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Woman Bullied By Body-Shaming Trolls For 'Squashing' Her Fiancé Gets The Last Laugh After Landing Modeling Gig

PA Real Life/Collect

An 252 pound woman told she “shouldn't be able to reproduce" because of her weight has hit back at trolls by posing naked on social media – landing a modeling gig in the process.


Now 24, Abyie Polder was just 15 when she was diagnosed with lipoedema – an abnormal build-up of fat cells in the legs, thighs, buttocks and arms.

Desperately self-conscious, she spent years hiding her larger frame, cropping the photos she posted online so she was only visible from the shoulders up.

Then, buoyed by the body positivity movement, the customer service adviser, of Telford, Shropshire, had an “epiphany" and, in summer 2018, decided to bare all on Instagram, uploading a candid photo of herself holding a sign saying, 'My body, my rules.'

Buoyed by the body positivity movement, Abyie decided to bare all on Instagram, uploading a candid photo of herself holding a sign saying, 'My body, my rules.'

Soon gathering attention online, the powerful snap saw her follower count “blow up" overnight – though amongst the positive responses were cruel comments, asking how her fiancé, warehouse operator Jack Gooch, 27, “survives without being squashed."

Abyie with her fiancee, Jack (PA Real Life/Collect)

Now, she is using her platform to fight the stigma surrounding plus size women.

Abyie, who met Jack through the dating app Tinder two years ago, said: “I spent years hiding who I really was from the world because of what other people had told me about what qualifies as beautiful

“One day I woke up and those falsehoods were gone. So, of course, I did what anyone else would have done and uploaded a nude photo to Instagram."

Abyie is a proud size 24 (PA Real Life/Collect)

“That led to trolls calling me fat and disgusting. They'd comment on photos of Jack and I together, too, saying what an odd-looking couple we are, or asking, 'How does he survive? How is he not squashed?'" she continued.

“But Jack lives by the same philosophy as me – how we look isn't who we are. What's on the outside is just a shell and he loves me for me."

Growing up, Abyie always felt she stood out because of her larger frame.

By the time she started secondary school aged 11, she was noticeably bigger than her classmates, especially around her thighs.

Explaining how her size made her a target for bullies, she said: “Of course I wasn't the only one that noticed – the rest of the school did too.

“One name that always stood out was 'Flabby Abby' – it particularly hurt."

Abyie posts body positive photos to social media (PA Real Life/Collect)

“Boys would pretend to ask me out on a date, and if I'd accept, they'd turn around and say, 'Only joking – you're too fat,'" she added.

Desperate to slim down, Abyie tried several “fad diets" in her teens – but nothing seemed to work.

Then, aged 15, she decided to broach the topic with her doctor during an appointment regarding an unrelated skin problem, and was shocked to be diagnosed with lipoedema.

Abyie posts body positive photos to social media (PA Real Life/Collect)

According to the NHS, the condition usually only affects women, and sees areas of the body becoming enlarged, as well as bruising easily and feeling painful and tender.

Some sufferers – like Abyie – are also prone to fluid retention in their legs.

“I was actually visiting the GP about eczema, but part of me just knew there had to be more to my weight gain," she recalled.

“He asked about my diet, took a look at my legs and said I had a condition called lipoedema," she continued.

“Obviously it came as a shock, but in a way it gave me a feeling of validation.

“When you're bullied over your weight it's so easy to think it's your fault – that you shouldn't have eaten that doughnut. But once I knew why, it felt like a sense of responsibility I'd had was lifted."

Abyie posts body positive photos to social media (PA Real Life/Collect)

From there, Abyie, who was warned by doctors that her condition could progress, was taught self-management techniques, like therapeutic massage, to help naturally drain fluid from her legs.

She also ditched her cycle of yo-yo dieting, and followed a healthy, balanced eating regime instead.

“It's hard because there is no cure for the condition so in a way you feel helpless," she continued. “But I started to treat myself better, eating a healthy, well-balanced diet instead of the latest crash diet."

Abyie is happy with her 18 stone weight (PA Real Life/Collect)

Although her diagnosis helped ease the feelings of responsibility she had been tormented by, Abyie who, at 5ft 8in has a body mass index – used as a gauge of healthy weight – of 38.6, compared to the NHS recommended range of between 18.5 and 25, continued to either hide away from the camera altogether, or manipulate her photos to make herself appear slimmer.

“People in my generation have grown up with social media, so there was no way I wasn't going to get involved," she said.

“But I was very careful about what I uploaded and how I shared it. I would never ever do a full-length photo and I'd always crop out my body from the shoulders down.

“I'd drown myself in baggy clothes and wear nothing but black," she added.

Although she believes that scrolling through heavily filtered Instagram posts skewed her idea of what beauty standards should be, it was on the same photo sharing site that she first came across the body positivity movement.

She continued: “Social media really is a double-edged sword, it can be so detrimental to your self-image if you follow the wrong pages but, on the other hand, it can also open your eyes to whole different communities and movements."

Abyie is happy with her 18 stone weight (PA Real Life/Collect)

“That's exactly what happened to me. Once I discovered the body positivity movement my whole Instagram was full of plus sized women, people of different ages and races, all embracing their natural beauty – which is in everyone one," she added.

Last summer, Abyie decided to take the plunge and join the movement she had been closely following by posting her own body positive photo – completely starkers.

“It really was a light bulb moment," she explained. “I woke up one day and the idea came to me."

Abyie is a proud size 24 (PA Real Life/Collect)

“It didn't take long to set up the photo and Jack played the photographer," she continued.

“After taking a few different shots, I uploaded one, explaining why I was posting it, and added a few hashtags. Like #bodypositivity and #chubrubclub.

“In about 24 hours, I went from having a few hundred followers to a few thousand."

“Of course it was completely nerve-wracking but it marked the next of my life," she added.

Abyie's influx of new followers rushed to applaud her for her candid post – which gave her the encouragement to continue uploading body confident photos whenever she could.

Sadly, she also receives attention from online trolls, who call her nasty names and post sneering comments on her Instagram page.

Abyie is a proud size 24 (PA Real Life/Collect)

She said: “There are trolls and keyboard warriors who like to tell me that I'm fat and disgusting.

“I've even been told I shouldn't be able to reproduce – you hear the most disgusting things.

“But you have to build up a wall and remind yourself what it's all for, which is to break those hang ups in the first place."

Abyie is a proud size 24 (PA Real Life/Collect)

In February 2019, Abyie was contacted by fashion brand Pink Clove to showcase a handful of their outfits.

Jumping at the chance, she agreed, and now regularly models for their Instagram page, as well as for the brand Unique 21.

Next, she hopes to get involved with some more “mainstream" brands, such as Boohoo and River Island.

The photo that changed Abyie's life forever (PA Real Life/Collect)

She concluded: “It's so great being a part of the shift in how woman and their bodies are perceived – especially by big brands.

“I'm so glad that I decided to embrace my figure and to show other girls out there that they can be beautiful, and in a social media age they're still accepted."