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This Model Refused To Let Herself Be Body-Shamed By Online Bullies

"We are no less valuable at 200 lbs as we are at 120 lbs."

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A photo of Roxx was used by a Facebook page called "Project Harpoon," which (poorly) photoshopped images of plus-size women to look slimmer.

via Ruby Roxx / Via

In her case, Roxx's waist, arms, hips, and bust were all dramatically altered.

Though it has now been removed, the before-and-after photos posted to the Facebook page were accompanied with captions like "from a depressed chub to an elegant fox!" Some of the women were well-known, like actress Rebel Wilson or model Tess Holliday, but others were just everyday women who had shared photos online.

One of Roxx's followers told her the photo was being used without her permission. While she was certainly mad about that, she was also angry about the message it was sending to women.

Boudoir By Jessica Rae / Via Facebook: rubyroxxmodel

"I looked unnatural... If I looked like that in real life I’d be extremely unhealthy," Roxx told BuzzFeed Canada.

"I’m not a naturally thin person; I never have been."

As a model for seven years with a presence on social media, 31-year-old Roxx — whose real name is Jenn Palsenbarg — said she's used to negative comments.

"It’s not about me. It’s about other people reading who would find it really triggering, who might have body confidence issues," she said.


Roxx said she got messages from young girls who looked up to her and were in tears over the page.

Although she initially worried about just drawing more attention to the images, Roxx decided to take a stand.

"If I ignore them then it’s just as bad. I should be trying to do something," she said.

In a post on her blog titled "Dear Project Harpoon," she fired back, starting with a "thank you."

Thank you for showing me that I have the drive and determination to fight bullies like you. Yes, you used my photo, yes, I read horrible, threatening, comments, yes, you even used my photo as your profile picture without my permission, but my fight isn't for me. I am a strong, confident, plus model, who is PROUD of her body.

She called out the posters for having "butchered" women's bodies with "atrocious photoshopping."

She also talked about how although she was once a smaller dress size, she's happier than ever.

We are no less valuable at 200 lbs as we are at 120 lbs. We are no less valuable because you told us we weren't. We have just as much potential as a size 14 as we do as a size 2. How dare you make anyone feel any differently? I may not be your ideal, but I don't give a shit.

The person behind Project Harpoon told BuzzFeed News that the page was meant to promote health, not hate. But Roxx is calling bullshit.

Tiffany Ireland Photography / Via Facebook: rubyroxxmodel

"I think it’s ridiculous. The only person who can tell you you’re healthy or not is a doctor," she said.

"Weight is just one factor, it’s not the be all and end all."

She also noted that the edited images were clearly trying to achieve a particular look.

"A lot of the waists were smaller, and the arms were thinner, and the legs were thinner — but the boobs were still the same size."

Though the page has been taken down, Project Harpoon posts are still popping up on social media. Roxx said that although she doesn't think cyberbullying will stop, we can help those who are affected.

As Roxx wrote in her post: "You are NOT alone. You are loved. You are beautiful just the way you are."

If you are struggling with an eating disorder, you can contact the National Eating Disorder Information Centre or the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Lauren Strapagiel is Managing Editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto, Canada.

Contact Lauren Strapagiel at

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