Social media has allowed personalities to establish careers and brands that just wouldn’t have been possible just ten or fifteen years ago. The rise of Instagram allowed a former enlisted Air Force fighter jet mechanic to become a professional model and social media superstar.

Hope Howard went from the Air Force to Instagram and it’s paying off big time.

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According to her bio on her website, her path to where she is today wasn’t a straight one:

So as soon as I graduated high school I joined the United States Air Force and became a Fighter Jet Mechanic. At the age of 19 I was deployed to Afghanistan where I had an M-16 machine gun strapped to me pretty much 24/7. 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.

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Most importantly though I began to dream again and that’s when I started to become more mindful of the food I ate and began focusing on physical training. A fire started to burn inside me and it couldn’t be put out. Lifting weights and eating properly seriously saved my life!

While her time in the Air Force certainly shaped her future, Howard credits another event in her life with driving her to achieve even more:

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Fast forward 4 years, and I’m now an IFBB Bikini Professional, Personal Trainer and nearing the end of my 6 year enlistment with the military and my Grandma calls me and says she’s in the hospital and needs to have her leg removed. She made it through surgery but passed away 3 months later. She was my most favorite person in the whole world and I started to give up on my dream again but then I remembered something very important.

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My grandma told me “You have to live your life no matter what.” So from then on I decided to do just that. I decided to get out of the military and pursue fitness modeling and personal training full time. This way I could have the best of both worlds. I could model while helping others.

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Now, she has over 550,000 fans on Instagram alone, images of herself posted to the account regularly receive tens of thousands of Likes/comments, and she uses her fame to sell access to her workout routines and nutrition guides.

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