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I was called a freak for having no belly button — now I earn six figures as a fitness influencer

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A UK CrossFit athlete has lived her entire life without a belly button after receiving emergency surgery to treat a life-threatening condition at birth.

Despite the gastrointestinal fix that closed the gap, the Brit has won several fitness tournaments and now earns thousands of dollars by modeling her unique looks.

“You’ve got to learn to love your body and find a way to do that,” Kirsty Stroud, 35, who frequently posts pics of her body for her 150,000 Instagram followers, told Caters News Agency of her struggle.

The Folkestone, Kent, suffered from a condition called gastroschisis, a birth defect in which a baby’s intestines poke through a hole in the abdominal wall near the belly button, sometimes along with other organs.

“I think not having a belly button makes me really sad,” said Stroud. “I see all these girls in the industry that I have met who have bits and bobs but don’t love their bodies.” @kirsty_stroud31 / CATERS NEWS

Stroud’s case was so bad that she was born with her stomach, kidneys and intestines on the outside of her body.

After her mom had an emergency C-section, doctors were forced to perform emergency surgery to turn the premature tot outside in. While they managed to save her life, the operation left Stroud without a belly button and with a scar on her stomach.

Her appearance made her the subject of ridicule growing up.

“I was really ashamed of my scar because no one really understood, and they just took the mick quite a lot,” Stroud recounted. “I’d always get the snide remarks about not having a belly button and being labeled as a freak. I remember one girl telling me that my doctor could have made my scar a little bit neater.”

She was reportedly so embarrassed that she refused to wear a bikini or take her top off during gym class to prevent people from seeing her lack of a gap.

Stroud’s body confidence soared after she joined Crossfit. @kirsty_stroud31 / CATERS NEWS
“As a girl during secondary school I was always the girl who wouldn’t wear a bikini or take my top off in the gym when we had PE so no one saw my stomach,” said Stroud. @kirsty_stroud31 / CATERS NEWS

While the Brit couldn’t change this part of herself, she felt she could fill the hole in another way — by dedicating her life to exercise. When Stroud turned 25, she joined CrossFit, which allowed her to pack on some serious muscle and improve her overall fitness.

“In CrossFit, I was to be able to climb a rope faster, swim really well and perform better,” the bodybuilding Brit described. “I have to eat really well and train four to five hours a day.”

The avid fitness fanatic even competed on the international stage, winning several fitness tournaments, including the UK’s Battle of Britain and CrossFit’s French Throwdown.

Stroud rakes in six figures selling snaps of her body online. @kirsty_stroud31 / CATERS NEWS

The Brit’s buff physique caused her body confidence to soar.

In fact, Stroud, who delivered food for a grocery store at the time, decided to capitalize on her unique look by flaunting her newly-ripped and belly button-less body online for cash.

After setting up an OnlyFans account during the COVID-19 pandemic, Stroud tripled her income to the point that she was making nearly $40,000 per month, which allowed her to quit her delivery gig.

She now earns a six-figure salary thanks to the porn platform (and other online sources).

Despite her incredible metamorphosis, Stroud couldn’t escape being ridiculed by others.

“I don’t really care how I look in regards to that, but people just decide that I look like a man,” the Crossfit athlete lamented. “It first happened last year when I was on a podcast and I just got trolled so badly, the comments were horrible.

She said the one silver lining was that she “tripled” her income that month because the bullying directed a ton of attention to her OF page.

Thankfully, Stroud’s body confidence is such that she doesn’t let trolls push her buttons.

In fact, she’s embraced this abdominal absence to the point she won’t even get an operation to change it, explaining: “I could go and have plastic surgery if I wanted to get a belly button put in, but I’m just going to leave it.”

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