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Meet the Plus-Size Lifeguard Who Is Going Viral for Challenging Stereotypes

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Courtney Harrough of Orlando, Florida, is a rare sight. Why? She’s a plus-size lifeguard. But Harrough is not allowing that label to define her because she worked just as hard as the rest of her colleagues to gain her official lifeguard certification. Get to know why this stunning role model is inspiring women of all shapes and sizes to achieve whatever they want in life.

Courtney Harrough Shares What It’s Really Like to Be a Plus-Size Lifeguard

Plus size lifeguard, Courtney Harrough

If you think becoming a lifeguard is all about looking good and running around the shore Baywatch style, then think again. Harrough describes the job as “physically demanding” and “cutthroat,” with the preliminary requirements including stamina, knowledge on first aid, and basic life-saving skills on and off the water.

Harrough has always loved swimming. Back in high school, she was part of the school’s water polo team. So it was no question that she decided to pursue a career as a lifeguard when she grew up.  But as she trained, she was bullied and criticized over her weight by her own peers. 

“A woman my height but three times smaller than me said, ‘I find it hard to believe you were an athletic swimmer,'” she told Refinery.

The 24-year-old shrugs off the rude comments by proving her critics wrong. Unfortunately, so-called fat stereotypes are nothing new. People have long developed a certain stigma toward working plus-size women. It is falsely believed that women who are fuller-figured are lazy and don’t have the stamina to do physically strenuous activities.  

Courtney Harrough

These negative stereotypes have created an impact on many women, and Harrough is looking to put an end to that once and for all. She took to Instagram to post this inspiring message:

“How many times have you set your sights on a job, a position in life, and doubted yourself? Uh, I have done that many times! Yesterday in my interview I was met with such excitement that I wanted to be a lifeguard by the board of my prospective employers. They informed me the Deep Water position is rigorous and can be tiring at times, I answered with a resounding ‘I have no doubt I can rise to the occasion and swim with the best of them!’ My weight and height may cause some to think that I’d only be a pleasantly perched beached whale upon a lifeguard stand—but that isn’t the case. My body is strong, sturdy, and sexy! I don’t have smooth legs or cut shoulders accented by tiny boobs like most of the girls in my class, but I have courage and a spirit to try. That is all is takes in this world. Carry yourself with courage my dear friends and do not let your size, shape, weight, or height be a factor of fear to your future endeavors!
Wish me luck as I dive in to save some folks and swim my butt off for a deep water lifeguard position.”

Harrough’s message extends beyond being a lifeguard. She has inspired women everywhere to rely on a positive self-image to achieve their own goals. 

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