Melissa Blake, an accomplished journalist who has a disability, is no stranger to online trolls.
But recently, after she penned an opinion piece for a national news site, some commenters said she was too "ugly" to post selfies to social media.
"The comments had nothing to do with the content of my work, they were just insulting my looks," Blake told "Good Morning America."
Blake was born with the genetic condition of Freeman-Sheldon syndrome, a neuromusculoskeletal disorder. She has had 26 surgeries in her life.
"Usually the comments roll off my back," she said. "But it was really hurtful."
Blake came up with the best possible response to the trolls who said she shouldn't post selfies: she posted three.
During the last round of trollgate, people said that I should be banned from posting photos of myself because I’m too ugly. So I’d just like to commemorate the occasion with these 3 selfies... 📸😉👋🏻 pic.twitter.com/9ZuSYFOtwv— Melissa Blake (@melissablake) September 7, 2019
"I'm just defiant enough to do the opposite of what they want me to do," Blake told "GMA." "I thought, 'you will not get the best of me."'
That night, Blake, who writes about pop culture, relationships and other topics for such outlets as The New York Times, Cosmo, and CNN, as well as has a blog, gained 100 new Twitter followers. By the next morning, two thousand more. "I thought it was a glitch," she said.
It wasn't. In days since she tweeted her three selfies on Sept. 7, the post has been liked almost 300,000 times.
"I have heard from so many people, in all different countries, they're so glad to see something positive on social media for once," she said.
She's been challenging her followers to share their selfies too. "They tweet their own with the hashtag #MyBestSelfie and say something they love about themselves," Blake said.
While she wasn't lacking in self-confidence before, the recent events have made her more secure than ever, she told 'GMA."
"I hope this starts a conversation about disability. What we consider beautiful is so narrow," she said.
And she has a message for young people, one she wishes she could tell her younger self: "I would say not to care so much what other people think."