This Teen's Selfie Has Gone Viral For All The RIGHT Reasons

July 9, 2014

Carleigh O'Connell is a 14 year-old from New Jersey. She's also our new favorite body-image hero — and all because of a selfie because this one takes a mean-spirited instance of bullying and turns it into an awesome message of body positivity.

Here is the photo of Carleigh making its rounds on social media:


Carleigh had heard that someone had spray painted the words "Carleigh's ass" on a cement barrier at the beach in Wall, New Jersey. Given the unique spelling of her name, she knew without a doubt that the graffiti was referring to her. She was very upset about it but she also wasn't willing to just lie down and take it. Instead, she sought out the rock and snapped the proud photo above, owning it in the truest sense of the word. She's urging as many people as possible to share it in the hopes that it will do some good in the world.

Carleigh's mother wrote this on her Facebook page:

"We talked about it. And while she was upset, she told me she was going to make something good out of it. I told her that I would support her. Hence, she just sent me this photo. She posted it on her Instagram and I in turn am posting this on my Facebook page. She decided that she was going to be stronger than hurtful words on the concrete and that she was going to be proud of her figure. She also told me that she feels complete sympathy for the teenagers across the country who face this everyday [sic]. She understands and wants all of them to find strength inside to rise above the nastiness and be empowered by who you are, how you are made and what is in your heart."

Words can hurt, but how you handle the words makes all the difference.

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