A teenage girl has turned a horrific act of bullying into a show of strength, resilience – and a great sense of humour.
Dannie McMillan, 16, from Texas in the United States, was at school when she was sent a screenshot of a Twitter page called ‘Dee’s a fat whale’.
Using her name and a photo with a whale emoji superimposed over her face, McMillan felt her heart drop as she realised this had been done by a fellow student at her school.
“The moment I got out of that classroom, I just started crying,” McMillan told KCEN.
“I was just really upset. I think I got angry after a little bit. But, at first I was just so embarrassed.”
Over the next three days, McMillan stayed at home and watched as the followers for the account @Fatwhaledee grew in number.
Distressed but not defeated, McMillan logged onto Facebook and shared her story with plus-size model, Laura Lee, a woman she greatly admired.
“I jokingly told her: part of me wants to cry all day. And, the other part of me wants to get a t-shirt with a whale on it and wear it to school to show that they can’t get to me,” McMillan said.
“And, she was like ‘oh, we should.'”
So they did.
McMillan with the support of Lee used custom-t-shirt and social campaigning website Booster to design, create and sell a line of shirts that embraced the slur and turned it around.
And she didn’t stop at one.
McMillan released a line of over a hundred shirts selling at $20 each. The shirts feature the design of a small whale and the caption: ‘Dee the fat whale, saves the whales’.
The target sales goal was 50 but McMillan has sold almost three times as many with profits going directly to the Save The Whales foundation.
“I was destroyed but with the help of my sister, my friends, and plus size model Laura Lee I decided to embrace it and turn this horrifying thing into something beautiful.” She wrote on her gofundme page.
McMillan’s campaign continues to grow towards her target goal of $3000. You can donate to McMillan’s campaign by following the link here.
Watch Dee share her incredible story: