Former Victoria’s Secret pin-up Erin Heatherton, 27, admits she spiralled into depression after being told to lose weight ahead of the annual fashion show adored by millions.
“My last two Victoria’s Secret shows, I was told I had to lose weight,” she tells Motto. “I look back like, ‘Really?'”
Erin says she initially tried to comply with the brand’s demands, and upped her workouts to twice a day ahead of the 2013 show.
“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.”
Erin, the ex-girlfriend of Leonardo DiCaprio, says the pressure from Victoria’s Secret forced her to completely rethink her contract with the brand and she hung up her wings later that same year.
“I realised 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,” she says.
Victoria’s Secret is yet to comment about the body-shaming allegations, but the model is determined to share her story in a bid to help other women struggling with their body image, or mental health issues.
Erin says that, by continuing to talk about her experience, she hopes she can encourage other women to work toward their own breakthroughs.
“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.”