An Air Force veteran has overcome mental health struggles to become a successful model.
After leaving the military, Aleen N. Johnson shot to fame on Instagram.
She has 174,000 followers on the platform, where she often speaks about mental health.
The 24-year-old also shares glamorous pictures on her page, which is probably why she’s caught the attention of FHM and Playboy.
In recent months, the stunning influencer has become a cover star.
She hopes sharing her story will inspire others who are in a dark place at the moment.
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Aleen’s battle with her mental health began when she was a teenager.
Cruel bullies made her life difficult, but she bottled her feelings out of fear no one would understand.
The Instagram star recalls: “At the age of 15, I attempted my first suicide due to years of continuous bullying, verbal abuse and harassment from other students.
“Instead of seeking help, I kept it all inside because I did not feel like anyone would actively take the proper routes of helping me on a personal level.”
Aged 18, Aleen attempted to leave this life behind her by joining the military.
She hoped joining the Air Force would give her a sense of purpose, but she continued to battle demons.
Aleen said: “So many of us suffer from battle wounds called PTSD, depression, anxiety etc.
“And yet, changes aren’t made because of the unfortunate invisibility of these wounds.
"As service members we hide our pain behind temporary satisfactions because taking care of our mental health could not only target us as incapable and unreliable in our work environments.”
As the military lass struggled with her mental health, she attempted suicide for a second time.
This led to Aleen being hospitalised.
After she was cared for in hospital, Aleen decided to follow a different path in life.
She got into fitness, but refused to give up her love for pizza as she lifted herself out of depression.
The veteran explained: “I knew I needed to make a change, and I was willing to take risks.
“In June 2019 I competed in my first powerlifting competition placing 2nd in Junior – all while promoting my obsession for pizza.”
The gym bunny’s toned figure and vibrant personality has helped her to shoot to fame on Instagram.
She has since garnered thousands of followers on the platform.
Aleen has also landed modelling deals, appearing on the front covers of Playboy and FHM.
She is chuffed with her achievements, commenting: “I am still shell shocked to see myself on the cover of these two well-established magazines.
“But I’ve fought to be where I am today and it just goes to show that when you stop allowing others to dictate your future and your happiness, you can go far.
“I will continue to be a voice for those who feel like they don’t have one and although I have my own triggers and battles to overcome daily.”
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The influencer added: “The shoots were everything I could have asked for and my photographers made me feel worthy…
"I hope I can be the woman who built her own confidence by building up others.
"Not a product of my mental illnesses, not caring about being accepted by people who can't even accept themselves.
“I just want to be the Pizza Girl.”
If you are affected by any of the issues in this story, emotional support is available.
You can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.
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