Brooke Birmingham is the picture of how hard work and dedication to losing weight can pay off.
Unfortunately, she ran into a situation where her weight loss picture wasn't welcome.
Brooke, a 28-year-old blogger from Quad Cities, Ill., has lost more than 170 pounds over the past four-and-half years, which is beyond incredible. She chronicled it all on her blog Brooke: Not On a Diet, and it caught the attention of Shape magazine. They wanted to feature her weight loss triumph in their Success Stories series. You know the ones. Just regular people losing weight in incredible ways, and Brooke's story definitely deserved to be shared.
Except when it came time for her to share her "after" photo. She submitted the below photo of herself in a bikini to Shape, but it was rejected by the writer handling her feature.
Brooke was told to submit a different photo, one of herself covered up in a tee because it was "policy." But if you are familiar with Shape's Success Stories, you know that's not true. There are plenty of people not covered up in their "after" photo. Case in point.
Obviously, this offended Brooke, but the writer reiterated that it was Shape's "editorial to be fully clothed, simple as that." Finally, Brooke decided not to share her photos or story with Shape.
"If I couldn't have the picture of me in my bikini to go along with my story, then it wasn't MY story," she wrote on her blog (which is currently down due to increased traffic). "The story I wanted to tell and shout out to the world, not their ideal story. So, if I couldn't tell it my way, then they weren't going to be able to tell it at all."
However, Shape magazine insists that what happened with Brooke was a "misunderstanding" with their freelance writer.
"This is a result of a misunderstanding with a freelance writer. This does not represent Shape's editorial values and the comments made about Shape's 'editorial policy' are absolutely untrue," a spokesperson for Shape tells E! News. "Shape prides itself on empowering and celebrating women like Brooke, and any indication that we would not run the piece with the photo provided was wrong, as we would have been proud to share her inspirational story."
Well, we are very happy to share Brooke's story now. You rule, girl. And we think you look beautiful and you are most definitely an inspiration to those looking for the drive to live healthier.
According to Brooke's Twitter, she is currently working on getting her blog back up so people can read about her experience with Shape and other tales from her journey to lose 170 pounds.