Being a Victoria's Secret model seems like an amazing job — you get paid to work out and look beautiful. But it comes at a price. Former VS model Erin Heatherton, who walked in the brand's famous fashion show from 2008 to 2013, opens up about her personal struggles with body image.
A few years into her career as a model, Erin began feeling the pressures of looking a certain, perfect way. She told Time magazine's Motto, "my last two Victoria's Secret shows, I was told I had to lose weight." At first she tried to conform to these ideals, eating healthy and working out twice a day, but her body just wouldn't do it. Erin admits, "I was really depressed because I was working so hard and I felt like my body was resisting me. And I got to a point where one night I got home from a workout and I remember staring at my food and thinking maybe I should just not eat."
After her last show in 2013, she left saying, "I realized I couldn't go out into the world — parading my body and myself in front of all these women who look up to me — and tell them that this is easy and simple and everyone can do this."
Even three years since leaving Victoria's Secret, the pressures Erin faced are still on her mind. She opened up a few weeks ago on Instagram saying, "I was struggling with my body image and the pressures to fulfill the demands of perfectionism upon me. I am not perfect . . . Through this struggle, however, I found the strength to love myself." In the photo, she showed off a t-shirt from Empowered by You's campaign that inspires women to share their stories and empower others. Erin hopes speaking out will help other women struggling with body image, and to encourage them to also be true to themselves.
The breakdown to breakthrough moment in my life has allowed me to become the truest version of myself. In my moment of "failure," I stood in the face of adversity. I was struggling with my body image and the pressures to fulfill the demands of perfectionism upon me. I am not perfect. Through this struggle, however, I found the strength to love myself. I stood in my power. I thought of one of my favorite quotes, "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a men's character, give him power" - Abraham Lincoln. I look back on that moment now, and I embrace it. This feeling I once perceived as "failure" was, in truth, a powerful awakening for me to stand behind my purpose in life. I stepped away from hiding behind a fabricated version of myself. I no longer put actions behind my fears and insecurities. I made a choice to redirect my energy to be a catalyst for change. To create a channel for women to become the truest versions of themselves, along with me. (Stay tuned for more...) In the end, if you aren't being true to yourself, then what the fuck is the point. #rebelwacause #empowerment #womensempowerment#empoweredbyyou
Erin says, "I'm willing to sacrifice my pride, in a sense, and my privacy because I know that if I don't speak about it, I could be withholding information that would really help women. It hurts too much to keep it in, and that's why I'm not keeping it in now." We applaud her bravery and honesty. It makes us feel much better to know that even the women in the media portraying these perfect bodies find it impossible to achieve and maintain these standards. We're ready to see real women showing their real bodies, and maybe if more models speak out like Erin did, the standards will change.