Popular photographer and plus-size model Lesego “Thickleeyonce” Legobane cried so hard at the social media hate following her SA Fashion Week appearance on Tuesday night that her mother had to help her clean up the vomit she spewed after being physically sick.
Thickleeyonce, who is a strict advocate for body positivity, was one of several models who took to the runway for the Woolworths fashion show, drawing applause from the audience.
However, a video of her walking on the runway was ridiculed on Twitter, with users body-shaming her and complaining that she was walking like someone on the way to a spaza shop.
Reacting to the comments, Thickleeyonce said she did not usually care what people thought but cried after reading the hatred aimed at her.
I usually don't give a fuck, but tonight, I am sad. On one of my best days. I am sad.
— fat gal yonce (@ThickLeeyonce) October 24, 2017
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Yesterday ws probably 1 of the best days of my life, but I ended up going to bed very sad. I genuinely don't give a fuck wat ANYONE thinks of me. Zero fucks, but u know what? I ws really sad. I was so anxious abt walking in a fashion show with models who hv years of experience & who are a lot smaller dan me, I ws skeptical but my mum said "Do it 4 the next big girl who wants to be a model but thinks it's impossible" & so I dd it. My moment came & the minute I stepped out all I heard ws "Leeyonce! Yaaaas! Thick lee" I look up, there are ppl screaming 4 ME! I ddnt expect any of this cos my mum nor Lerato were there (they are normally the ones who scream 4 me lol) so I lost my cool, & got so overwhelmed by the love lol I just couldn't help but smile cos wow! The love is REAL! I feel it & I am ALWAYS grateful. Oh but the hatred? The cruelty? The malicious comments I hv to deal with? EVERYDAY? Most days its whatever…but yesterday I read & read & read & read until I was numb & cudnt feel anything anymore. Its been 4 years, FOUR YEARS of online abuse & cyber bullying bt yesterday? I got really sad. "Don't entertain it" "U like playing victim" "Be strong, don't mind them" "Don't let them get you down" "Haters girl, u know how they are" "Just ignore it" "U talk too much abt body positivity, ur annoying" "Ur self love is fake cos u always entertain haters, u really insecure" I've heard this 4 FOUR YEARS. Imagine havin to deal with bullies 4 years & ppl tellin u "dnt mind em" Thr are days whr ppl pop up on my TL callin me terrible things, I read, block & carry on with life…evn wen it upsets me, I cnt talk abt it cos the minute I address it, "I am entertaining haters, I like attention" (thr are ppl who believe dat this is wat I want, dat I like it wen ppl say these things abt me cos "I get to play victim" imagine that. Im tired of hearing "ignore them" bcos I am expected 2 b "OK" with this. This is not OK. Dnt tel me nt 2 mind dis, cz I do. Read al of these, its nt evn a quarter of wat I read last night or wat Iv read all my life since joining SM, it's just a glimpse, read & tell me I sud just turn a blind eye
She later returned to the platform to insist that she had no regrets about being in the show and slammed suggestions she was looking for attention and cashing in on her weight.
I was body positive before the money came. I was obsessed with myself before the money. The money came because of the self love. https://t.co/CDP62BOJ1d
— fat gal yonce (@ThickLeeyonce) October 25, 2017
And it's funny how nobody was saying my body positivity was fake until I started getting campaigns and jobs. Then it became an issue. Money.
— fat gal yonce (@ThickLeeyonce) October 25, 2017
Woolworths South Africa said they were mortified by the backlash and said they would fight against those intent on destroying others through body-shaming
“It is unacceptable in this day and age that someone would be bullied because of how they look or how they carry themselves. We are mortified by this. We are trying to embrace all women, and people are bringing others down. We embrace body positivity and Thickleeyonce embodies that for us. We will continue to use her as our ambassador and strongly condemn any bullying,” Woolworths South Africa Head of Communications Kirsten Hewett told TshisaLIVE.
SA Fashion Week CEO Lucilla Booyzen also condemned the hatred, telling TshisaLIVEthat the organisation was appalled by the “scourge of pulling people down on social media”.
“It is disgraceful that people would criticise our models for their walk or the way they look. We condemn any kind of bullying directed at any of the models at SA Fashion Week. SA Fashion Week is completely inclusive and we represent all women, regardless of their body shapes.”
Thickleeyonce made international headlines last month after she slammed a social media user who body-shamed her by posting a picture of famous model Joelle Kayembe in a bikini next to one of Thickleeyonce also in a bikini with a nasty caption.
Responding to the users captions: “girls that I like vs girls that like me”, Thickleeyonce wrote: “I don’t like you”.
Her response was liked by US music stars Nicki Minaj and Ariana Grande and saw her featured in Teen Vogue USA and other international publications.