The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - NEWS - FIONA BYRNE

MISS Uni­verse Aus­tralia Olivia Rogers has lifted the lid on the cul­ture of the mod­el­ling in­dus­try and her quest to be un­re­al­is­ti­cally thin. The 25-year-old says she was 12kg lighter dur­ing her mod­el­ling ca­reer and it left her rid­dled with anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion. Rogers had been work­ing as a model in Ade­laide for sev­eral years be­fore chanc­ing 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 was mea­sured ev­ery time I was in there (her agency). “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 ex­pec­ta­tion of oth­ers was un­healthy. “But I got to my skin­ni­est and I was not happy with how I looked. I hated how I looked. It wasn’t good,” she said. 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.

“It is not healthy to ob­sess over this 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 her­self phys­i­cally and men­tally 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 for young women.

“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, and if I was any younger, I would not be do­ing what I am do­ing now be­cause you do have to have a thick skin,” she said.

Her ad­vice for oth­ers is sim­ple: “Just be your­self and fol­low what makes you happy.”

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