Jessica Cediel is joining the growing list of Latin celebrities speaking out against cyberbullying and sharing their own experiences enduring Internet haters. In a recent interview with People en Español’s PEOPLE VIP to promote her new animated film Condorito: The Movie, the Colombian actress and TV host, 35, opened up about being bullied. In 2016, when she joined Univision as on-air talent, people tore her down on social media, criticizing her role as a host and making her doubt her abilities.
As this isn’t her first brush with verbal abuse online, the former model grasps that this is a widespread problem. “Bullying became a trend for many people unfortunately,” she said, adding that she relies on unshakeable self-love. “I am very clear about who I am, what my essence is, where I come from, who my family is, who my friends are, and above all, who God is. Since I’m very comfortable with my essence and my identity, I am not perturbed by rumors or what people may say.”
Cediel understands it’s the trolls who have issues. “People often feel frustrated, envious. Maybe someone sees you make a dream come true that she couldn’t realize herself, so you will always get attacked. But if you don’t let people’s bad intentions get to you, then you win.”
The best weapon against bullying, she says: “Never stop being yourself to please others.”
Previously, the actress was maligned for having plastic surgery. Cediel had a buttock injection procedure in 2009 that went wrong and had to undergo three additional reconstructive surgeries to fix the damage. In 2016, the actress opened up to Univision’s Despierta America about how injecting biopolymers in her glutes put her life in danger. “You feel like your life is over” she told host Karla Martinez. “When someone tells you: ‘You have plastic inside of you’ is very tough to hear and the only thing that cured me was a miracle. I asked God for forgiveness from the bottom of my heart, I asked myself for forgiveness.”
She added that speaking out against the dangers of plastic surgery was not easy. “People keep stigmatizing me for that to this day and I ask: ‘Why do people have to have so much resentment in their hearts?’ No one is perfect.”
“Millions of girls send me photos, ask me for help,” she said of other followers who also had plastic surgeries gone wrong. “Once you start investigating you see how women are deformed by this. It’s horrible. Some have to have amputations because that material gets too stuck and it kills your muscle and that part of your body.”
These traumatic experiences have not slowed her down. Since leaving Univision in 2016 — where she was one of the co-hosts of the now defunct entertainment show Sal y Pimienta — Cediel moved from Miami back to her native Colombia. She currently hosts the show La Vuelta Al Mundo En 80 Risas on Caracol TV and plays the role of Yayita in the animated film Condorito: The Movie, out in theaters.