After a stranger body-shamed Rosie Mercado, the plus-size model did all she could to shift 240 pounds of her weight. And once the beauty had completed her transformation, she understandably felt great. However, some individuals, it seemed, were still intent on bringing Mercado down.
Mercado had had previous experience of dealing with haters, however, and from a early age, too. That’s because, while she had been at school in Nevada, some of her fellow students had bullied the young Latina for her size. However, once Mercado had grown up, seemingly nothing could stop her from reaching for her dream job within the fashion industry.
Interestingly, Mercado actually began her fashion career behind the camera, working as a photographer. However, after some encouragement, she decided to take up modeling. It wasn’t an easy transition for the young woman, however. For example, those within the industry often claimed that they liked her face but that her weight turned them off.
But, in time, Mercado would break through as a plus-sized model. Even after that success, however, she still experienced her fair share of fat-shaming. At her largest, the model weighed 410 pounds and flaunted 75-inch hips, and her measurements seemed to bring out the bad sides of some cruel people.
One of the most distressing incidents Mercado experienced, moreover, came as she was preparing to board a flight to New York. As she waited in the airport, however, a worker there approached her. Out of nowhere, and in front of a crowd of people, the employee announced that the model would have to purchase a second ticket. According to Mercado, the individual concerned had accused her of being too large to fit into one airplane seat.
“I was so embarrassed, I just started crying,” Mercado revealed when she later recalled the scene in an episode of The Doctors. “I was an emotional wreck. Basically, I could have just had a billboard saying, ‘Too fat to fit in one seat.’”
And after her mortifying experience at the airport, Mercado had decided that she had to transform herself. “I asked myself if I was genuinely happy,” she told Cosmopolitan in 2016. “[I] realized I had to change if I wanted to be able to do things with my kids, get rid of the pains in my hips and knees and stop being judged.”
So, the model threw herself into an intensive fitness and healthy eating regime. And thanks to a combination of regular runs, Zumba classes and dieting, Mercado soon shed 100 pounds. However, after shrinking by a significant amount, the beauty hit a wall.
Indeed, Mercado’s new health-conscious lifestyle was no longer giving her the gains she desired. And she was horrified when she actually began to gain weight instead, taking her back up to 320 pounds. So, concerned that she would spiral back to her original size, the model decided to take drastic action.
Specifically, Mercado underwent gastric sleeve surgery, which helped her slim down until she’d eventually lost 240 pounds from her largest weight. However, before she underwent the procedure, she had no true idea of how it would affect her body or eating habits.
In time, though, Mercado realized that she couldn’t drink anything fizzy or enjoy even a minute portion of rice without falling ill. Furthermore, she had to adjust to the new boundaries of her body. “You start really educating yourself on eating healthy, eating lean and eating really small portions,” she explained to People in 2016.
“You have to deal with being low-calorie and deal with the adjustment to your body as you’re dropping weight,” Mercado further revealed. “You learn what you’re allowed to do and what you’re not allowed to do. If you do what you’re not allowed to do, you’re going to feel like crap.”
Even after Mercado had got used to her new body, though, the model’s problems kept on coming. In particular, her drastic weight loss had left her with excess skin that was causing her misery. This skin would, moreover, cause painful rashes and even made it hard for the model to get dressed.
“I had to be in Spanx the entire time,” Mercado added to People. “I couldn’t run without Spanx because of the weight of the skin. You lose all this weight, you’re excited, and then you take your clothes off and you have all this excess skin. New issues start coming up.”
So, Mercado opted to have skin reduction surgery, which would see her have her stomach fully tucked. And it wasn’t a particularly pleasant procedure, either. “That has been by far the most painful journey of my entire life,” Mercado revealed of her experience. “It was burning, aching, tubes coming everywhere.”
However, the results of her surgeries were arguably worth it: Mercado is now a size 12 to 14 and happy in her own skin. “I’m not perfect,” she said to People. “I’ve still got cellulite, but it’s a huge improvement to the problems I was dealing with. I’m able to do so many more things.”
But while Mercado was now content with her size, not everybody welcomed her weight loss. Before long, in fact, the model was receiving hate mail for slimming down. And, according to her, at least one person even urged her to commit suicide.
“I got hate mail… Not so much from the other models, just fans that hated on me,” Mercado told TMZ in 2016. “They told me to go jump off a bridge and kill myself for losing weight. Fat activists, there you go. Yeah, fat activists, they just hated the thought I was really public about my weight loss and I was losing weight.”
But despite her haters, Mercado soon learned to love her new physique. In fact, she is now using all the attention that her figure has received to promote body diversity. And it is her hope that more people can embrace their looks, no matter what shape or size they are.
For Mercado, meanwhile, her weight loss has also allowed her to do things she could never previously have dreamed of. “Diet for me really equaled a lifestyle change, it equaled freedom, it didn’t equal a size,” she explained to TMZ. “It equaled to having freedom of choice, getting on a roller coaster, going zip lining and just having fun.”