Georgina Wilkin,former model: ‘What young girls can learn from my anorexia’

  • If You Strugle With An Eating Disorder Learn How To Recover Or Ask For Help At  Beat Here !

An article from The Telegraph @ telegraph.co.uk

Georgina Wilkin

Georgina Wilkin

By Georgina Wilkin, Former model

Georgina Wilkin, 23, a former Prada model who has spent the past eight years battling anorexia, talks candidly about how eating disorders have become ‘normal’, why casting directors should be made to promote healthy eating among young models and her advice for achieving ‘body confidence’.

 ”   I started modelling when I was 15 years-old. I was a size eight but I was told to lose a few inches from my hips so I could be eligible for the best jobs. This was normal in the fashion world, so I didn’t think too much of it. At the time I was revising for my GCSEs, so a combination of lunch times spent in the library along with caffeine supplements and no sleep seemed to do the trick. I lost the weight and won a contract to go to Japan.

I had expected it to be glamorous and fun, but it wasn’t like that at all. One day I was put in a line-up with 12 models. We were all naked apart from flesh-coloured thongs, standing in front of a panel of casting directors. They basically went through us and said ‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘yes’, ‘no’, depending on whether we were thin enough. If you weren’t thin enough you were sent out of the room immediately. I was sent out.

The rest of the time, I was left in a very tiny room and was basically carted off all day in a car and driven around to different castings and dumped off home at the end of the day. I wasn’t looked after, or told what to do. Nobody told me where the supermarket was so I just didn’t really eat. That’s when things spiralled out of control and a year later I was admitted to hospital for anorexia and sent to The Priory.

Six years have passed now, and I am recovering. I have completely left the modelling world, where I worked for designers like Prada, Giles Deacon and Gap. Now I am a personal assistant to the head of a luxury property development company in London. I still struggle with anorexia on a day-to-day basis and probably will for a long time, but the important thing is I don’t have to look thin for my job anymore and I’m happy with myself whatever I size I am.

I want other teenage girls who are battling with body image to get here too, but eating disorders have become normalised. When I developed anorexia, I was still a student at my all-girls school. My friends didn’t know how to react. They would joke about how thin I was – my nickname was pencil because I looked like one. I was never offended by it, but my weight did become a joke because that was how people dealt with it.

When I became noticeably ill-looking, people spoke about it and it meant I secluded myself all the time. I didn’t want to eat anything so I would hide in the library at lunchtime and I ended up becoming addicted to work. I got 9 A*s for my GCSEs and won awards, but it was only because I was starving myself and working extra hours to avoid eating.

I was encouraged to lose weight unhealthily by my modelling agent, but teenage girls need to be proud about what they have as a human being. I want to encourage modelling agents and casting directors to talk to girls about healthy eating, and where they do put pressure on young girls to lose their weight, to do so healthily and sensibly. If young girls are asked to lose weight – and let’s face it, they still are, despite the debate around size zero – casting directors must help girls do so properly. They shouldn’t have to bend to the point of starvation or illness to fit some designer’s fantasy vision.

At the end of the day, my modelling career lasted for three years and as a result, I’ve had anorexia for eight, and I’m still battling it today. It was amazing to work on shows and I loved the clothes and the work itself. But, for the sake of a couple of years of modelling success, it’s just not worth it.”

Georgina Wilkin

Georgina Wilkin

Original Article : telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/10323519/Former-model-What-young-girls-can-learn-from-my-anorexia.html 

 

3 comments

  1. It is so brave to speak out, and share with others both the struggle and the insights. Women and men should not have to starve themselves into the “right” size for this industry. Hollywood has a lot to answer for as well for perpetuating a particular type and size of beauty.
    It is a vicious circle that reaches out far beyond the confines of these industries. It affects young women, and in some cases young men too, who grow up bombarded with unhealthy body images and made to believe that they have to starve themselves to fit into this distorted vision of beauty.
    This is of course aggravated when you need to be thin for your everyday job. It simply isn’t sustainable, and should never be demanded of anyone.
    Speaking out is a first step, but how do we ensure that there is someone listening at the other end?
    I hope that this story, and others like it (of which there are sadly too many) will help bridge the gap, and initiate a debate both within the industry and without.
    Without health we curtail our chances of happiness, of a fruitful working life and rewarding relationships, of growing old; because anorexia is hurtful, both physically and psychologically it is experienced as pain. And when we are in pain, our entire lives begin to revolve around it, with little else getting the necessary headspace and bodily strength to flourish.
    The issue of death is a difficult one, but I feel I must bring it up in this context. Anorexia kills. There have been too many instances of young women collapsing and being unable to survive that collapse.
    By continuing to accept the standards of beauty that the fashion (and to a great extent the film) industry promotes, we are enabling unhealthy, punitive and life threatening lifestyles and attitudes to perpetuate themselves endlessly. Our generation is paying the price already. Perhaps something could still be done for the next.
    Thank you for sharing with such honesty. It moved me. I have a friend who has been struggling with anorexia, and while it is not first-hand experience, it does hurt to see someone you care about go through it, and feel helpless. There is nothing I feel I can actually do. it can’t just be fixed. I have to be content with just being there, and hoping they will turn to me. In their darkest hour at least.

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