Woman Called 'Ugly' Her Entire Life Is Trying To Help Others Better Themselves But Keeps Getting Insulted Online

She's been called ugly her entire life and now she's getting trolled — and refusing to let it stop her.

woman being trolled online after being called ugly her entire life SB Arts Media / Shutterstock

The internet is a very weird place — for all the good it's capable of, it also brings out the absolute worst in us.

One woman on TikTok is the perfect example of this frustrating dichotomy, a person who's trying to bring positivity to the world and keeps getting abuse in return. But to her credit, and to all of our benefit, she is refusing to let it slow her down. 

A woman who has been called ugly her entire life is now being mercilessly trolled online for not fitting the mold of a fitness instructor.

Norah, known on TikTok as @wellnessbynorah, is a Canadian pilates instructor with a massive following of more than a million users who love her positivity and helpful content for issues like pain management.


But she's also pulled in scores of viewers who feel alienated by fitness culture and the fitness industry, or just our culture in general, who feel validated by the fact that Norah doesn't fit the usual mold of a pilates instructor, and refuses to let it stop her.



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She's not wispy and rail thin like the women in Lululemon ads, or all the myriad other fitness influencers on TikTok and Instagram. She is a person with a normal woman's body, a body far more common than the type we, as a culture, consider "worthy" of a career in the fitness industry — or anything else for that matter.

That notion and those standards are, of course, retrograde, absurd and unseemly, and they stem from what has long been fitness culture's biggest problem: diluting "fitness," a measure of things like lung capacity, strength and flexibility, down to something that has nothing to do with fitness in the first place: physical appearance.

The hyperfocus on how fitness can, if you're lucky, make you look has eclipsed all the other benefits so that physical appearance becomes both the lure to get fit and, probably even more commonly, the impediment to doing so. Many of us can't bear to set foot in a gym or a pilates class because we know we will stick out for being "too fat" or "too scrawny."

It also drags a lot of us back in time to the middle school locker room or high school gym class or sidewalks where we've been heckled and humiliated for our bodies by people who learned early on that their genetic blessings hold a sick and often devastating power over others. So we go a step further, disconnecting from our bodies entirely.


Many never learn how to get back inside them ever again. Norah is working to push against this, for others' good as well as her own.



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Norah is determined to be a force for inclusion and positivity in the fitness world, and she's refusing to let the trolls stop her from doing so.

Instead of allowing her to do her work and simply exist in the body she's comfortable with, Norah has been subjected to wave after wave of absolute ugliness.


She's been called fat. She's been called ugly. She's been told to "lose some [expletive] weight." She's been told she obviously doesn't know anything about pilates because of how she looks. And recently, the trolls even took things several steps further, reporting her account for so many fake violations that TikTok deleted it for a time.



Thankfully, it has since been restored. But rather than do what many of us would do and pack it in to protect her own heart, she has become even more outspoken about the change she wants to bring, and even more defiant about doing it.



"Okay, I get it, I'm a fat, ugly pilates teacher, I've heard this from the moment I opened the TikTok app," she said to one of her trolls in a recent video before cutting right to the chase. "And that might deter most people. But not everybody."




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And she's been outspoken about what the trolling she receives actually means. "I’m an unattractive, fat, disabled, successful Pilates instructor, and people really don’t like that about me," she wrote in a recent video caption. "They don’t like that I don’t hate myself. They don’t like that I have claimed space in the world."

Anyone who is marginalized in any way will instantly know exactly what she's talking about. 

I have, and always have had, a complicated relationship to my body. It is the location of several traumas, for one, and was a constant source of ridicule and humiliation for the entirety of my upbringing.


And as an adult, it ended up being the cause of one of my life's most painful whiplashes—finally coming out to join what I was told was my "community," only to be cast aside because of my body. Too fat to be hot, too thin to be fetishized.

I'll own that I took it too much to heart and let it shrink me. I didn't know how else to respond, so I decided to vacate my body and live in my head, where at least I knew how to make people laugh. I know better now, of course, and I am slowly relearning how to inhabit my body again.

But I still think about it every day, every time I walk into a room, and certainly every time I think about finally going back to the gym, or a yoga class, and repairing what illness and aging and stress and quarantine and all the other "life stuff" has done to my body in recent years, which the world insists I'm supposed to apologize for.

My point is, thank God for the Norahs — that they're strong enough to stand up for themselves and keep going, because there's a lot of us out here who aren't. One day, Norah's trolls will thank her for it, too, because everyone goes saggy, or wrinkly, or hairless, or tubby, or all of the above eventually. It's part of the deal.


If her trolls are lucky, though, people like Norah will have changed things enough that by the time they reach the moment when their looks no longer hold sway, and they realize they never made the effort to cultivate anything else to give to the world, that world will still be willing to welcome them, and give them space. Even though they no longer look the part. 

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.