A lot of people want to have a famous online presence, but only a few manage to attain it. Lauren Drain, 31, is one of the few who managed to gain a large online following because of her fitness posts and racy snaps.
Drain, a fitness coach from Florida, is enjoying a healthy and happy lifestyle that most people envy. But Drain never takes her success for granted because she worked really hard to achieve it. Before making it big as an Instagram star, Drain actually used to be a member of the Westboro Baptist Church.
It was her father, Steven Drain, 51, who got the whole family involved in church. Drain told the Mirror that she enjoyed a normal life before her father decided to follow the church and its harsh views, so she was forced to cut ties with all of her old friends and embrace a new lifestyle.
"When he told me we were joining the church, I had a mixture of emotions. Nervous and curious - but without any options really," she said. "I trusted that my father wanted what was best for our family but I was definitely hesitant and I had no idea how much my life would change."
Drain was taught that the Westboro Baptist Church is the only "true church" left in America, and those who do not belong to their circle will face hell, death, disease and destruction.
Things got too much for Drain when she was forced to picket a child's funeral and tell grieving relatives that the child's death is God's punishment for not following the path of righteousness. She tried to remain as out of sight as possible when members of the church carried signs that read, "You're Going to Hell."
"We had always protested odd events, but when the church sent me to picket an innocent child's funeral, I felt ashamed and disgusted," she revealed.
She left the church at the age of 21, after her father kicked her out for sending an e-mail to someone who did not belong to the church. Drain left behind her whole family including her sister, Taylor, 26, brother Boaz, 15, and youngest sister, Faith, 13.
"I fell into a deep depression after my father cut me off from my family. I tried multiple times to contact my mother and reason with my family that I still desired to serve God. Losing three siblings and both of your parents all at once is one of the most heartbreaking traumas and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy," she shared.
But Drain managed to pick up the pieces of her life and start anew. She continued her career as a nurse and three years ago, she began to transform her life by being a fitness coach. Drain even managed to find love and happiness again when she married her husband, David Kagan, in February 2013.
Drain, who now has 3.7 million followers on Instagram, credits both God's mercy and fitness for saving her life. "Fitness saved my life. It's an excellent way to push your body physically through hard times and causes you to develop a mental strength you didn't think was possible," she said. "It's very therapeutic but I wouldn't attribute all of my success to fitness. I attribute it to my continued belief in a merciful God and meeting so many kind and inspiring people throughout my life."
She is now sharing her passion for health and fitness to everybody else who wants to transform their lives. Drain wrote on her blog that everybody deserves "to feel more energetic, to feel more in control of your life and body" so they should start taking better care of themselves.