Many of us have been bullied online for the way we look, but blogger Nabela Noor was so shocked by the comments she received on one of her videos, she had to do something about it. She created another video, writing the horrific comments she’d read on her face, fighting back against the bullies and learning to love herself along the way. That video went viral, and changed her life forever. Now, Nabela has an incredible career, working with numerous beauty brands and walking runways in New York Fashion Week – she’s truly living her best life, and showing the bullies that their words aren’t strong enough to bring her down.
As the inspiration behind our #BlendOutBullying campaign videos, it’s so important that her story is heard. Here, she tells GLAMOUR UK how it felt to be cyberbullied, how she found her strength and what she hopes for the future.
“If I looked like you, I would kill myself.”
I remember reading this comment over and over again. It was buried in a sea of comments under one of my beauty tutorials on Instagram. “If I looked like you, I would kill myself.” This one was a new low. I’ve been told to kill myself because of how I look, have been called a waste of space for how I look, but another human being telling me that if they looked like me, they would be so appalled that they would choose not to exist at all? That was new. And it stung.
Here’s the thing – I have been bullied for my appearance for as long as I can remember. From being criticized for my weight as a young girl by my own relatives, to being called “fat” or an “elephant” in classrooms from as early as the third grade; my appearance has always been a topic of conversation. Being a figure in the public eye is no exception. I guess you can say I was training for this job since I was little because the reality is that this social media gig comes with so much bullying that it can break you if you let it.
When I post a photo of myself confidently striking a pose, I am told I am promoting obesity. Because merely existing online as a plus-sized person must mean you are promoting something harmful. There have been so many instances where I have thought, “Am I supposed to apologize for how I appear to make these people happy?”
At a certain point in my online career, the words of others began to affect me in a deeper way than ever before. It was around the time that I received comments like “If I looked like you, I would kill myself” that I knew I needed to address my bullies directly. I needed them to know that their words did not define me. I defined me. This is what birthed the video that changed my life forever.
I filmed a video writing words others have called me with a brown contour stick. I then blended those words out, and wrote with concealer “I love me.” When I posted this video, I didn’t expect millions of people to respond with so much love and support. I didn’t expect the video to launch a wave of responses and recreations. The fact that it did empower me and reminded me of the power of using your voice and standing up for what you believe in.
Blending out the cruel words others have called me did not put a stop to the bullying, but it allowed me to reclaim the control over my own body and my own self. Blending out the bullying set me free. I was no longer held captive by the words of others. I knew my truth. I knew my worth. I knew that my reflection in the mirror was beautiful and valid and deserved to be celebrated.
My biggest hope is for others to join me, because it feels great to be free.
Want to get involved in our #BlendOutBullying movement? Find out all the details here.