THROW AWAY THE SCALES

Sunday Herald Sun - - News - EX­CLU­SIVE FIONA BYRNE

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. fiona.byrne@news.com.au GOS­SIP QUEEN, PAGES 14-15

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