This post was written by Julie Mazziotta and originally appeared on People.com.
In comforting and depressing news, even Sports Illustrated Swimsuit models deal with body shaming.
Camille Kostek gets negative comments on social media on occasion, but the body shaming reached a fever point after she shared a photo of herself in a high-waisted neon bikini during a vacation in Cabo with her boyfriend New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Kostek stayed silent at first, but a week later, she decided to share her feelings about the cruel comments on her Instagram story.
“I can’t begin to explain how many rude comments I got after I posted this photo about my body. But for the women who I was able to help love who they are more from it, I post without hesitation for myself and for YOU,” she said. “I’ve been sitting on this for a few days, deciding if I was going to share this, and I decided that I’m going to share a little bit of the things that I had seen.”
Kostek then shared screenshots of the comments that were spread across the internet, from her own Instagram post to tweets and articles re-sharing the photo. People said things like, “gross,” “that’s one wide load there,” and “she needs the gym and a good doctor.”
She then shared a video she took a week prior after reading the comments, which left her with tears running down her face.
“I was having a weak moment and allowed some of the comments to get to me that night. I was very emotional,” she said. “I would never and have never [before] picked up the phone and filmed myself crying, but I’m very happy that I have it because I’m able to look back on it and reflect and see how upset I was that these comments rattled me to the point that I was so hysterical. But I’m also able to look at that and see myself in so much pain, and realize that that was just a small moment in time and by people that I don’t give a f— about.”
Kostek said that it was a much-needed cry.
“A lot of my Instagram is great times in my life, great moments in my life, beautiful places that I travel to, but I have my days too,” she said. “I am human and I always say, if you have to cry to let it out. Let that bad bacteria out, let the bad toxins come out of your body, have your moment.”
And Kostek said that she matured from the experience.
“I normally don’t read into any of this, but this time I did. And I’m happy I did,” she said. “It helps me grow. It helps me have thicker skin, helps remind me what’s important in life, who’s important in life.”
Plus, she pointed out, the opinions of people on the internet do not matter.
“These people are s—. They’re so small-minded. I’m just coming on here and sharing my experience from one time, because we are our own biggest critics,” she said. “We wake up and go to sleep with ourselves every single day. We see ourselves in the mirror from every single day. We know what we look like. We know what makes us happy about our bodies and what upsets us. And we do not need to value the opinions of others, at all. Especially from people that we don’t even know, or that we don’t care about.”
Kostek said that she’s not going to change what she posts because of the body shamers.
“I’m going to keep posting bikini photos when I feel like it,” she said. “And it’s just the cherry on top when I get emails and messages from you saying that I inspire you and I encourage you to love the skin that you’re in. That’s why I do it.”
See all of Camille’s stunning SI Swimsuit 2018 photos: