Student Called ‘Elephant Legs’ By Teacher Becomes Fitness Model


A 21-year-old student who was called ‘elephant legs’ by mindless bullies has become a fitness model – and looks incredible.

Yi Chen, from California, was just 10-years-old when she was mocked for being muscular by her teacher, which led to taunts from classmates who called her ‘King Kong Barbie’.

And even her own family told her she was ‘too big’.

[ooyala player_id=”5df2ff5a35d24237905833bd032cd5d8″ auto=”true” width=”1280″ height=”720″ pcode=”twa2oyOnjiGwU8-cvdRQbrVTiR2l” code=”Y5ZmtiZDE6gTClACgEKKiyAkrBSouqYe”]

Yi is now hoping to inspire others to love themselves after wearing shorts and dresses for the ‘first time in almost a decade’.

The bullying happened while she was living in Taiwan and it caused her to quit sport and drastically cut back her food intake, even skipping meals entirely, until at 3st 7lb (22kg) lighter she looked ‘thin’.

But after moving to the US when she was 15, people started complimenting her athletic physique, which eventually gave her the confidence to wear dresses and shorts two years ago.

Now says she now loves her ‘thighs, curves and little booty’ and shares her experiences online to empower others.

Yi, a business management student, said:

When I was called ‘elephant legs’ in front of the whole class it was like giving approval for all my peers to make comments about my legs too.

It was very wrong and horrible, from there the kids would call me other names like ‘King Kong Barbie’, ‘big thighs’ and a lot of cruel things behind my back.

The everyday negative comments weren’t just from other people but my family and then myself because I started to believe I should be petite too.


It wasn’t just the negative comments from herself and those around her, Yi explained:

All my life I was told to be skinny, it was imprinted on me from my family and culture. Asian women are supposed to be like a little bird, petite and not muscular.

I was completely the opposite, I was athletic in build, so while they were skinny and lean, I was on the thicker side.

Growing up my family would constant quiz me about why I was so muscular and big, for them there was no in between, there was only skinny or fat.


She added:

I would avoid food completely, I had to be at the dinner table during meals but I would lie by saying I was ‘full’ from very tiny portions.

Some days I would avoid eating dinner completely and just sleep in my room to avoid the whole thing, or I would tell my family I already had eaten.

Over time I lost 50lb [23kb] but I wasn’t happy, it got to a point where I was accepted but I wasn’t doing any of the things I enjoyed anymore.

That was the point where it hit me and I decided to quit track and field, I was competing in regionals for my age but I gave it up because of that moment.

Yi said attitudes were different when she arrived to live in America and instead of negative comments she received positives.

She explained:

When I moved to America it gave me a whole different attitude to my physique, people would complement my body and legs all the time.

Now, Yi, who has a healthy diet combined with exercise, weighs 11 stone (70kg) and is feeling happy and confident.

She preaches body positivity to her 50,000 Instagram followers and encourages them to be proud of who they are also.

Yi said:

I decided that no matter of the positive or negative comments I would ignore them and learn acceptance from myself.

I started wearing dresses about two years ago, before I would cover my legs so you wouldn’t realise how curvy they are but now I like my physique.

I’ve learned to love my legs, I see them as something positive, before they always seemed like a bad thing, but now I think it’s great having curves and little booty.

Good on you, Yi.