It’s a sad truth that so many of us are vulnerable to attacks by social media bullies — multiply that by a million for those in the public eye. “Despierta America” co-host Francisca Lachapel recently spoke out against the social media abuse she has received since the start of her career, and the details are shocking. She recalled being told she was “ugly” and not worth winning her “Nuestra Belleza Latina” title, but says she is “stronger” now.

The TV host has spoken out about unrealistic beauty standards in the past

Lachapel is the epitome of strong and fierce, recently cutting her hair live on-air during a “Despierta America” segment. While cutting her hair (she snipped off some herself), she explained she “grew up feeling ugly,” and that her hair was “bad” since it was curly. Surely internalizing damaging, Eurocentric beauty standards, grown-up Lachapel noticed it— and made a change.

Her final look was beautiful, and it finally made her “inner child” happy. For her, cutting her hair equaled lifting up her past self, and leading with authenticity. “I want to get to know the Francisca that God sent into this world”— and we’re so happy to meet her, too.

Over on Instagram, Lachapel said the haircut “liberated” her, was “healing,” and was all about “embracing” her identity.

Lachapel has experienced online harassment since being crowned “Nuestra Belleza Latina”

While Lachapel is confident and gorgeous just the way she is, she explains she has sadly been a victim of social media harassment since day one. On “Despierta America,” Lachapel says she first started being bullied online after being crowned “Nuestra Belleza Latina” in 2015.

She said, “I received a wave of negative comments… they compared my mom and I… to monkeys.” While that comment alone was clearly racist and disgusting, the Dominican star added that another user asked “How she won if she was ugly.”

Lachapel recalled how one particularly horrible comment questioned “How it felt to enter ‘Despierta America’ and know everyone was prettier” than her. With that user even telling her to “kill herself,” it makes sense that the host was traumatized. So much, in fact, that Lachapel considered talking to the show’s producer to possibly quit.

“Every time I saw that red light turn on… I felt so bad, I started believing that I wasn’t… pretty enough to be on TV, that they should give the opportunity to someone else.”

She also talked about social media harassment back in 2015

This isn’t the first time Lachapel has spoken out about social media bullying— in fact, she talked about it back in December 2015 when it was first happening. In the video, the host actually describes the exact same horrible comment, becoming emotional and tearing up. She says she received the message on Facebook, and actually saw it while she was on the “Despierta America” set.

After finishing filming, she went back home, and for two full days, “didn’t want to” be in front of cameras. She would finish work, go straight home, and get in bed. “I would go under the covers and I didn’t want anyone to speak to me.”

“I felt like a monster, I felt horrible, I didn’t want to be on TV.” As Lachapel puts it, just because she is a public figure doesn’t give others the right to say things like that.

She thanked having her family and God’s support for keeping the course, but warned how “you never know how people will react” to comments like that. “Let’s accept each other how we are, let’s respect each other.”

How did Lachapel overcome the harassment and grow “strong” enough to ignore the hateful comments? Going “back” to her beginnings. She talked to her mother and other loved ones about it, who all reminded her who she really is. They said, “God didn’t make you succeed just so you could quit your dreams. Keep going.”

Meanwhile, a friend of hers took over her social media so she could disconnect until becoming “stronger” to go back. We’re so happy she did, and love to see her blossom more and more everyday.