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insta hero Influencer Stacey Dineen opens up about dropping out of school because of abuse over her weight

With a whopping 191,000 Instagram followers, body positive model & singer Stacey Dineen is still on a mission to change the unrealistic standards of 'beauty'.

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Limerick woman and body positivity activist Stacey Dineen

Limerick woman and body positivity activist Stacey Dineen

Insta hero: Stacey Dineen

Insta hero: Stacey Dineen

Stacey likes to post natural selfies on Instagram

Stacey likes to post natural selfies on Instagram

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Limerick woman and body positivity activist Stacey Dineen

BROWN-eyed beauty and Insta sensation Stacey Dineen has been defending herself from body shaming since primary school, but thought the bullying was finally over when she was crowned winner of Canadian TV show The Fashion Hero at just 18.

Now aged 21, the international model from Knocklong, Co Limerick tells Magazine+ that she eventually dropped out of secondary school as she was so devastated by the abuse she faced because of her weight.

"It was hell," she recalls.

"I only lasted in playschool for four days because I was being bullied and I started being body conscious. From primary school I only have bad memories. A bully called me Mount Everest and stabbed me with a compass - I will never forget it."

Stacey now explains how even as an international body positive activist, with 191,000 Instagram followers, she still has days where she cannot face the comments people write on the photos she posts.

"Social media can be so toxic," she admits. "I turn comments off for most of my Instagram posts because I am afraid that one comment will makes me spiral into depression."

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Stacey likes to post natural selfies on Instagram

Stacey likes to post natural selfies on Instagram

Stacey likes to post natural selfies on Instagram

Stacey, who has no siblings, was determined to have a different experience in secondary school. Convinced her weight was the root of all her problems, she spent the summer before first year on an extreme diet in the hope that bullies would not tease her in September.

"I was clinically depressed in sixth class at age 12. The summer before secondary school I starved myself and lost four stone. I had one meal a day - beans and rice, like I saw on I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! and walked six times a day. I became obsessed weighing myself every day."

However, the bullying continued into secondary school, and by Junior Cert, Stacey had missed more days that she had attended and eventually left school before completing her Leaving Certificate. Then, in 2016, Stacey won The Fashion Hero, a TV series filmed in Canada with the aim of promoting health in the fashion industry as opposed to fitting into an unachievable standard of 'beauty'.

She has since worked as a model in Canada and the US with various different brands because of the show.

After winning, Stacey returned to Ireland with the hope of being signed to a plus-size modelling agency closer to home, yet discovered that these agencies also had very particular standards of their own.

"The reason I applied to The Fashion Hero was because I loved the message behind it," she says. "If I go into a plus-size agency now, they have a list of requirements.

"I sent my photo to an agency before and the first thing, they asked me was, 'How bad is your cellulite?', so I decided not to apply."

After being disheartened by the modelling industry, at 19 Stacey travelled to Los Angeles to pursue singing, however, she felt the music industry is also largely dominated by appearance.

"I think 90pc of the music industry is looks and sexualising women and that's not for me," she explains.

"A record label in the UK contacted me three years ago, and before even hearing my voice asked me to send photos of myself and even if I couldn't sing, they would work around it if I had the look and was willing to wear sexy clothes. So, I turned that down."

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Insta hero: Stacey Dineen

Insta hero: Stacey Dineen

Insta hero: Stacey Dineen

However, Stacey stuck to her morals, promoting her talent which has now led to her first album being distributed by Rema Records in Los Angeles, who have distribution deals with Sony Records.

Now available on iTunes, her first single I Would tackles the issue of mental health - one that is close to her heart.

Refusing to let the bullies win, determined Stacey also returned to school during the pandemic to complete her Leaving Certificate, and is all set to pursue her American dream of going to college and modelling Stateside in 2021.

  • You can follow Stacey on instagram.com/staceydineen

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