Bachelorette Gemma White recently made her debut on Locky Gilbert's season of The Bachelor and while it might be difficult to believe, the 28-year-old suffered from bullying as a child, which caused her to embark on a 26kg weight loss journey.
The former Miss Australia Continents shared her story of bullying and her transformation on Instagram in 2018, and it's now resurfaced as she starts her journey on The Bachelor.
In one snap, Gemma shared a side-by-side of herself in a school photo and another recent snap.
She wrote, "As I turn another year older I thought I'd share something that has taken a lot of courage to do!"
"First you should know BOTH photos have been taken by a professional photographer and BOTH photos have NOT been edited. Yes the most recent photo has professionally done makeup and I have extensions."
She revealed that in the first photo she is almost 15 years old, and about 22kg heavier than she is now, adding it was her turning point.
"The difference is I am now a much happier, healthy and more confident me. I understand the importance of good food and nourishing my body, mind and soul. I exercise because it feels good. I eat well because I feel better for it.
"I try to enjoy the simple things in life and chocolate (in moderation!) when I want it. I've trained myself to be this way, it's taken a hell of a lot of hard work, dedication and determination."
She continued, saying that she has an iron deficiency as well as two autoimmune diseases, but it doesn't stop her from living her "best life".
Gemma wrote, "[I don't] like talking about them as people will always be quick to judge but I believe beauty shines from within. Our external beauty does not shape who we are. It's our hurdles, obstacles, challenges, triumphs and achievements that define us. We are all unique and beautiful in our own way. Let's embrace our individuality!"
She said that because she was bullied and battled with her weight during her time at school, she was inspired to become an ambassador for anti-bullying charity I Can, I Will.
In another snap, Gemma shared another photo of herself during her school years with a recent snap next to it.
She wrote, "Funny enough the little girl on the left had no health issues and lived a normal childhood (I loved to dance! And still do). The me now knows an active balanced lifestyle is super important for optimum health. Whilst eating well and staying active has been top of my priority throughout my adulthood, last year my health took a turn.
"I have battled 2 autoimmune diseases (Crohn's & Rheumatoid Arthritis) and have since been on a natural path of recovery and to get my body back in balance. I have had to knuckle down on my diet even more and whilst there has been a lot of change for me in the past couple of years I have learnt so much about myself and life in general."
Rheumatoid Arthritis causes inflammation in the joints as well as pain and occurs when the immune system doesn't work correctly and attacks the lining of the joints.
Crohn's disease, meanwhile, is an inflammatory bowel disease and causes inflammation in the digestive tract.
She added, "I now know most autoimmune diseases are manageable and can be put into remission, just as I have done, through good nutrition, diet and exercise. I am now gluten free and dairy free, although cheese and chocolate every now and again is ok.... thank goodness as I don't think I could live without chocolate.
"I know that by talking about these issues and for you to know that you aren't alone helps tremendously in recovery, I've been there! Know that there is more to social media then what we see daily for EVERYONE is fighting a battle others know nothing about, we are all human and no one is perfect.
"Be kind and chose love always, don't judge others for we are each on our own journey. It's important to nourish our mind, body and soul to be our best self everyday. Often we are too hard on ourselves and reality is we all have rolls and fat bits and off days but what we need to remember most is that we are beautiful just the way we are!"
Speaking with the Courier Mail in 2018, Gemma said, "I was about 15 when I slowly lost the weight and when I was 17 I joined a deportment and modelling school just to learn to look after myself and … just to feel better within myself."
"I then copped bullying on the other side with people saying, ‘Oh, she must be bulimic’, but I was able to overcome that."