By Amy Finlayson

I remember the first time I was told to lose weight. I was 15 and I was walking with some friends, leaving school and heading to the shops. My agent rang me for a chat. Obviously, being so young, the conversation wasn’t too direct; instead she suggested I stop drinking milk. “Milk has a day’s worth of fat,” I remember her saying. I still, to this day, don’t drink full cream milk. 

Telling a girl to lose weight is a touchy endeavor. Telling a teenage girl to lose weight can affect her for life. This is the difficult thing about modeling- young girls with changing bodies and turbulent hormones are thrust into an industry where thin is in, and they have to adjust to that. Just like actors alter their bodies for film roles and athletes train for competition, models must also look after their asset. 

The issue here is there are so many girls going about weight loss in the wrong way. 

I have lived in many a model apartment where quick fixes to be svelte were rife. Think cotton buds soaked in orange juice, binging on ice cream and clogging the toilet with vomit, laxative addiction, a steady diet of coffee and cigarettes… This is no way to maintain your appearance however. Hair starts to fall out, your skin looks ruddy and grey and a host of health issues rear their ugly heads- like acne- and not the cool kind in a pink box. This is the ugly side of modeling. This job has a short life span and if you don’t lean out in time, there will be another girl ready and waiting in the wings to take your job. 

The instability of modeling, and fashion’s insatiable thirst for youth, can breed serious insecurity- especially in young women. But that’s the ironic thing I suppose; now that I’m older and comfortable with my body, I am considered too old. At 26, I have figured out my body, I know my exercise routine and what I can and can’t eat. I am healthy and happy- sure we all have times when we overindulge, when we don’t eat because we are stressed or sad, but I think ultimately finding a balance in an ever-changing world is the key. Stability in an unstable world; hard to find, hard to hold onto but fantastic once achieved.

I hope the recent turn towards healthy diets and fit models sticks around. As role models for a new generation of girls, healthy and lean is where it should be- not skinny and sad. 

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