Published: 11:52 BST, 30 April 2018 | Updated: 17:10 BST, 30 April 2018
Ex-Coronation Street actress Melissa Johns who was branded a 'freak' for being born with half an arm has posed in a sizzling new shoot.
The actress, 27, from Manchester, has taken part in the photoshoot to encourage others to re-consider their views about disability.
Melissa, who played Imogen Pascoe in Coronation Street, said she became self-conscious of her disability in her teens, when she started covering it beneath cardigans and jumpers.
She recalled how when she was just 18, a man she met at a nightclub left her vile voicemails calling her a 'freak' and saying she didn't 'deserve to be alive'.
However, the actress says she felt more confident showing her arm in public again after seeing Charlize Theron performance in the 2015 hit Mad Max: Fury Road, as a 'sexy, strong, bad ass' character with a limb difference.
Ex-Coronation Street actress Melissa Johns, who was born with half an arm, has posed in a sizzling new photoshoot
The actress, 27, from Manchester, has taken part in the shoot to encourage others to re-consider their views about disability
Melissa explained how she decided to pose in the sexy photoshoot to take back control of her body, after nude photographs she sent to her partner were hacked earlier this year.
'The shoot allowed me to take back ownership, somebody completely disrespected me by hacking into a private exchange between me and my partner,' she said.
'Those images are online and I can do nothing about that, but I am proud of how I reacted and how I have fought back.
'I want to spend time building up our girls and women so they feel confident and celebrate the body they were given.
Melissa appeared in Coronation Street (pictured on the soap) as Imogen Pascoe last year, as part of their lesbian love triangle storyline
'Then should something happen they can deal with it and feel like they don't have to go into hiding.'
Melissa described how she spent years 'despising' her body, after receiving vile comments from complete strangers.
'I was in a nightclub and was dancing with this lad, we were getting on well and he asked my friend if he could have my number, I didn't see him for the rest of the night,' she recalled.
'The next morning, I woke up with so many missed calls and voicemails and was so excited that I had butterflies in my tummy.
'I listened to them and he said things like, 'You manipulative little b, how dare you trick me', 'Freaks like you don't deserve to be alive' and a splurge of not very nice things.'
She added: 'When I was 19, a girl said something that stuck with me for years: 'YOU have a boyfriend? Really? Well how does he feel about having to have sex with you?'
Melissa recalled how she was branded a 'freak' and told she didn't 'deserve to be alive' when she was in her teens
The actress said it led to her 'despising her body' and hating the way she looked in the mirror
'This feeling of ugliness and disgust resonated with me throughout my teens and early twenties.
'It resulted in me despising my body and loathing the way I looked every time I saw myself in the mirror or in photos.
'I saw everyone else around me as this perfectly cut, sparkly little gem. And then there was me. This uncut, grey stone that got in the way. Hating my body because of my disability was draining.'
However, Melissa said she was able to change how she felt about her body after seeing Charlize Theron star in Mad Max: Fury Road.
'It took up so much energy and at 25, after years of despising the body I was given, I decided I had to change the way I felt about myself,' she explained.
Melissa explained how she took part in the photoshoot to take back 'ownership' of her body
The actress had nude photographs she sent to her partner leaked online earlier this year
'A few years ago, I watched Mad Max at the cinema. Charlize Theron played a character with one arm.
'Seeing this strong, sexy, bad ass woman with one arm on the screen made me feel so unbelievably empowered that as we left the cinema, for the first time in so long, I took my cardigan off, I gestured with both of my arms, I didn't hide away.
'I was showing off my body. Because I knew that the majority of people in that cinema had looked at Charlize Theron's character and had seen what I saw.;
Melissa continued: 'I had to work hard to undo all of this negativity I had created around my image. That took about two years. But it was so worth it.
'I love my disability and body difference. I wouldn't have it any other way.'
Melissa says she felt more confident showing her arm in public again after seeing Charlize Theron performance in the 2015 hit Mad Max: Fury Road
The actress later entered a fitness competition, which led her to eventually share the first picture of her limb difference online two years ago
Now, Melissa has posed for charity Models of Diversity in a series of stunning shots, showing her modelling pieces from ASOS and Swimsuit for All.
