“I remember staring at my food and thinking maybe I should just not eat”
Erin Heatherton used to be one of the faces when it came to the Victoria’s Secret brand. As one of the line’s official VS Angels, she walked in their notorious fashion show from 2008 to 2013 and had her face (and body) plastered over advertisements and inside every Victoria’s Secret store. It’s been three years since she left the gig, that many dream of having, and now she’s finally opening up about the pressures she faced.
“My last two Victoria’s Secret shows, I was told I had to lose weight,” she tells TIMEmagazine’s Motto, “I look back like, ‘Really?'” While prepping for her last Victoria’s Secret fashion show in 2013, she was exercising twice a day but couldn’t get the results she wanted.
“I was really depressed because I was working so hard and I felt like my body was resisting me,” she says, “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.”
She left Victoria’s Secret after her last show, “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.”
Just last month, the model opened up about the pressures she felt in an Instagram photo featuring herself in a shirt that read “Empowered by Failure.” She hopes speaking out will help other women struggling. “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,” she says. “It hurts too much to keep it in, and that’s why I’m not keeping it in now.”
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