EXCLUSIVE: Bethany Mota Explains How She Overcame Bullying and Body Image Issues: 'It Was a Dark Time'

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Get ready to feel “Motavated!”

YouTube phenomenon Bethany Mota is telling all in her new book Make Your Mind Up, a memoir in which the 21-year-old explains how she overcame her struggles with bullying and body image at a young age.

“It was when Myspace was around, it was this page that [bullies] created and it looked like mine but all of the photos had mean captions, picking on my weight and just overall my body, and being 12, I never thought about my body that way,” Mota revealed to ET during a Facebook Live interview. “I never was like, ‘Oh maybe I need to lose weight, maybe I need to go on a diet.’ Those thoughts had never crossed my mind until that point so that’s kind of when I lost that innocence…”

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Writing the book seemed to be an equally cathartic yet challenging experience for Mota, who revealed she’s never confronted her bullies to this day.

“You really have to go into detail and so I had to allow myself to relive all of the emotions that I felt…I started feeling those feelings again and I started just remembering exactly what that felt like and it wasn't a good time, it was a dark time and it was a little scary.”

Mota’s followers on YouTube and social media know she’s committed to leading a healthy lifestyle, but she says that wasn’t always the case.

“I was always trying to look a specific way based on trends… I felt pressure to look a certain way and to make my body look a certain way, so when I would work out or eat healthy, I always did it because I wanted to look like this, to fit in and be accepted," she explained. "I never did it because I wanted to take care of my body, because I wanted to be healthy, because I wanted to nurture the body that I was given. I was doing it for all the wrong reasons.”

Specifically, Mota details in Make Your Mind Up that she used to weigh herself multiple times a day; a practice she calls “a trap, because you become obsessed with it.” She also added that she no longer owns a scale, and instead, focuses on working out and eating healthy to be “strong, not skinnier.”

Today, it’s undeniable that the brunette beauty is more secure and confident than ever. At 21, she’s already competed (and was a finalist!) on Dancing With the Stars, released her debut single, designed her own clothing line and fragrance with Aeropostale and still makes lifestyle videos for her loyal fanbase. But the question remains: Has anyone captured the young author’s heart?

After confirming she is currently single, Mota revealed, “I feel so happy right now and so content… I’m open to [love] and I don't think I was in that place a few years ago when I was battling with body image and self-love and having trouble accepting myself.”

Mota’s criteria for a potential mate? Someone who’s “passionate” and “challenges themselves.”

But there’s one thing that hasn’t changed through the years: Mota’s celebrity crush, former One Direction singer Niall Horan, who Mota said she still has yet to meet!

Make Your Mind Up
is available online and in bookstores now.