“Deleting social media saved my life”

When I was 13, I got a message on Myspace (a pre-Facebook social media platform that made you publicly order your top eight friends) from the girls who’d bullied me for years for being ugly. “You look amazing in Vogue!!!” it said. I was confused. Nothing had changed about my apparently offensive appearance except a stranger had decided it could be put to use. I didn’t want to do the photo shoot, but I was pressured into ‘just trying it out’. This meant being undressed by two men who laughed when I tried to cover up my non-existent breasts and made me kneel provocatively in the woods as the “new face” of a womenswear brand.

The shoot was a horrible experience, but getting this message from my bullies seemed worth it. People seemed to like me more if I was in magazines, so modelling became my shield. I went on to be known as The Model at school. I was on the cover of magazines and billboards, and I stumbled down catwalks. I hated it all. I was humiliated by strangers in the freezing cold, made to pose in ways I didn’t understand—like leaning into car windows—and starved myself with severe eating disorders.

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