Despite the popularity of Ashley Graham and other plus-size models, the pressure to stay thin in the modeling industry is still there – and even more extreme than most know.
Zuzanna Buchwald has modeled for high-end designers such as Gucci, Prada, and Versace. But behind those killer dresses and fierce poses, there was an illness brought on by the extreme pressures of the industry.
In a powerful personal essay for The Daily Dot, Zuzanna breaks her silence on her battles with anorexia and bulimia. She says that she developed the eating disorders after her agents obsessively monitored her weight and even told her to stop eating in order to stay a sample size.
“Staying a size 0–2 throughout your career is the unspoken key to success in this industry. For most women, staying the smallest size possible consistently for many years is very hard to achieve. Young models learn about it the hard way: If an agency catches the smallest weight gain, you are measured, told to lose weight immediately, and reprimanded.”
The Polish model reveals that “the skinnier you get, the better.” The agency praises you for crash dieting without any concern for health.
In the beginning of her career in the United States, Zuzanna was told to lose the muscle mass she had as an athlete by stopping exercise and stopping eating.
“On my own and feeling alone in a foreign country, the pressure quickly developed into an eating disorder that I battled for almost four years. Ironically, I was most admired by my agents and designers when I was at my unhealthiest and unhappiest. It was then that I worked the most.”
Now at 28 years old, Zuzanna is recovering from her eating disorders and speaking out against the unrealistic beauty standards forced upon models.
“I won’t stay silent anymore. I’m no longer afraid to say that the fashion industry has an exploitative and dangerous side to the often desperate young girls churning through it….I am calling to the media and fashion industry to stop imposing this unhealthy, dangerous body-rigid ideal of a size zero and replace it with the image of health, happiness, and personality.”
Can I get an “Amen”?