"No matter who you are, these things really hurt," the Blogilates creator tells PEOPLE of her body critics
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.
“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.”