Her limb difference was first noticed after her birth, never showing on scans and even doctors were hesitant to tell parents Sara and Mike.
She said: 'My parents had no idea, it didn't show up on any of the scans and were not for the first hour, which shows how they approached disability in the 90s.
'They wrapped me up and tucked my arm inside, telling my parents I was perfect, it was only because I was taken off that my dad sensed something wasn't right.
For Melissa, that feeling of being the 'elephant in the room' didn't manifest until her teen years when she became more self-conscious, started liking boys and noticed her body change.
Melissa described how she used to hide her arm in photographs when she was younger
The actress (far right, with friends) would make sure her arm was hidden from view
Her embarrassment developed into a fixation upon hiding her limb, which left her pre-planning her every action, often performing elaborate movements to ensure nobody would notice.
She said: 'It was an art-form, I would trick people into thinking I had two hands, it was really draining and tiring to do every day.
'When I got off the bus [for an under 18s night] I would have to walk past the boys' line, it was on the side where they could see my arm.
'So I would run ahead pretending to have seen someone I knew, then walk backwards.
'I would calculate how to sit, stand, every movement and would hold people's gaze, in the belief that they wouldn't look below my collarbone.'
Melissa gradually had the confidence to take her hoodie off when working out at the gym
Even in the dating world, prior to meeting rugby player partner Mat Swain, 26, she would disguise the fact that she had a limb difference.
She added: 'I used to be so scared that people would be nasty and reject me because of it, I wanted them to get to know me as much as possible before anything else.'
However, Melissa later entered a fitness competition, which led her to eventually share the first picture of her limb difference online two years ago.
Explaining the goal she set herself, Melissa said: 'My focus was my boyfriend's rugby dinner and dance to be able to go and leave my cardigan at home.
'For the first time I took my hoodie off at the gym instead of judgemental looks, people were like 'fair play' for lifting weights, 'What's my excuse.'
Melissa's limb difference was first noticed after her birth, never showing up on any scans. She is pictured her at 18 months old
'They were so supportive that I decided to post my first picture showing my arm on social media.
'The comments, support and love people showed was so lovely, all their beautifully wonderful words glued back these cracks that had appeared of the years.
'It was such a nice feeling I kept going with it, it made me stronger and stronger. From there it took a good two years but that skyrocketed it.'
Last year, while celebrating being the winner of the 2016 competition Highway to Well Fitness challenge in Los Angeles, she discovered she had landed a role on Coronation Street.
Melissa appeared in nine episodes as Imogen Pascoe, who featured in the ITV soap's lesbian love triangle storyline.
Melissa (pictured at the age of 11) said her disability never bothered her until she reached her teen years
Now, the actress is working alongside charities to alter the representation of people with disabilities in the media, TV and film.
Melissa said: 'I grew-up not seeing anyone looking like me, now I strive for perfection and being given a profile and platform I want to do good.
'I genuinely know what it feels like to hate the way you look and I know all the experiences that come with that, I want to show that disabled bodies and body differences are magical.
'I am not a sexual fetish. I am not a tick box to prove equal opportunities. I am not even here just to show representation.
'I'm an individual that has a different body shape from the 'norm' and I have the right to so be raw, sexy, intimate and real.'
Melissa hopes that campaigns from charities like Models Of Diversity, which works to challenge common perceptions of disability ,will help to reverse the tide of low representation for people with disabilities and differences.
She said: 'It's time for everyone to play their part. Clothing brands, advertisement companies, businesses that market products.
'It's time for everyone to think: 'What can I do to represent the 20% of the population that are currently completely under represented?'
A spokesperson for Models of Diveristy added: 'To us Melissa represents the 13 million disabled people living in the UK who feel that they don't fit in.
'She's a young women, who loves fashion but for so long hid her disability as there was no one like her in any media, TV shows or fashion campaigns.
'To have her on board as an ambassador means that people, who for so long have felt like she did, can see that their disability doesn't need to define them or stop them living their dreams.
'She embraces her disability, chases her dreams and doesn't give up! We can only hope this inspires people with disabilities, and we urge them to join us in confronting brands to ask why they are not being represented in their campaigns.'