She was bullied relentlessly and resorted to hiding behind baggy hoodies and trousers, just to avoid the torment of her perpetrators.
But Elena Vanet has now found an odd way to combat the bullying: the 26-year-old, also known as Undecided Vee, has become a living doll.
“I was bullied and I felt so ugly and bad about myself and would question why I should bother dressing up because I thought I wouldn’t look good anyway,” she says.
“Being a living doll is a reason to get dressed up. It is a reason for always trying to look nice.”
Elena, from New Jersey in the United States, spends 40 minutes doing her makeup in the morning and two hours perfecting her look.
But no amount of time is too much for her.
“If you feel awesome then you are awesome.”
Elena, who is training to be a nurse, says being a living doll has helped her perfect her sewing, wig styling and makeup skills.
“Before I became a living doll I hardly ever wore makeup or nice clothing, I thought, I'm just going grocery shopping, I'm just going to school, I'm just going to the movies, no one will see me, everyone is watching the movie, why should I bother getting dressed up,” she says.
Even though she's found a way to deal with it through being a living doll, the 26-year-old admits she still falls victim to nasty stares and hurtful comments.
“Most of the reactions are positive or curious.
“Occasionally, I get a negative reaction from people whispering loudly to their friends something like, ‘look at that freak’. Or groups of usually middle school girls look at me and then turn back to their group and start laughing.”
But she’s now learned to deal with it.
“I make myself feel better by looking in the mirror and looking down at my outfit and reminding myself that I think it looks cool.”
Because, as the quirky nurse-in-training says, if you feel awesome then you are awesome.