Georgina Wilkin was a former promising fashion model who worked with brands like Prada before she, like many others, developed a serious eating disorder. She is now 23 years old, retired from modeling and still struggling with body image and food problems due to her experience in fashion. Wilkin spoke frankly with The Telegraph about eating disorders, modeling and what casting directors and agents must start doing in order for there to be positive change.
Here are 7 lessons from Georgina Wilkin:
1) Modeling is not what it’s cracked up to be:
I had expected it to be glamorous and fun, but it wasn’t like that at all.
2) You get appraised like an actual object:
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.
3) You might not fully recover from the dark side of the business. After a year of being neglected and mistreated, Wilkin went to treatment for anorexia. Six years after treatment and quitting modeling, the trauma stays with her.
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.
4) She’s telling her story, which is a great start, but how do you really solve a problem like eating disorders?
I want other teenage girls who are battling with body image to get here too, but eating disorders have become normalised.
5) Those employing models must start taking responsibility for these young people.
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– 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.
6) Eating disorders are lonely.
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 was starving myself and working extra hours to avoid eating.
7) The price might be too high for models.
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.
Hopefully one day, health will trump thinness. Until then, it’s important for women like Wilkin to keep talking about what they went through.
Via The Telegraph//Image via Twitter