Tayja Jones felt beautiful in her sequined prom dress — so the 17-year-old decided to share a photo of herself on Instagram. “I made a status when I came home from prom that night, and it said, like, I enjoyed myself and I’m happy. I had fun,” the high school junior from Pottstown, Pennsylvania, told Fox 29. When Jones woke up the next morning, she discovered her post had been flooded with hateful comments about her size.
“There were just like so many rude remarks and negative comments about how I looked. People I didn’t know were like, ‘That dress is not for her,’ ‘she looks like a fat something,’” Jones, 17, told Fox 29. “It was just really hurtful because I was so confident the day before, and it changed my view of myself.” The soft-spoken teen was so humiliated, she updated her status on social media to say she wished she had never gone to prom.
Her mother, Natina Parker, was equally devastated. “She was just really depressed and sad,” Parker revealed to Fox 29. “She doesn’t want to go out of the house. She doesn’t want to go to school.”
Thankfully, thousands of people rushed to Jones’ defense, posting tweets with the hashtag #TeamTayja. One of her A-list supporters: Kelly Rowland, who wrote: “Tayja Jones you are beautiful and fabulous doll!”
Though Jones is still struggling with her self-esteem, she offered words of wisdom to others who might find themselves in the same situation. “You should know who you are inside, and the outside shouldn’t affect the inner you,” she told Fox 29. “Just stay strong.”
Read Tayja’s tweets of support:
Tayja Jones you are beautiful and fabulous doll! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/M7m2amAFkI
— KELENDRIA ROWLAND (@KELLYROWLAND) May 3, 2016
Man, I WISH my hair looked that good at prom…or at any of the weddings I've been in. Love the skirt of that dress, too! <333 #TeamTayja
— Katelyn Delvaux (@kadelvaux) May 8, 2016
— sam (@samhartxo) May 8, 2016
That Girl Looked Beautiful For Prom. Karma Is Gonna Get Those Folks That Talked Bad About Her. Bullying Really Has To Stop #TeamTayja ??
— A ✨ (@GxldieLocs) May 2, 2016
— Tyema Sanchez (@BeingTyema) May 3, 2016