13 Year-Old Paris Harvey Posted A Photo Of Herself At The Beach And Inspired The Internet

She was so terrified to wear a swimsuit, she hadn't been to the beach in three years

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At the end of May we had some pretty lovely British summer weather (then it got cruelly taken from us), and Paris Harvey, the 13-year-old from Gillingham in Kent, decided to go to the beach.

Paris hasn't been to the beach in three years.

And the horrible reason she hadn't been for so long is because she was terrified to be in just a swimming costume in public.

According to Kent Online, Paris suffers from a metabolic condition which means she gains weight quickly and struggles to lose it.

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She was also born with hip dysplasia so her left leg is about one centimeter shorter than her right, as well as pins in the joint which causes her to walk with a limp.

She has been bullied at school, called fat and a 'penguin' by the people around her and her self-confidence has suffered drastically. But Paris has been working on her self-acceptance and managed to muster the courage to make a statement about the treatment she'd been receiving.

She told the local news site:

'I got bullied in the past and after a while you start to believe what people say. I became really insecure about how I looked.'

She even began to justify her looks, before realising her body shouldn't be excused away:

I can be eating the same food as the next person but I gain weight. It's not like I'm sitting at home all day eating crisps. It's also hard for me to get around because of my hips and it is harder for me to make changes than it is for other people. But I felt like I shouldn't have to explain myself.

And she doesn't. Thankfully, this year Paris went for it, and on the 27th May she headed to the beach in Margate with a friend in a fabulous pink swimming costume.

She went to the beach in Margate with a friend, who is also self conscious of his looks: 'He was saying he felt fat and I just told him, 'If you take your top off, I will take off my shorts,' so we did.

'I was worried someone would come up to me and stop me or stare at me but there was no response, people were just acting as they did before.

I stayed like it for a few hours and I started to feel comfortable in my own skin. I was proud afterwards. It was quite an achievement.'

After her day out she sent out a Tweet with some photos saying:

'Omg so I faced my biggest fear today and went to the beach in a swimsuit'

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Paris' Tweet went viral, and it has 46,600 retweets and 337,800 likes to far.

HuffPost also reached out to Paris and she told them she decided to post the pictures to show her friends the progress she had made in her own body-positivity as well as hoping it would help end stigma surrounding 'plus size people wearing swimsuits.'

Of course there were some negative responses, with trolls and haters criticising the 13-year-old and fat-shaming her.

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Thankfully, Paris is undeterred by the horrible people on the internet, saying,

I feel in a way inspired by the hate, they know nothing about me and my attitude towards helping people and caring a lot about people. I'm always trying to radiating positivity whenever I go. I can't change overnight and I shouldn't change for anyone. I embrace the skin I'm in.

What a mature young woman.

Paris' praise came from far and wide.

Her dad was one of her supporters, saying, 'Paris is such a positive role model to everyone around her.'

'Love drives out hate and the support she has been getting is just phenomenal. I just wanted to say thank you to everyone from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram for all the kind words and support to Paris as it is much appreciated from all of us.'

Even her idol, Ally Brooke from Fifth Harmony, tweeted her pride for her fan:

When someone takes the brave decision to overcome fear and gain self-confidence, the last thing they need is self-criticism.

If the trolls were really concerned with her 'health' they would applaud her for getting out there and looking after her mental health, instead of abusing a 13 year-old girl.

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