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Women have grown up in a society where we are told we must look a certain way to get anywhere in life, unless we have money. Now those things are changing, but within fashion it hasn’t. We stare at billboards with beautiful women for a clothing line that is a size 2 but in reality, how many women are a size 2? Don’t get me wrong. I love looking at these women; they are beautiful, but are they the women we should be looking up to? Should we be looking to these women as body goals? These females have been genetically blessed. They may work to keep their bodies healthy but they are naturally skinny. I am a model, though I was not genetically blessed like some other models. I have to eat a certain way and do a specific workout to achieve and maintain my body. It took me four years to figure this out, and within that time I struggled with an eating disorder. I am not the first model to admit to being bulimic and I can promise you I won’t be the last. But we must start the conversation so young girls don’t end up in the places we have been.
When I first became bulimic, I knew exactly what I was doing. Sadly, I wasn’t surrounded by the best support system and had a father who tried to help but in all the wrong ways. He told me to starve myself, join a gym, puke, and he also told me to go low carb. I tried to starve myself and only ate one egg on one day and he said good job. I felt like shit; said fuck this, and went to the next thing he told me to. I joined a gym and I started to do a low carb diet and I survived (THANK THE LORD FOR BACON). I was doing well and I didn’t want to ruin my success, but it was close to Valentine’s day and Dunkin Donuts just came out with a new flavor for the holiday. All I could think about was this donut and I had to have it. I know it sounds really strange but when you grow up being able to eat ANYTHING and not gain an ounce and now you are on this severe diet… you want a freaking donut. So when my father went out of town one day for business I went to Dunkin and I bought the donut. While on line I was figuring out ways to have the donut, but not really have it. Should I chew and spit it out? Should I eat one bite and throw the rest away? Should I eat it and puke it back up? When I got to the counter I ordered two donuts, my favorite chocolate glaze and the new one. After paying I walked out and started to eat the donuts like it was the first meal I had in months. I won’t lie, it was totally attractive. I was on 2nd Ave just shoving these two donuts down my throat. After they were finished, I may have walked half a block when guilt just devoured me. Every horrible thought a girl could have about herself came rushing into my head. You disgusting fat slob, how could you do that? You’re already fat; what are you trying to do, never model again? Your father would be disappointed. Gross. Fat. Pathetic. These thoughts wouldn’t stop and then it happened. I looked up and down the street and no one was around. I took two fingers and started shoving them down my throat forcing myself to puke up the donuts. Once I felt I had vomited up all that was in my stomach, I took the Dunkin napkins and cleaned myself up. I felt sad. It was the first time I had ever done that… and sadly it wasn’t the last.
As time went on, my disorder became worse and worse. I kept it hidden for a solid year before anyone knew. I knew exactly what I was doing and I knew it was wrong, but bulimia is an addiction. It’s very hard to quit once you are addicted. At times I knew I couldn’t puke; for example, family events. I just didn’t eat. I’d lie and say I did, or I would eat one thing and say I was full. So yes you could say I was also anorexic at times.
After about three months of being deep into my disorder I finally hit my goal weight and goal size. I was so happy. I started seeing new agents and thinking I could finally get my career back after losing it because I was too “fat.” Sadly another issue came into play. My hair. I had chopped off all my hair for another job and then it didn’t work for the agencies who wanted the “money girl” look. Agency after agency told me they loved me and loved my body but didn’t know what to do with me because my hair was so short. I was crushed. I had “worked” so hard. Starved myself, ran for miles, and walked for hours at night to reach my goal only to be told my hair was too short. Cutting my hair wasn’t what I wanted to do in the first place because I wasn’t getting paid enough. This was something I literally couldn’t control. I was devastated, I had no idea what to do at this point. It would take an entire year to grow my hair out and I was stuck with nothing to do during this time. The modeling world had chewed me up and spit me out like nothing. They wanted me, but weren’t sure what to do with me. it was horrible. I was told all I had to do was fix my weight and I would be golden, yet when that happened there was another issue. It was a never ending cycle of being told I was worthless. This only made my disorder worse, which was the cause of my hair not growing fast enough as my body was deprived of nutrition. I just couldn’t win.
Finally my mother caught me puking on Thanksgiving and things started to look up. I got help from a nutritionist, and began calling my mom almost every day in order to keep me from sitting on my bathroom floor vomiting my morning coffee. (Yes, I was that bad). My mother herself had suffered from bulimia when she was in college so she knew how to help. It was doubly good because it helped my mother and I become closer. My mother worried and told me to stop modeling and to find a new career, but I refused. I refused because I realized I could be a voice for those who don’t have one. I could be a voice that young girls could listen to when they go into a dark place like I did. I took what happened to me and turned it into a positive. I wouldn’t let the industry win, and I wouldn’t let my father win either.
I sit here now almost two years free of my eating disorder. There are times that are much harder than others to continue and find myself sitting on the bathroom floor staring at the toilet but never actually puke. I just tell Siri to call my mom and stay on the phone with her till I stand up and walk out of the bathroom. Bulimia is a tough battle because you are fighting against yourself and food. Food you need to survive. The industry doesn’t want you to know these things. They want you to believe everything is perfect. That the fashion industry loves all people and all sizes. Its bullshit. They love one size and one size only… 34-24- 34; if you don’t meet that or at least 34-24- 35, you are fat!! They feed you some bullshit like “you just need to tone.” Or “ you’re so pretty but…” The modeling game is a hard game to play and the worst part is the ones who win the game tend to make the wrong impressions on young girls who end up like me, but aren’t trying to be models. They just want to look like them.
Now I ask you… is this the world you want your daughter to grow up in?