This Afghan War Army Veteran Is Now a Badass Instagram Model

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Hope Isabel Howard has gained more than 580,000 Instagram followers for a couple of reasons — she has a flawless selfie game, but she also has an inspiring story to tell.

From the age of five years old, she wanted to be a model. But as she grew older, something else grew and that was a deep desire to help people. “As you can imagine, the world of modeling can be very vain and the business of helping people well, it is everything but vain,” she writes on her website.

“At the age of nineteen I was deployed to Afghanistan where I had an M-16 machine gun strapped to me pretty much 24/7,” she said. “This was both the worst and best experience of my life because I did an immense amount of growing and began to see the world differently.”

She credits lifting weights and eating properly to saving her life.

“My grandma told me, ‘You have to live your life no matter what,’ so from then on I decided to do just that,” she said.

Hope emphasizes that her aim is not for others to look or be like her, but to help them in their personal and unique fitness journeys.

“My goal as a personal trainer is not to make you feel like you need improvement, but to offer guidance and advice if you want to make a change.”

“I don’t come from privilege and I know what it means to be poor, but I’m not embarrassed about it,” she said. “I’ve had to fight extremely hard to get to where I’m at, and I have so much farther to go.” We’re all just a work in progress.