When it comes to high-profile fashion shows, Victoria’s Secret is as big as they come. Models like Alessandra Ambrosio, Adriana Lima, and Taylor Hill train and diet year-round to look runway-ready for the big televised event. For many models, the regimen is well worth it. But for one Victoria’s Secret model, the pressure to look like an “angel” almost killed her, and now, she’s apologizing to fans for promoting an unhealthy body image.
Recently, former Victoria’s Secret model Bridget Malcolm, who walked for the brand in 2015 and 2016, took to her blog to apologize for perpetuating an unrealistic body standard and for giving unhealthy diet advice in interviews. Malcolm began her blog by opening up about her battle with body dysmorphia, an eating disorder that she was only recently diagnosed with after leaving Victoria’s Secret.
“I would like to acknowledge and apologize for some of the things I wrote and spoke about over the past couple of years. I genuinely thought that I was doing the right thing for my health and wellness,” Malcolm wrote. “I now know that I was completely in the depths of body dysmorphia and it really worries me that I was not a positive role model out there.”
Photo: Getty Images
Malcolm explained that, though she never lied about what she ate, she ate very little for her body type and for how much she exercised. She revealed that her body dysmorphia made her think that she ate plenty, but now that she counts her calories back, she realized that she was nowhere close to eating healthy.
“When I claimed that I ate loads, I thought that I did. I would fill up on foods that were low calorie, and think that I was eating a healthy balanced diet,” she wrote. “I was extremely active, sometimes training 2-3 hours a day, and thought that that made me fit. But if someone offered me a piece of fruit to eat, I would become so anxious and fearful at the thought of having to eat it (something unplanned) that I would nearly be sick with worry. And I couldn’t calm down my anxiety until I had completed my training for the day. If I had a 5am call time, I would be in the gym at 3:30am. If my flight landed at 8pm, I would be in the gym at 9pm.”
Malcolm went on to apologize for saying that eating “predominantly vegetables and protein shakes” was how she stays healthy. “When I would give interviews and discuss my eating habits I truly believed that eating predominately vegetables and protein shakes was ok,” she wrote. “Obviously this is not ok. I am sorry for being so public about damaging eating habits.”
Malcolm also revealed that other models whom she’s worked with struggle with body dysmorphia. “Body dysmorphia is a terrifying thing,” she wrote. “I have had countless conversations with fellow models, all of whom are tiny, where they call themselves fat. It is such a hard thing to understand if you are removed from this – weight and size should be objective. Either you fit the clothes, or you don’t. But when it becomes a mental game like this, it grows wings of its own.”
Though Malcolm struggled with her own dysmorphia when she started gaining weight, she admits that she’s in a better place now and genuinely likes her body. To recover from her eating disorder, Malcolm didn’t let herself overexercise and limited her working out to simple walks.
“Aware of my previous habits of over exercising, I did not let myself train beyond walking for a few months. And it was torturous,” she wrote. “But as the weight came on, the anxiety quickly swelled to a deafening crescendo, and then began to slowly die out. Over consistent work and time I found myself actually liking what I saw in the mirror. Even though Bridget from 1.5 years ago would have been horrified that I had ‘left myself go’. For the first time what I am seeing in the mirror is actually my reflection looking back at me. And for the first time that I can remember, I like my body.”
Body dysmorphia and eating disorders affect millions of people across the world. Malcolm is far from the first celebrity who has spoken out about the disease. We’re glad that she’s shutting down societal standards of beauty and isn’t afraid to be real about her time with Victoria’s Secret and how the brand negatively affected her perception of body image and likely many others.