Strictly's Amy Dowden has spoken out about the harsh comments she received from a professional dancer when she started out in the profession and the impact body shaming has had on her.
The 32-year-old Strictly Come Dancing dancer suffers from Crohn's disease and takes medication for her condition, which has led to weight gain and bloating, causing the dancer to not only feel self-conscious but also have to deal with cruel comments and online trolls.
"I can remember doing a dance competition when I was about 19 or 20, I'd been on a really high dose of steroids and it bloated me a lot - and my face changed, I called it the guinea pig face. My costume was really tight."
"It took me a lot to get on the dance floor. I remember walking onto the floor and this professional dancer shouted out 'she's got a fat bottom' and a 'thick middle' - well, that's the polite way of saying it."
She went on to speak about how these jibes have stayed with her throughout her career, continuing, "That comment has stayed with me for the rest of my life and when I go on steroids, it's the first thing I hear. She didn't know what I'd been through and instead of dancing I just wanted to run off and cry."
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Amy is a champion for those with invisible illnesses and has recently launched a podcast, Amy Dowden: Body Shaming and Me, to shine a light on the long-lasting effect it can have.
In the BBC Sounds podcast, Amy speaks to other people who have invisible illnesses and who have been body shamed to ask what impact it has had on them and their coping strategies.
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She continued in the BBC interview, "Sometimes they can be ignorant or sceptical but when you get someone criticising the way you look because of your illness, it's even more hurtful.
"One in five people in the UK have a disability - and the vast majority of those are said to be invisible. Body shaming is awful whether your illness is visible or invisible. Anyone with an invisible illness will be used to getting comments."
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Lauren is the former Deputy Digital Editor at woman&home and became a journalist mainly because she enjoys being nosy. With a background in features journalism, Lauren has bylines in publications such as Marie Claire UK, Red Magazine, House of Coco, women&home, GoodTo, Woman's Own and Woman magazine.
She started writing for national papers and magazines at Medavia news agency, before landing a job in London working as a lifestyle assistant and covers everything from fashion and celebrity style to beauty and careers.
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