Emily DiDonato is opening up about judgement and body-shaming in the modelling industry.

The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model shared in a new YouTube video about how she came to love her body. DiDonato, 28, revealed how modelling agencies told her she was “too curvy, too big and too athletic.”

“To me, to be successful is to be thin,” DiDonato reflected. She was just 18-years-old around this time. “So I am going to do whatever it takes, and I did. I was eating as little as possible, I was very obsessed with what I was putting in my body and I was over-exercising.”

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DiDonato dropped from 140-pounds to 118-pounds in only a few weeks. “I was lonely,” she explained. “I was homesick. I missed my friends. I didn’t know what I was doing in this big city. I didn’t know anyone.”

Incredibly, her new look still drew criticisms from agencies. They said “she looked better before” and “she doesn’t look super healthy,” to which DiDonato replied, “well, duh.”

She eventually booked a shoot for Sports Illustrated. DiDonato was unhappy with the results because she was “so big” and “so fat.” Then, something incredible happened: “I started working more than ever.”

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“I felt free because there were pictures out there of what I actually looked like and what my body looked like,” she shared. “And Sports Illustrated was celebrating it enough to put it in their issue.”

“I catch myself still — and I would catch myself then — being like, ‘You’re fat, you’re disgusting, you don’t even look like a model, your legs are disgusting, what model looks like that, no one’s going to want to shoot me like this,’” she discussed.

“Finding this self-love and loving the skin that I’m in took time and it took effort,” DiDonato concluded. “There’s nothing sexier than a woman who’s comfortable in her skin and her body. And that’s something that I’m working at every day.”