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Tips to deal with online haters, from an Instagram influencer

Hollie Azzopardi knows what it’s like to cop heat from haters. Here, she outlines how she navigates disparaging comments and retains her sense of purpose online. 

Speaking recently on The Wellness Daily Show, holistic wellness coach and body positivity advocate Hollie Azzopardi explained that she is “inundated” with positivity from her online followers, but if and when negative comments come in, she tends to dwell on those.

“What’s interesting [in the instances that I’ve been attacked online is that], number one, they’ve been from women. Number two, theyve been a direct attack on my body. And number three, specifically theyve been attacking my breasts. And this is where it gets interesting. Because, for me, as someone who is all about empowering women, helping women, supporting women, it really hurts,” she explained.

“The way that my body is formed, the way that anybodys body is formed, we just do not have a right to comment on it, at all. Its inappropriate, its incredibly degrading, especially when it comes to the sexualisation of bodies. For me, thats whats been this common theme with the people who are lashing out at me.”

“Its in attack of my breasts, and it frustrates me that I have to almost do this as a precursor, but its the nature of the job that Im in and the message that Im sharing is: I am naturally big busted. I am a 10 F to G. Its not something that I have ever focused on. But the more that Ive become comfortable in myself, the more that Im dressing for me, which means that my cleavage is on show, and its not for anybody but myself.”

Ms Azzopardi said it is fascinating to her that her appearance can trigger such an aggressive response from those online.

“You would assume that it would be men that would be making the inappropriate comments, but, truly in my experience, its been women. I had recently a week ago, a woman creates an email address to email me three paragraphs worth of attack, and in quotes, my ‘sloppy cans’, and how theyre offending her in my stories. Now, whether thats the truth or not, she doesnt have to watch what Im sharing,” she said.

“I really did take it to heart, and Im quite a resilient person. But I took it to heart for all of the people who are experiencing this level of body shame and dont have the confidence to stand up to their bullies, or who arent in a position to actually hold that attack and work through it.”

“And the way that Ive decided that Im going to deal with this – because I know theres more coming, the more that my profile grows – is that I show up unapologetically as myself because I refuse to do my life for somebody else,” she said.

“Im going to continue to call this behavior out.”

While such commentary still “triggers” her on occasion, Ms Azzopardi said that as long as she can come back to the “intention behind everything that I share”, and “say its all from a place of love”, she is able to be resilient.

“Thats what I would share to other people in this space [who are] wanting to step more into their authentic self and follow the things that light them up. If theyre fearful of ‘What will my family say? What will my friends say? What will my husband or wife say?’ I say, just follow what your heart is telling you to do,” she advised.

“And youll always know what that is because it will feel good in your body. You wont be hurting everyone, and youll ever have the best intentions. And then if somebody does come at you with any level of criticism or attack, while it may still hurt, you can sit with that hurt, you can process it, and then you can come back to your heart and say, Im actually a good person. Im a good human, I have good intention. Im doing the best I can with what I have, and thats all I can do.”

In the same episode, Ms Azzopardi said that in a world where body shaming, stigmas and taboos run rampant, being more in touch with one’s sensuality and being body positive has significant ripple effects for one’s holistic wellbeing

To listen to Jerome’s full conversation with Hollie Azzopardi, click below:

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“Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain