Australian actress, model and singer Imogen Bailey revealed her battle with anorexia during her early modeling days during an interview with Now magazine.
Imogen turned to starving herself in order to look her best for revealing fashion shoots. She lost so much weight that one magazine refused to run her pictures because she looked unhealthy. At her skinniest, 5’3″ Imogen weighed less than 90 pounds.
At the urging of concerned friends and family, Bailey turned to therapy and meditation to help recover from her eating disorder.
Bailey says she has a much healthier self-image today.
“Women’s bodies change on such a constant basis – when it’s that time of the month I can add 5kg quite easily,” she explained. “I try not to focus on that too much and if I connect all the dots and meditate and keep my mind focused and healthy, that’s one of the ways of avoiding slipping back into eating disorders.”
French actress and model Isabelle Caro succumbed to anorexia in December 2010 at the age of 28 after a 15-year battle with the eating disorder. To help raise awareness about the dangerous effects of eating disorders, Isabelle appeared in a provocative Italian advertising campaign that featured her nude, anorexia-ravaged body. At the time of the ad shoot in 2007, 5’4″ Isabelle weighed only 60 pounds.
“The idea was to shock people into awareness,” said Isabelle about the ad. “I decided to do it to warn girls about the danger of diets and of fashion commandments.”
Isabelle also detailed her struggles with anorexia in her 2008 memoir, “The Little Girl Who Didn’t Want to Get Fat.” In the autobiography, Isabelle talks about her overprotective mother, who often criticized her for being too heavy. To stave off weight gain during puberty, Isabella lived on only one square of chocolate per day. She would follow this extreme diet for the next 15 years, often lapsing into delirium and comas.
Isabella told Vanity Fair in 2007, “I wanted to have the body of a child forever, to make my mother happy.”
Gretchen Rossi, one of the stars of The Real Housewives of Orange County, admitted to struggling with bulimia in a 2009 interview with In Touch magazine.
To lose weight in high school and college, Gretchen threw up after meals. After being caught by her friends and parents, Gretchen sought therapy for her eating disorder and decided to change her habits drastically, becoming a fitness trainer and nutritionist.
Gretchen told In Touch that she has a much healthier body image today than she did in her eating disorder days.
“This is the best weight I’ve ever been at, and this is the best I feel like I’ve ever looked,” says Gretchen. “I feel toned and healthy and good. And it took a little bit to get to that place, but I’m grateful I’m finally at that place.”
Many Spice Girls fans may have not known it at the time, but Ginger Spice was dealing with bulimia. “It’s not really about food or the body shape. It’s just a way of dealing or coping with life…I really feel that what’s helped me is talking about it with other people who share the same addiction,” she explained in 2003.
In 1986, Kirkland, with Greg Lawrence, published Dancing on My Grave, a tell-all autobiography detailing her struggles with eating disorders and drug addiction. One of the truths of art and life is that what we see with our eyes is not the whole story. I believe this same truth applies to eating disorders and the obsession with the body. I am not a doctor of anything, but I can offer my perspective on this topic as a person who has been through the goulash, and as an artist from the lopsided world of ballet. From my point of view, narcissistic body image problems exist as a manifestation of our spiritual state. It is not a body issue; it is an issue of the soul. Anorexia is an obsession with externals and, if left unchecked, a shutting down of the body and soul, sometimes tragically to the point of death.
Both ballet and society at large can be accused of the same obsessions: technique, technology, sexy, pretty, information, money–all skimming the surface, all externals. Little or no time is given to the heart, to the story, to meaning. We are presently in a “healthy,” “sporty” body image period. We talk openly about health issues. This is good and necessary, however, the body still remains primary. The body rules!
Poet Franz Kafka, who wrote the short story “The Hunger Artist”, suffered from anorexia. The evidence for the hypothesis that the poet Franz Kafka had suffered from an atypical anorexia nervosa is presented. Kafka was slim and underweight throughout his life and showed an ascetic attitude and abjuration of physical enjoyment and pleasure (fasting, vegetarianism, sexual abstinence, emphasis on physical fitness). The analysis is mainly based on Kafka’s own descriptions in his letters, diaries, and literary work. Kafka was achievement oriented, reported many sadomasochistic fantasies, and had an anancastic (obsessive-compulsive) depressive personality.