on me. I had no one to talk to as I was the only child in the family. Some of my friends, pushed me away and talked behind my back. I got into depression and the only way out was writing in my diary along with music.

Q: If you could revisit your bullies, what would you tell them? 

J: Thank you! I believe that if they hadn’t bullied me, I wouldn’t have gotten the drive to be who I am today.

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I was looking back at my old pictures and I came across a picture of me and my mum when I was little. Not sure how old the picture was but I knew it was my first trip to Pulau Ketam. This picture put a smile on my face because I realised that I have indeed come a long way from who I was to who I am today. Growing up I used to be that girl who was in her own world. Never really cared about anyone. I was complacent with my size and I was happy because I could eat and nobody would judge. As I grew up all of that changed. I started becoming envious of other girls because they were beautiful and I felt that I could never match up to their standards. I tried being like them by fitting into the latest fashion trends but it didn’t work. I never really had the motivation to diet and workout before. Even if I did it lasted for a very short while. But one day I decided to keep going although the results in weight loss were slow. Despite not having a gym trainer, or access to a gym, despite not having a nutritionist to guide me, the Internet was my best friend and my gym trainer was my dad because he gave me all the motivation I ever needed to keep pushing when I felt enough was enough. I didn’t need to have a bunch of friends by my side. All I needed was myself and my dad. And I did it. The journey wasn’t easy. It was one of the hardest parts of my life. But the result was so so worth it. If your goal this year is to lose weight, go for it and never back down. Quit with the excuses and get back up stronger. If I can, what is stopping you? #training #follow #lifestyle #proteins #weightlossjourney #weightlosstransformation #abs #love #fitspo #nutrition #inspiration #healthylifestyle #fitnessmodel #cardio #model #fitlife #aesthetic #strong #diet #instafit #instagood #work #followme #success #fatloss #fitnessjourney #athlete #getfit

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Q: Have you ever felt like giving up on life? 

J: Yes, multiple times even till’ today. People see me as a successful person, but as humans, there’s always a new problem to face. I’ve felt like giving up and dissappearing though life doesn’t really work that way – so when life knocks you down, you just have to get back up.

Q: You fell into depression, what sparked the change? 

J: I fell into depression, mainly because of the people around me and what they made me to believe I was. They used to tell me I’m fat, how I’ll never change and I’ll never be successful in life. All of that just got instilled in my head. At one point in life, I felt the need to do something or I might end up doing something stupid like suicide. I researched on how to lose weight, got some positive vibes and slowly it worked out with the help of my family members.

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Always would like to remind my ladies out there to love yourselves and never put yourselves down in any way. We are all unique in our own different ways and there is only one person that can be you which is YOU. ❤️ I’ve failed to do that all my life growing up, because there was nobody to guide me. I started to hate myself because of all the comments people threw at me. I believed every single word of it. I looked down on myself. On my size. On my hair. My body. My face. I felt I was ugly. I felt that nobody would even look at me or would want to be friends with me genuinely. I started self harming myself because I felt I deserve every ounce of hate. I attempted suicide multiples of times because I felt that I didn’t deserve to even live and nothing would ever change. It was going to be the same miserable life for me until the end. And there came a day where I realised that if I wanted to see changes I needed to be the change. And there wasn’t any harm in trying to change for the better. You don’t need anyone else by your side. You only need you. ❤️ Sending so much of light and positivity to all my followers! You got this and 2019 is your year! Be the change and inspire because many out there need YOU to be the light in their life. Start today 🌙 #motivation #fitfam #fitspo #inspire #youcandoit #justbringit #dreambig #staypostitive #noexcuses #loveyourself #dedication #pushpull #focus #grind #strongwomen #girlpower #womanempowerment #newyear #confidence

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Q: How long did it take for you to embrace your stretch marks? 

J: I already had stretch marks when I was still big, but it became more visible after I lost weight. To the point that it looked like I gave birth to 5 kids. My stretch marks are like tiger stripes! It did bother me because when I wore sleeveless, people would question me on my stretch marks. It made me to realise that it was proof of me losing weight.

Q: How can women empower each other in these situations that you’ve faced? 

J: Women can support one another regardless of size and colour. There’s so much of discrimination nowadays on weight and colour. I see women pushing each other down to bring themselves up. We should love, embrace each other and maybe compliment each other more.

Q: What’s next for you? 

J: I’ll still have to finish my studies while modelling part-time.This year, I’ve started acting in a few music videos – that’s new for me! After degree, I plan to fly to Los Angeles to start something new there.