CHENNAI: Actress Iswarya Menon, one of the Tamil cinema's rising stars, has opened up about how she was body-shamed as a child for being fat and how she shut up her critics by emerging as an actress who is admired as much for her thespian skills as she is for her fitness.
Taking to Instagram, Iswarya wrote, "I wanna put out my personal story here, rather than putting some random caption or quotes...
"My journey with fitness has been very personal. I used to be really fat as a kid. Back in school, I was constantly ridiculed and identified as the 'girl who is fat and looks round like a maida ball' and many horribly mean things'.
"People used to always make fun of me, laugh at me. It always annoyed me, because I didn't want to be identified, recognised like that.
"In modern terms right now, we call it bullying. But back then, I used to be super naive and innocent and I have never reacted to it. I used to always smile and go away.
"But in my head, I told myself no! I am not going to be identified as 'fat'. That's when things changed and that's how my fitness journey started. I started working out from the age of 16.
"I took every ridicule as constructive criticism and worked out so hard ever since. Tried every stupid diet on the planet to become thin!
"There was a phase of my life where I shocked my genes and had become skinny in fact. Later I realised, no, I don't wanna impress others, I don't wanna be thin. I wanna be healthy and I wanna be fit on my own terms.
"Hence, I started working out, not to become skinny, but to become fit. Now fitness has become my lifestyle. I am so thankful to those who ridiculed me. If they hadn't put me down and insulted me like that, I would have never been this fit or taken fitness this seriously. My sincere gratitude to them."