The Model Alliance did a study of models and found that 68% said they suffered from anxiety and depression (I unfortunately fell under this category.), 65% have been asked to lose weight by their agencies, 31% reported they had an eating disorder. Now you can imagine if 31% report they have an eating disorder then the percentage must be higher for those who either don’t recognize they actually do have an eating disorder or those who simply suffer from massive worry over what they eat and their weight. I fell under this second category. And although I did not exhibit eating disorder behavior, my internal struggle with my weight and food was tough to say the least. I can only imagine the pain and suffering a person goes through who has an actual eating disorder manifested.
After I read the study, it just dawned on me that I fell under these statistics. I was a statistic- NOT a great thought. It had never occurred to me that modeling had anything to do with my internal struggles. Of course, no one can say there is a direct causation that modeling causes depression and anxiety or that modeling directly causes eating disorders- but the percentages are so high- modeling must have some influence on depression. It must have some influence on anxiety and some influence on the way they feel about their bodies and eating disorders.
So there I was working as a model. I traveled around the world, did make-up campaigns like Revlon and Maybelline, hair campaigns like Loreal, designer clothing campaigns like Gucci and Max Mara, commercials like Oil of Olay and Crest and on and on. And with all my success and accolades from being a top model, often I was anxious and depressed and hating on myself about my weight and body. It never occurred to me that the profession I was in, the modeling profession, had an impact on those things. I simply thought I had character defects and weaknesses that made me depressed, anxious and hate on my body. I did not consider modeling had any effect on me in a negative way. My guess is that models suffer from the COMPARE AND DESPAIR game like all women do at some time or another.
How does this apply to you? Well, woman, let’s just say we have to be vigilant about our self-esteem and the self-esteem of the girls in our lives. Here are three tips to keep you aware and more in control of how you feel about yourself especially as it pertains to your body.
- Look at magazines for entertainment and information, NOT to compare yourself to the pictures. A simple reminder to yourself before picking up a woman’s magazine, “This is for enjoyment!” can make a difference.
- Notice how you feel and how you are speaking to yourself after you partake in certain media. How do you feel after watching a certain reality show or perusing a certain website? Feel worse than you did before? Consider ditching it or changing your attitude toward it.
- Remember that commercials are designed to make you NEED something. They play on women’s insecurities and promise that their product will make you finally totally and completely happy. Hey, I like a good moisturizer as much as the next girl, yet I remind myself that wrinkles happen and save myself the obsessive purchasing of one cream after another, after another……
Be well, Susan