"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." This Chinese proverb rings true for Zimbabwe-born and United Kingdom-based fitness model Scola Dondo who has sculpted her once obese figure into a rare beauty.
When she posts a picture or video on social media, finding a negative in the comments section is a rarity.
But at 14, Dondo, who currently lives in Sussex, England was a hopeless victim of bullies who taunted her at school for her overweight body.
Seven years later, all the taxing gym workout hours have resulted in her striking look that has positioned her as a symbol of success among her followers, both young and old.
Currently a TV presenter on BBC's CBBC, the personal trainer and motivational blogger boasts of 238 527 followers on her YouTube channel and 46,1K followers on her Instagram page @scoladondo.
As promised in last week's edition, The Standard Style, reporter Kennedy Nyavaya (KN) caught up with Dondo (SD) who took us through her journey from obesity to the stunning beauty she has become. She states right from the beginning that she may be domicile in England but she is proudly Zimbabwean.
Below are excerpts from the interview.
KN: You have gained yoursel a lot of fame due to your hard work towards changing your physical appearance. Was this popularity premeditated?
SD: I didn't expect this at all. I just started documenting my journey and people started watching and asking more questions about being healthy.
KN: How do you feel now about both your popularity and the ability to influence thousands to live healthy lives through exercising?
SD: It's honestly such an honour to have that kind of positive impact. Knowing just one person out there felt compelled to become healthier after seeing what I've done makes me happy.
KN: What has your body transformation helped you achieve and had you ever imagined it would get you where you are currently?
SD: I would not be where I am now had I not gone through the transformation, not just physically but also mentally. Every opportunity I have gotten is down to that one decision I made to make a change to live healthier.
KN: When you were younger, what was your dream career and what goals have you set to achieve in the future?
SD: When I was young, I wanted to be a film director or editor. With YouTube, I still get to do that to some extent but honestly, right now I feel like I am living my dream. I have no goals other than to keep doing what makes me and others happy.
KN: Your family has a Zimbabwean history. How has that affected your work, taking into cognisance that your brand in the UK is now big?
SD: Being Zimbabwean has made a huge difference in my work. It was after a trip to Zimbabwe that I got inspired to start doing my Afro-beat dance workouts which are now the most popular videos on my channel. I am so proud to be Zimbabwean and it has helped me in my work a great deal.
KN: What is your advice to young girls around the world who have been laughed at or bullied in society as a result of their weight or physical appearance?
SD: Don't listen to negativity. Listen to your heart and what makes you happy. If you want to change your appearance, cool; if you don't, that's cool too. Just always make sure you're making decisions for you and no one else.
KN: Who is your role model and who mentors you?
SD: My mother. She is an amazing woman and she guides me in everything I do. My father and my sister help a great deal too, but nothing can beat a mother's wisdom.
KN: Finally, apart from exercise, what else do you enjoy doing?
SD: I love to travel and experience new places! When I'm not working, even taking a walk to somewhere in my town.
Authors: All Africa