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Woman with ileostomy bag becomes a world champion fitness model

While it's now 2018, and we're all feeling empowered after seeing the display of female solidarity at this year's Golden Globes ceremony (big up the Time's Up movement), when it comes to body positivity and beauty standards, the women of the world still have a lot of work to do. The mass media continues to inundate our news feeds with images of flawless, and clearly retouched models - all of whom sport washboard abs, long-lithe limbs and the kind of facial symmetry that you only see on Barbie dolls. Yes, while we're seemingly more committed than ever to stamping out everyday sexism and harassment, women are still feeling the pressure to conform to society's near-impossible beauty standards.

There are certain people, however, who are committed to championing greater diversity. And one such individual is Zoey Wright, who has just become a world champion fitness model despite suffering from ulcerative colitis, a form of inflammatory bowel disease.

25-year old Zoey Wright has just become a world champion fitness model in spite of her long-term struggle with ulcerative colitis. The potentially life-threatening condition causes ulceration and inflammation of the large intestine. And it can be debilitating, causing severe abdominal cramps, rectal bleeding and fatigue. The fitness model's UC got so out of hand that she ended up having to have an ileostomy ostomy bag fitted in a life-saving surgery. The procedure involves having the small intestine brought out, and stitched to the front of the abdomen. The ileostomy ostomy bag or "stoma bag" then collects waste.

Zoey's diagnosis came in 2012 after she noticed that her weight had started to plummet rapidly. Doctors discovered that this was her body's natural response to her bowel wall coming under attack by white blood cells. After this process caused ulceration to the lining of her large intestine, Zoey was forced to endure chronic pain. And despite trying endless drugs and hospital admissions which left her feeling more defeated than ever, the fitness model decided to undergo ileostomy surgery in November 2014.

But Zoey didn't let this whole ordeal get her down. After turning to bodybuilding as a form of escape, Zoe stepped on stage as a fitness model for the first time, just ten months after the life-changing surgery. And she even won two categories.

Since then, she's gone from strength to strength and has become the Overall World Champion for the largest growing fitness modelling federation in the UK - Pure Elite. And just last week, Zoey came first in a national competition to become the face of the leading sports nutrition brand, USN.

Speaking about the last few years of her life, Zoey said:

"After my surgery three years ago I never thought I’d be where I am today. I’m so excited to work with USN and can’t wait to help promote their ethos, ‘challenge yourself’ – something I live by every single day! I’ve been through some extremely tough times accepting my illness.

"As a young female having the surgery had a massive impact on my body confidence, so when I chose to become a fitness model and step on stage it was really about stepping out of my comfort zone. In such an image ordinated industry I wanted to share my journey and reach women and men from all over the world to inspire them to challenge themselves every single day. I think we must all learn to embrace the fact we all have flaws."

In other health-related news, a letter from a 27-year-old woman who was dying from cancer will change how you approach life.