Anyone who follows Blogilates knows its creator, fitness expert Cassey Ho, posts uplifting and inspirational messages to social media. Unfortunately, the comments she receives are not always as positive.
The 28-year-old certified fitness instructor and social media star – who happens to be in great shape – has recently been the target of online bullies.
“In the last few months, the negativity towards me personally has gotten worse. I’m a person too, so it really gets to me,” she tells PEOPLE. “I had this epiphany: How can I express how I’m feeling visually?”
From this thought came her ” ‘Perfect’ Body” YouTube video, which now has over 770,000 views. It shows Ho reading mean comments about herself, then live-Photoshopping her image into what her followers want her to look like.
“Photoshopping and body image – all of that – is such a big problem that a lot of girls deal with because magazine covers are Photoshopped, and even people on Instagram Photoshop their photos,” she says. “You really don’t know what’s real and what’s not anymore.”
But she doesn’t just blame the media.
“Our friends, our families and just random commenters can really change how we feel about our bodies, and make us feel insecure,” says the YouTube star. “That video was really just me stripping down to my raw self and showing everybody that no matter who you are, these things really hurt.”
Initially Ho posted her Photoshopped image on her Instagram page to direct people toward her video – and some so-called “fans” got the wrong idea.
Wow guys. The response on yesterday's post was moving, incredible, and shocking all at once. Thank you. I couldn't have asked for anything more. I'm happy that many of you clicked over to watch my short film when you saw my new "perfect" body. You experienced the most powerful video I have ever created. You saw me strip down my confidence and self esteem. You saw me raw. Hurt. And vulnerable. For those who haven't seen it yet, please click on the link in my bio. I wanted to post again because there was a weird phenomenon that happened when I posted this photoshopped picture. On the very same photo, I got some people praising me and others degrading me. What worries me is this: 1. That some people think this is real and that it should be "goals." 2. That some people still think it's not good enough. It's tough knowing what's real and what's not when magazine covers and music videos are photoshopped (yes, music videos), Instagram pics are photoshopped, and so many women are getting surgery. How are we to know what kind of beauty can be naturally achieved when everything around us is so deceiving? If you want to know what you can do to help stop body shaming, all I ask is that you share the video with at least 1 person. That's all. After countless days of shooting, weeks of editing, visual effects, and lots of hard work from a team of amazing people, my short film was turned into a reality. Thank you to James Chen, James Jou, and @smashboxcosmetics for helping me bring this to life. #madeatsmashbox I hope you guys liked it. I love you. Stay beautiful.
“Within the comments, you could see society’s problems right there! Some said, ‘So beautiful! How’d you lose so much weight so fast?’ ” she says. “But then it started resonating with people, like ‘This has happened to me before with my own dad, my own mom, my uncle, bullies at school.’ At some point everyone’s been body-shamed or bullied, so it hit a lot of people.”
Ho hopes her video will inspire people to stop criticizing others’ appearances.
“The goal is to show that cyber-bullying and mean comments really affect people, and to think before you say something,” she says. “I hope that people do the exact opposite after seeing this video, which is enlighten everyone around them with positivity.”