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.
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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
Surviving High School is available now.