Joy Thomas is a plus-size model and vlogger who recently married the love of her life. Like many brides, she shared some gorgeous shots from her special day on social media. Friends and family were quick to comment, congratulating her and her new husband, Andre Thomas, a Christian EDM DJ.
However, sprinkled between affirmative hashtags such as #goals, #babes, and #powercouple, trolls chimed in as well with hateful opinions about her body. “Out of all the positive and beautiful responses we received, at one point the negative responses seemed to outweigh the positive ones,” Joy, who opted for a fitted stretch jersey dress paired with a pearl choker, tells Yahoo Style.
Despite the fat shaming, Joy holds a, well, joyful outlook on the harassment.
“After realizing I can’t please everybody, and no matter what, they would’ve had something negative to say anyway, I’ve come to understand that they are unhappy with themselves,” she says. “Their standard of beauty is unrealistic. There are millions of beautiful women in the world who look just like me, and some people just hate to see that.”
She adds, “The ignorant people that constantly troll and try to hurt my feelings won’t go anywhere, but I will continue to rise above them.”
This mighty attitude comes mostly from her personal faith and confidence, but also from her partner’s love. The pair, who are both from and currently reside in St. Louis, first connected through their many mutual acquaintances on Facebook, first developing a friendship with each other, which eventually grew into a romance.
When Andre proposed in December, it was a total surprise for Joy. A video of the engagement was shared on YouTube and has been viewed more than 200,000 times.
Internet fame has given Joy thick skin. Her advice to other women who find themselves being shamed on social media? Ignore it. “I know it’s easier said than done, but you are so beautiful and you matter,” she says. “Forget what the negative people have to say. They’re watching you because it’s something about you that stands out from the others. Embrace your flaws, love ALL of you, and walk with your head high knowing you have a purpose.”
Most helpfully, though, she says, “The block button is very handy as well.”
Read more from Yahoo Style + Beauty:
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- How One Bride Upcycled 8 Relatives’ Wedding Gowns for Her Own Wedding
- Couples Say Vows En Masse for Largest Lesbian Wedding