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This teen had the perfect response to making her school’s ‘ugly girls’ list

‘I wanted to be the bigger person.’


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Lynelle Cantwell, a 17-year-old student at Holy Trinity High School in Canada, is gaining a lot of attention online for standing up to her bullies in a moving Facebook post.

After finding out that she was listed in an anonymous online straw poll of “Ugliest Girls” at Holy Trinity High School, she wrote a long update on the social media platform about why she and the other girls listed don’t deserve to be called ugly. Now, many are applauding her brave and thoughtful response.

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Cantwell wrote that she feels sorry for the people who voted to include her in the poll because it means that they aren’t getting to know her as a person. She added that while she’s not “the prettiest thing to look at,” her true pity goes to the person who decided to put together the list, as he/she must be extremely unhappy to hurt others in such a way.

“I’m sorry that your life is so miserable that you have to try to bring others down. I’m sorry that you get amusement out of making people feel like shit. I’m sorry that you’ll never get the chance to know the kind of person i am. I may not look okay on the outside.. But [I’m] funny, nice, kind, down to earth, not [judgmental], accepting, helpful, and [I’m] super easy to talk to. [That is] the same for every other girl on that list that you all put down. Just because we don’t look perfect on the outside does not mean we are ugly. If [that’s] your idea of ugly then [I] feel sorry for you. Like seriously? Get a life.”

Her Facebook update has received more than 260 likes and 8,100 shares, with many people cheering her on in the comments:

In an interview with CBC News, Cantwell said that she chose not to fight “fire with fire” with regards to the poll creator because it would be more helpful to rise above the cruelty.

“It outraged me … all of these girls are hurt because of this one person who has no heart or sympathy for anything,” she said. “I wanted to be the bigger person, and instead of fighting fire with fire, I decided to fight it a different way and make something that was really negative into something really positive.”

She has also loved all of the kind reactions to her post, noting that one person even sent her flowers.

“I’m getting so many messages I can’t answer all of them,” she said. “Everyone is coming up to me and saying, ‘Oh my gosh, your Facebook status, it’s so beautifully written and doing such a good job and I’m so proud of you.’ Everything is just so positive.”

After her experience went viral and she appeared in multiple news outlets, Cantwell published a follow-up post thanking others for their support.

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Cantwell’s story has parallels to that of Lizzie Velásquez, a 26-year-old woman who was born with neonatal progeroid syndrome, a genetic condition that prevents her from gaining weight and impacts the way she looks. Velásquez faced a lot of bullying for her appearance growing up, and when she was 17, she stumbled upon a YouTube video of herself alongside the words “Ugliest Woman in the World.” It broke her heart, but she ultimately came out ahead by sharing her story with the world and vowing not to let the haters bring her down. Velasquez went on to host a popular TED talk, go on talk shows, and even land her own documentary, “A Brave Heart.”

“When you see the film, it is my story, but it’s also everyone’s story,” Velasquez told TODAY several months ago. “People can relate to being bullied or feeling insecure or being embarrassed by their looks.”

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