Woman in tears after being 'fat shamed' at Melbourne Airport: 'Never OK'

A cruel remark made by a shop assistant at Melbourne airport left a woman in tears after she visited a clothing store inside the terminal on Monday.

Kayla Houlihan, an Australian skincare fonder and beauty blogger, said her flight was delayed so she decided to go shopping at Rip Curl.

But it was a "big mistake", the founder of Tribe Skincare said, and what followed was an hour of crying.

Ms Houlihan detailed her upsetting encounter in a series of videos on social media. She said the comment made by a Rip Curl staff member shattered her confidence ahead of her quick break to Queensland.

Tribe Skincare founder Kayla Houlihan after Melbourne airport incident
Australian skincare founder Kayla Houlihan said she was fat shamed at Melbourne airport on Monday. Source: TikTok/TribeSkincare

"I’ve just spent the last hour crying at Melbourne Airport," the teary-eyed business owner told followers on Monday.

"I was just going about my business, shopping around for some clothes, and the lady who was there was like, ‘Oh, how far along are you?’," she recalled.

The comment shocked Ms Houlihan, who struggled to find the words. The skincare founder confirmed "I'm not pregnant" and so was thrown by the remark.

After informing the shop assistant that she wasn't expecting, she was allegedly told, "I’m so sorry, I just thought you looked pregnant."

"Now I have to go to Queensland and wear a bikini on my holiday because that's all I have with me after being fat shamed," she said in her video.

In the onscreen text, Ms Houlihan added that she's "sick of a lifetime of people commenting on my body".

Worker called out for 'hurtful' comment

Hundreds of people flocked to the comments in support of Ms Houlihan. Many called on Rip Curl to "do better.

Others said "it's never ok" to comment on a woman's body, even if someone "looks nine months' pregnant".

Some pointed out that certain health conditions can cause bloated bellies and that strangers asking about pregnancies can be hurtful.

"If you don’t know the person why comment? I’m so sorry this happened to you. Sending positive vibes," one said.

"Oh hun what a horrible experience. Own that bikini in Queensland, you are so beautiful and deserve to feel great," another added.

Melbourne airport
The skincare founder was waiting for her flight at Melbourne airport when she decided to go shopping

Rip Curl apologises

Yahoo News Australia contacted Rip Curl but has not heard back.

In a statement to news.com.au the clothing brand apologised to Ms Houlihan on behalf of its staff member at the Melbourne airport store.

"We have been alerted to an upsetting situation that occurred within one of our stores on Monday," a spokesperson said

"As a brand that celebrates and empowers all women, we are saddened to learn a customer has had this experience."

The company also said it had been in contact with the customer directly "to apologise and to discuss this misunderstanding further".

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