Meet Nicole Ford: A beautiful internationally published model, a caring friend, talented writer, and a loving wife. If you had the chance to meet Nicole, you would never guess that she was bullied. Nicole is an inspiration to us because she was bullied during her youth, and she grew to prove all of her bullies wrong. Nicole’s story touched our heart, and inspired us to love and empower everyone in our lives.
Education: Cornell University
Occupation: Editor/Model/Fashion Blogger
Color: It changes all the time. Right now, I’d say green.
Fragrance: GUESS Girl
Book: The Harry Potter series
Movie: Just about every Hayao Miyazaki movie.
How old were you when you first became a victim of bullying? Probably about 13.
How did you first respond to bullying? I think being bullied forced me to be withdrawn and shy (at that time—I’m much more outgoing now!). I didn’t want to bring attention to myself, so I just put my time into getting good grades and playing sports (and I wasn’t an all-star). I remember being bullied more starting at about 19 because I suffered from an eating disorder. That was the roughest time for me.
How did you overcome bullying? Honestly, I had good friends and family around. It is a lot easier to get through a hard time when you have people in your life that you can count on. I also went through counseling. I began to realize that I needed to be happy with myself, and that I needed to make myself happy first. It got easier to ignore the mean and hurtful comments after I began to build up my confidence.
What would you like to say to your former bullies today? To the guy who picked on me in middle school for having blotchy skin: it’s pretty close to perfect now. To the people who told me I’d never go to college or make something of myself: I graduated from an Ivy League university and have my own business. To the people who told me I looked “gross,” “too skinny,” and bullied me about my eating habits: I’m a published model (including ten photos accepted by Vogue Italia’s PhotoVogue) and have my eating habits completely under control.
Do you have any advice for those who are currently victims of bullying? Yes. Do your best to ignore it. I know it’s hard, but surround yourself with good people who are true friends and forget the idiots. Don’t be afraid to report it either, especially if it becomes consistent or violent. Do not make room for toxic people in your life; they will just bring you down. Your future self will thank you for focusing on your school work and either getting into a good college or starting a career in a trade you really love.
What can our readers do in the community to make a difference? Be a friend to someone who needs it. I firmly believe in “paying it forward.” When you have the opportunity to help someone in any way, no matter how small, do it. We should all strive to make the world a better place by helping others, not by hurting them.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now? More established with my editing business and living life to the fullest.
Who is your role model and why? I know that I am the person I am today because of the influence of many people: family, friends, teachers, and coworkers. I never really looked up to just one person—I had many good influences in my life.
Anything else you would like to share with Lady Code and its readers? Thank you for having me as Lady of the Month for March 2014! I really admire everything that Lady Code stands for. For everyone reading, you only need the people in your life who really care about you. There is no award in the real world for being the most popular girl or guy in high school. Focus on finding yourself and on what makes you truly happy.
Keep up with Nicole!