Plus size model Louise O'Reilly: 'I tried to be funny because I never thought I was pretty'
Louise O'Reilly has carved out an impressive niche in the modelling world but she has revealed that as a teen she thought it best to work on her humour as she didn't feel pretty enough.
"When I was in school I used to look up jokes on the internet to try and make boys like me," she said.
"I didn't think I had any chance of being pretty, so I wanted to be funny."
"Heavier girls actually have better personalities because they don't take it for granted that people will like them," she added.
Louise has caught the eye of bosses at Italian Vogue and is one of the busiest Irish models working at the moment but the curvy beauty has opened up about her teenage insecurities.
In secondary school she gained weight and was subject to horrible bullying.
"I was kind of chubby and I was always the type of person to be bullied and one kind of fed off the other," Louise explained.
"The more I was bullied the bigger I got. I reached 19 stone when I was in second year in secondary school."
"I was such an ugly ducking. I was like a child version of Bridget Jones. I wish I could have gone back to myself of then and just told myself it's all going to be OK," she continued.
The Malahide model is now Ireland's premier plus-size model. She is on the books at the Morgan agency and is constantly dashing over and back to the UK for jobs.
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When she was just 17 she was diagnosed with ME (chronic fatigue syndrome) which was eventually cured with a strict diet and vitamin and iron injections introduced by a specialist.
The ordeal caused her to slim down to a more comfortable weight.
Having such a successful career behind her allows the 26-year-old to look back on her school days with some new perspective.
"I've grown up a lot and grown to accept myself but I'm also still the same girl inside. I have a great work ethic and I think that stands to me," she said.
One of the boys who had mocked her in school even asked her out for a drink over social media.
Despite a rush of offers from diet pill manufacturers to advertise on her hugely successful fashion site Style Me Curvy, the Dubliner said she will never consider endorsing diet products.
But she said that she still has to watch what she eats. "I'm a size 14 to 16. I don't look my size," Louise said.
"I do work out a lot. You have to keep your measurements, just like a straight model.
"You have to be able to adapt to any situation. I want to maintain the weight I am. I do three to four times a week in the gym, lots of weights, the cross trainer and I love swimming when I can."