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Size 24 woman who was branded ‘fatzella’ by her own brother and spent years being tortured by bullies over her weight earns viral fame by flaunting her curves in bikinis while hitting back at cruel fat-shamers
- Sam Paige, 25, from Florida, began struggling with her weight when she was a child, and she was even put on a diet by her parents at age 11
- Her own brother Noah called her ‘fatzella’ and she was regularly tormented by boys in high school, who branded her a ‘cow’ and a ‘whale’
- Sam was unable to wear the same clothing brands as her friends in college because she couldn’t find bikinis, jeans, and crop tops in her size
- Her confidence was boosted when she visited the trendy clothing chain Forever 21 and purchased a flattering bikini in 2015
- Five years later, a video of her dancing in a bikini went viral on TikTok
- Sam now has over two million followers on the platform thanks to her ‘body positive’ content, which she hopes will inspire others to embrace their bodies
A size 24 woman who was branded ‘fatzella’ by her own brother and put on a diet by her parents when she was just 11 has revealed how she learned to embrace her natural curves, while proudly flaunting her body in a bikini to hit back at fat-shamers.
Content creator Sam Paige, 25, from Florida, grew up as the ‘big girl’ of her family and was given food restrictions when she was just 11 years old by her parents Paula, 55, and David, 55.
‘I grew up as the big girl and have had to learn my whole life how to love my body,’ Sam said. ‘I started dancing when I was five years old and as I was the big girl, I had to work a lot harder on faking my comfortability within my body.
Influencer: Sam Paige, 25, from Florida, has more than two million followers on TikTok thanks to her body-positive videos
Take that: The size 24 proudly showed off her body in bikinis while hitting back at fat-shamers
Looking back: Sam began struggling with her weight when she was a child. ‘I grew up as the big girl and have had to learn my whole life how to love my body,’ she explained
Concerned about her weight, her parents told her that she needed to be more aware of what she put in her mouth – although she insists that her mom and dad never made any negative comments about her size.
‘Generally, I felt fine about myself but when I was 11 years old, I was put on food restrictions and told by my parents that I needed to be more aware of what I put in my mouth due to my size,’ she said.
‘Despite this, my mom never made me feel bad about my body and always went shopping with me to find outfits that fitted me well, rather than getting fixated on the dress size.
‘As a family, we always tried to make healthier choices together and my parents helped me from a place of love and care where they never judged me for what I wore and how I looked.’
At school, however, Sam faced constant torment from her peers, particularly boys in high school who would mock her because of her weight.
‘During school, I was often bullied for my size where the boys in my class used to call me names such as “cow” and “whale” and even sometimes just laughed at me and asked why I was so fat,’ she recalled.
‘I think they did this to keep me quiet because they knew it would make me shut up and cry. Even my own brother used to call me names such as ‘fatzella’ which really hurt and I started to feel bad about my body.’
Sam also remembers a particularly humiliating experience that occurred when she was on a class trip in Peru in college.
‘We went to this waterfall and like most people do when it’s hot, we went into the water,’ she explained. ‘I was wearing a bathing suit and these two girls approached me asking to take a picture with their two male friends.
‘In the moment, I thought it was rather weird but after they took the photo, they immediately started laughing at me and the way I looked.
‘I started crying, but I made sure to voice to them about how cruel they were being and how they shouldn’t shame someone for the way they look.’
Sam said she always wanted to wear the same clothing styles and brands as her friends, but she could never find bikinis, jeans, or crop tops in her size.
‘There were no two-piece bikinis in my size, only ugly tankinis. Hollister only went to a size large and I’ve been an extra-large for most of my life,’ she said.
Hurtful: Sam recalled how to guys took a photo with her when she was swimming in Peru during a college trip and then made fun of her after
Feeling left out: Sam said she always wanted to wear the same clothing styles and brands as her friends, but she could never find bikinis, jeans, or crop tops in her size
Bad memories: ‘There were no two-piece bikinis in my size, only ugly tankinis. Hollister only went to a size large and I’ve been an extra-large for most of my life,’ she said
‘Jeans stopped at a size twelve when I was a size sixteen, and it made me feel so sad that I couldn’t wear crop tops and pretty jeans from the popular brands like everyone else.’
Sam desperately wanted to fit in, so she started purchasing men’s hoodies just so she would be wearing the same clothing brands as her friends.
However, that all changed when she visited the clothing chain Forever 21 in 2015 and purchased a flattering bikini her size.
‘This was the first “trendy” shop that offered sizes up to triple extra-large, and after I saw myself in the bikini, my confidence was boosted,’ she said.
‘I actually feel weird wearing a one-piece now, because I’m so comfortable in a bikini and although I’ve never personally hated how I looked, I definitely started to appreciate my body more after this.
She added: ‘Now, I love showing off my body and I don’t care if people stare at me anymore, as I’ll never see them again.’
Sam advocates for self-love each day by putting on clothes that make her feel good, even if it’s not what other people think a ‘fat’ girl should be wearing.
Feeling good: Sam’s confidence was boosted when she visited the trendy clothing chain Forever 21 and purchased a flattering bikini in her size in 2015
Confident: Sam said she wears clothes that make her feel good, even if it’s not what other people think a ‘fat’ girl should be wearing
Proud: ‘I show my body for what it is – jiggly cellulite and all,’ Sam said
In April 2020, she posted a video of herself dancing in a bikini on TikTok, which gained over 40,000 views within a few hours.
‘I’ve had people comment, “I wish I had your confidence” on my videos, which I try to take as a compliment, as I know most of my followers are saying it with good intentions,’ she said.
‘I show my body for what it is – jiggly cellulite and all. It’s been hard not caring about what others think about me and having people’s words control my feelings, but I hope to continue to be an inspiration to women to embrace their bodies just like me.’
Since then, she has racked up over two million followers on the platform thanks to her ‘body positive’ content, which she hopes will inspire other women to embrace their bodies.
‘I have been described as confident for most of my life, where people think of me as the loud, outgoing big girl. I didn’t really notice that other people weren’t as confident as me until I started to gain a following online,’ she explained.
Sam said embracing her body is important to her because she used to devote so much time and energy to thinking about how she could be skinnier.
‘Big people should be able to go out and live their lives like everyone else – I don’t want to stop doing things I love because I’m afraid of what others might think, she said.
Going viral: In April 2020, she posted a video of herself dancing in a bikini on TikTok, which gained over 40,000 views within a few hours
Online star: Sam now has over two million followers on the platform thanks to her ‘body positive’ content, which she hopes will inspire others to embrace their bodies
Model: Sam recently scored a brand deal with Shein Curve after a video of her wearing one of the brand’s bikinis went viral, scoring more than a million views
‘I do what makes me happy in the body I’m currently in and loving my body is way easier than hating it every day.’
She’s recently scored a brand deal with Shein Curve after a video of her wearing one of the brand’s bikinis went viral, scoring more than a million views.
‘They allowed me to pick three articles of clothing for free, which I was super excited about especially as they’re a brand who make trendy, affordable, plus size clothing,’ she said.
‘I think the plus-size fashion industry has definitely grown, but not anywhere near to how it could be. It’s sad that I could name on one hand the stores that I’m able to physically go to and find something in my size.’
Sam feels her body is ‘sexy and beautiful,’ which is why she doesn’t care what critics think.
‘I know that not everyone likes curvy girls, but when you find someone who really likes you for who you are, they’ll never comment on your weight and I don’t have to settle for anyone,’ she said.
‘Stop caring about what others think of you and how you look, as you’re dressing for yourself only. It’s all about loving yourself and as long as you do that, nothing or anyone should bring you down.’
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