We have entered a digital age which is a blessing and a curse. Instagram and other social media platforms can be a great tool for sharing photos and information but they are also grounds for self-destruction.
Insta-famous model Alexis Ren recently opened up about her eating disorder and has an important message about social media that all girls need to hear.
Everyone presents their best self on social media and Alexis Ren, 20, is no exception to this rule. Ren admits to displaying an inaccurate representation of herself. “I would look at my profile and be like, ‘Look at this girl! She has, like, the most perfect life!’ and I would feel so guilty for not feeling blessed all the time,” said Ren.
Ren’s Instagram showcases a young girl who appears to be living the dream. Judging based solely on her account, she travels to beautiful and exotic locations and is blessed with the most beautiful body. After opening up, Ren explains that behind her gorgeous physique was restrictive eating and excessive workouts.
Ren has adopted Twitter as a way to open up to her fans about her own unhealthy relationship with her body.
The downward spiral began with her mother’s death on Mother’s Day of 2013. The negative attitude towards her body continued when her modelling agency in LA pointed out that she had gained some weight–having a naturally petite structure, this was something Ren was not used to.
Ren’s eating struggles arose around the same time that she began dating Jay Alvarrez. The couple began filming YouTube videos together, including artistic montages of them on their travel excursions where the two appeared to be the most ideal couple living the most ideal life. Using YouTube as a new social platform meant being on camera often and usually in a bikini. This put an immense amount of pressure on Ren and it was during this time that Ren says she became her own “worst critic.”
Ren was traveling with her boyfriend Alvarrez for up to 11 months a year. When she was traveling so frequently, it became hard to find foods that fit in with her strict diet plan.”It was a vicious cycle where when I did eat, I just felt worse, so I didn’t want to eat, and ate less and less and less,” Ren said.
It was in the summer of 2016, after Alvarrez and Ren split, that she decided to listen to her friends and family’s concerns about her unhealthy body image. Her fanbase also acted as motivation to get healthy. Ren knew that promoting an unhealthy lifestyle was not the message she should be sending to her followers
Ren was put in touch with a personal trainer and health nutritional coach. Ren’s new trainer Maggie Tanielian has made it her mission to get Ren back into a healthy regimen.
Tanielian has had a positive impact on Ren. Ren has begun working out every other day through pilates and yoga. She is no longer working out due to an unhealthy obsession but rather because she genuinely enjoys it.
Ren would like to put out the message that “it’s OK to not be OK.” With over 9 million followers, she has a solid platform to communicate her new message. Mental health is becoming more and more understood but there is still a long way to go. With help from friends, family and her trainer, Alexis Ren is working hard to get back on track and encourages her fans to adopt a positive mindset towards their body because looking good on the outside begins with feeling good on the inside.