THROW AWAY THE SCALES
MISS Universe Australia Olivia Rogers has lifted the lid on her quest to be unrealistically thin — and the culture of some parts of the modelling industry.
Rogers, 25, says she was about 12kg lighter five years ago while modelling — and the pressure to stay “stick thin” left her riddled with anxiety and depression.
The 173cm beauty admits that she slimmed to as light as 49kg, and was constantly told she looked great and to “keep it up”.
Rogers, 25, had worked as a model in Adelaide for several years before trying her luck in the Sydney fashion game in 2012.
“I am really glad I did because I learnt so much from it, but at the same time there was so much pressure to be stick thin,” she said.
“I was about 12kg lighter than I am now. I was so skinny and measured every time I was in (her agency),” says Rogers, who says she is a size 8 these days.
“I was never told to lose more (weight), but they were like ‘you look great, keep it up’.
“You have to stay that way and it is just not healthy and not realistic. I would never want a girl to look at one of those photos of me and think ‘I want to look like that’, because it is not attainable.
“Some people are naturally that tiny, but I am not, I am not meant to be that size.
“I had no energy and I had depression and anxiety and it was not a good time.”
While she says she did not suffer from an eating disorder, she realised the pressure she put on herself to conform to the expectations of others was unhealthy.
“I remember girls at school would say all the time — we would say it to each other — ‘If I looked like that (thin) I would wake up in the morning and be so happy because I would look so good’,” Rogers said.
“But I got to my skinniest and I was not happy with how I looked. I hated how I looked. It wasn’t good.
“I just hope that other girls don’t feel the need to get to that point to then realise that, no, that does not make you happy.”
And she urged women to stop judging their self-worth around a figure on a set of scales.
“I don’t weigh myself and I don’t have a set of scales in the house,” she said.
“I think it is irrelevant. That number does not mean anything. You base your self-worth on how much you weigh, but why?
“What does that number mean? It does not mean anything. It is not healthy to obsess over a number and live every day trying to get it down. If you fit in your clothes and you feel good in your clothes then that is all that matters.”
After her brief experience in Sydney, Rogers moved back to Adelaide and “went off modelling for a while”.
She pursued her studies in speech pathology and rebuilt her body and mind through healthy eating and exercise.
“I probably eat more now than I ever have,” she said. “I love exercise, that is my mental release.”
Modelling opportunities soon followed and in June she won the Miss Universe Australia title.
Now based in Melbourne, she wants to use the platform to advocate for mental health and to be a positive role model.
“From those experiences and with age comes a lot of knowledge and I am really glad I went through all of that because I am so much stronger now,” she said. firstname.lastname@example.org GOSSIP QUEEN, PAGES 14-15