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Vine Star Lele Pons on Her Brutal Experience with High School Bullies: 'They Would Throw Food at Me'

Lele Pons: Vine Star on Bullying
Lele Pons
Elliot and Erick Jimenez

04/16/2016 AT 02:50 PM EDT

Lele Pons may be one of the popular kids on Vine, but in high school she was anything but the Queen Bee.

As a self-described "socially awkward" teen, the Venezuelan immigrant struggled with English at first and says she was bullied every day at her Miami school.

"People threw food at me and sang songs about how ugly I was," she says in the current issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.

When she started posting comedy videos on Vine, her social status rose.



"But I knew my true friends were the ones who'd been with me since the beginning," says Pons, 19, who now has 10.8 million followers on Vine.

RELATED VIDEO: Inside a Vine Star's Night Out with Justin Beiber


Now, Pons hopes to help others with her new novel Surviving High School.

For more on Pons, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now

Vine Star Lele Pons on Her Brutal Experience with High School Bullies: 'They Would Throw Food at Me'| Real People Stories

Natalie Wood on the cover of this week's PEOPLE magazine

"I hope this book can help provide a guide in some way," says Pons. "Because if you can deal with the problems you face in high school, you can handle anything."

Surviving High School is available now.
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