After seeing a recent post about a young boy being bullied, Reece Ford wanted to tell his story in the hope of inspiring children who are struggling.
Originally from Lostock Hall, Reece has now moved to London to pursue a career as an actor, singer and model.
As a young boy, he was bullied about his size and found his early school years to be a very difficult time:
“I was always a chubby kid and I’ve always been flamboyant. When you are young, I felt like there is no room to be any other way than what society wants you to be. I always wanted to pursue a career in musical theatre and just do my own thing which people didn’t take very kindly to.
“I am a heterosexual male but sadly because of the way I was, I was very heavily bullied through primary school and my early years of high school. I would get called all sorts of names like ‘gay’ or ‘fat’, many homophobic slurs.”
Reece believes that the bullying he received as a child has still had an effect on him later in life:
“I was in very much the same position as that young man and I would come home crying very very often. I didn’t want to go to school and it made me a very anxious child, I still suffer from anxiety now and have done for years. Obviously, the bullying has had a long term effect.”
After fluctuating a lot with his weight, Reece finally decided that he wasn’t going to let it influence him anymore and he has now turned it into a positive:
“For most of my life, I have felt insecure in terms of my weight and body image. I was in a very toxic and abusive relationship which caused me to lose a lot of weight, I got out of that relationship and moved to London. I then met my current girlfriend and started to regain confidence and find myself.
“I’m not afraid to say at that point I started to put weight back on, instead of feeling like that was a bad thing, I decided that it wasn’t going to rule me again. I then applied to several modelling agencies and in February, I was signed by Jadore models and have been working with them ever since.”
Being signed as a male model was a very special moment for Reece who believes it is important for young people to see people who look like them on clothing sites:
“It was an indescribable feeling, I was tormented for so long about my body image and now my body image has allowed me to make a career out of it and it’s something to be proud of. When I was younger, I wish that I was able to look on clothing websites and see men of my shape and size.”
A recent post on social media about a young boy being bullied prompted Reece to reach out with a message of hope for him and anyone else who is being bullied:
“I would like to say to him that life won’t always be this way. I’d want him to look at me and many other people that look like us and for him to realise that there are so many role models with different body shapes, the world is so diverse now.
“I want him to stay true to himself and know that these people who are bullying him aren’t going to define who he is. The world is changing slowly and is accepting of people like him despite what a small portion of people might say.”