16-year-old Dutch-Australian, Natalia Siam is a happy and confident young woman, who loves modeling and fashion. But that was not always the case. 


Natalia/Facebook
At the age of 10, Natalia hosted a travel program, which screened at the 2009 MIP Junior film festival in Cannes, France, and at the age of 11, she was modeling for a major fashion brand. Sounds fun, right? Unfortunately, it wasn't as fun as it should have been. 
Whilst modeling for one major brand, the photographer told Natalia's agent that she was "too fat". At that stage, the 11-year-old was 175cm tall and weighed just 57kg.
Some of the other students at the International School in Dubai that she was attending heard about this and began bullying her. They would laugh at her and call her fat; too big to be a model. At some point the bullying became so bad that Natalia was pushed over, resulting in a broken leg.
She was in a wheelchair for 6 months. 

Natalia says she can "now understand why some teenagers (commit) suicide". She says she second-guessed herself with modeling, wondering if that was what she should be doing. "It ruined my confidence and I started to ask myself who I was and how I felt about myself. It was not a great time in my life."
It wasn't just the students either. Although some people in the fashion and modeling industries are wonderful people, others made life quite unpleasant. She was called too fat, too chunky, that her eyes were too close together, and even that she was the reason for not getting placed in a particular magazine. 
Thankfully, Natalia was able to come through all of the bullying and bounced back. At 14 she was a finalist in the Elite Model Look Competition (Middle East 2013) - one of the most prestigious modeling competitions worldwide.
She is now the face of major fashion retailer, Forever 21, in Australia and an anti-bullying advocate.
Daily Mail

The Forever 21 brand ambassador, regularly tells her friends to eat if they're hungry and to only work with 'good people'. 

Most recently, Natalia has written her on children's book called "Bully Ben: How to Deal With Bullying at School", which is due to be released on Apple's iTunes store this Friday, 18 March.
The book is based on Natalia's own story of bullying and calls on the reader to "make a decision about whether you're going to be a Bully Ben or a Brave Ben", referring to a character in the book.

Daily Mail
All proceeds from the book will be donated to the Fred Hollows Foundation, for preventing blindness.
The motto of this story? Eat well, be happy and live healthy. And, in the words of Natalia: 

"Do not let other people influence the way you think about yourself or distort your image."


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