When Ameni Esseibi, has something to say, she lets the world know. As the region's first curvy model, walking for countless designers at Fashion Forward, popping up in all sorts of campaigns, and constantly reminding her 35k Instagram followers of their worth, she is, without a doubt, a trailblazer in the body positivity movement.
So why is it, then, that the keyboard warriors of social media are so quick to tear her down? Why is being a beacon of body confidence still being met with trolling comments and hate speech?
We spoke to the former Cosmo cover star about the pressures of being a role model, and that photo that sparked hundreds of haters.
Cosmopolitan Middle East: Tell us about this picture that spurred so many negative comments [above]...
Ameni Esseibi: The initial idea was that Danae Mercer and I would take a picture together to show that cellulite, stretch marks, love handles are normal. That health is not defined by a number (your weight), and that all body types are beautiful and should be accepted.
Cosmo ME: You received some trolls – what did they say?
AE: I received all kind of comments like “you should lose some weight”, “whale go back to the sea”, “stop supporting obesity", “you should start working out”, “stop making obese people famous” and a lot of other things...
Cosmo ME: And Danae didn't receive any...?
AE: Danae barely receive any backlash. Because her body is “approved” by society, unlike mine. I received 99% of the hate comments because my body is still not “approved” by society. I see a huge difference in the way that people address "skinny" bodies and curvy bodies.
Cosmo ME: You must have grown a pretty thick skin over the years. Do these comments still affect you?
AE: Of course they did. I’m a human with a heart and feelings. The messages I receive are really intense and no one deserves to hear such atrocities.
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After my recent post about the hate comments I receive. I want re-share this video I did last year. Showing all my haters the words they should use instead of hating because love always wins . ———————————————— How many words do you speak in a day? More importantly, are you aware of their great impact on yourself and those around you? Words can be one of the deadliest weapons one can wield, they also can be used as a balm to inspire, liberate, encourage and heal. Not every thought needs to be spoken, and certainly shouldn't be, but so many of us struggle with saying the wrong thing and then quickly regretting it. Cyber bullying is bullying. Hiding behind a screen doesn’t make it any less hateful. Don’t forget no one heals themself by wounding another. School administrators can’t say it’s up to the parents. Parents can’t say it’s up to the teachers. Teachers can’t say it’s not their job. And kids can’t say, “I was too afraid to tell.” Every single one of us has to play our role if we’re serious about putting an end to the madness. We are all responsible. We must be. No one deserves for a second to feel worthless in this world . Never give anyone the ability to bring you down or allow you to think that you are not good enough. Each and every one of us were placed on this earth with a purpose. Do not be afraid to be yourself because that is what it makes you special. ————————————————————— كم عدد الكلمات التي تتحدثها في يوم واحد؟ الأهم من ذلك ، هل أنت على علم بتأثيرها الكبير على نفسك وعلى من حولك؟ يمكن أن تكون الكلمات واحدة من أخطر الأسلحة التي يمكن للمرء أن يمتلكها ، كما يمكن استخدامها كبلسم لإلهام وتحرير وتشجيع والشفاء. لا يجب التحدث عن كل فكرة ، وبالتأكيد يجب ألا تكون كذلك ، لكن الكثير منا يناضل من أجل قول الشيء الخطأ ثم نأسف له بسرعة. سايبر البلطجة هو البلطجة. الاختباء وراء شاشة لا يجعلها أقل كراهية. لا تنسى أن لا أحد يشفي نفسه بجرح آخر. لا يمكن لمسؤولي المدارس القول إن الأمر متروك للوالدين. لا يمكن للآباء قول الأمر متروك للمعلمين. لا يمكن للمعلمين أن يقولوا إنها ليست وظيفتهم. ولا يمكن للأطفال القول: "كنت خائفًا جدًا من أن أخبرني". على كل واحد منا أن يلعب دورنا إذا كنا جادين في وضع حد للجنون. نحن جميعا مسؤولون. يجب أن نكون. لا أحد يستحق أن تش
Cosmo ME: So how do you cope with them?
AE: I try finding the positive in them. A normal person with a normal mindset wouldn’t say such things, therefore, the people who are hating on me clearly have their own issues, their own insecurities and their own problems. I also take it as a sign of success; when the hate starts rolling in that means I’m on the right track. It also reminds why I started my career.
Cosmo ME: What does that mean for you moving forward?
AE: Thank God I have a strong personality with an amazing support system. I have a goal and responsibilities as the first curvy model of the Middle East; I am the voice of all the younger generation of people who got bullied and have insecurities and confidence issues. I am going to start posting social media content that teaches people how to deal with hate comments, how to overcome them and continue spreading me message and awareness as I used too.
Cosmo ME: If you could send one message to your haters, what would it be?
AE: Thank you for showing me my real value and my self worth.
"Can we please stop talking about weight loss during a pandemic?"
Press play to listen to Ameni Esseiba and Danae Mercer on Cosmo's Big Beauty Broadcast.