HOUSTON - For Claudia Sierra, years of bullying and teasing about her looks took a toll on the mother of two.
“Being bullied for my skin color, my nose, my heritage, my hair, my everything, and I would make fun of my own self with these kids that would make fun of me, and I brought it up all the way to an adult,” Sierra said.
Sierra said the bullying even carried over into romantic relationships.
“It was natural for me to be abused in relationships,” she said. “And then it went a step further, where the mental and the abuse words were not working, so this particular person thought, well, let me toss her around. I had a bar stool smashed on my head. I mean, on my nose, and it popped."
A survivor of domestic violence, Sierra also beat breast cancer.
Even after celebrating those victories, she continued to endure criticism about her appearance. One conversation in particular made her decide she was ready change the way she looked.
“I went on a date, and this man asked for my driver's license to confirm my age, and I said, 'I'm 41,' and I was so excited about it," Sierra said. "I had just finished having breast cancer, did the radiation. It was one of my first dates. I was super-excited. He looked at (my ID) and said, 'You look a lot older than that.’”
She went to Houston plastic surgeon Dr. Franklin Rose for consultation.
“I said, ‘Dr. Rose, I want you to change everything that has mentally hurt me. And I don't want to feel or look at that person anymore,’” Sierra said. “When you have cancer, there's a lot of sleep that is lost. And I felt a little weak, and I didn’t look rested, so we pulled my cheeks back. We did kind of
like a semi-facelift right here.”
Rose removed a bump in her nose, gave her breast implants, a tummy tuck and sculpted her abs.
“I feel like a woman again,” Sierra said.
Sierra said the entire makeover was inspired by a famous first lady: Melania Trump.
Sierra's surgeries were chronicled by television show Inside Edition and made headlines in the New York Daily News, turning her story into a media sensation and creating a backlash.
“I said I was inspired by her. I never said I wanted to look exactly like her," Sierra said. "Melania Trump is Melania Trump, and Claudia Sierra is Claudia Sierra."
Once people got wind of the story, Sierra said the bullying started again – this time on social media.
“Every night, at 3 or 4 in the morning, for some reason I wake up and I've got Google alerts, and I've got messages from random friends, and they're like, 'Gosh, can you believe what they're saying? Can you believe, can you believe? Claudia, you're just getting bashed. Did you see this picture they put out on you?'"
When asked what she wants people to really know about her, Sierra's response was simple.
“I feel so good, and I'm so healthy, and I wish the people that are judging me and insulting me would say, 'You know what, if I could, I would.' Let me enjoy it. Let me have this moment,” she said.
Sierra said although hurtful, the entire ordeal has made her stronger. She said she now plans to write a book on bullying and use it to encourage children and adults who have been bullied, as well as help women who have been the victims of domestic abuse.
Click around the photo to see which procedures Sierra has had.
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