Los Angeles Triggers My Eating Disorder, and It Sucks So Hard

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I got back to LA a little more than three weeks ago. I was so excited to be home! I have loved this city since the minute my plane landed at LAX the very first time. I love the ocean, the palm trees, the people, the nightlife, the history, the mountains, and god I love the film and television industry.

I love being an actor. I love it so much. I love making movies and TV shows. I love booking the role, being on set, promoting the film. I love meeting other creative people on the job. I love telling stories, stepping into another person’s shoes. I love making people laugh, or making them think, or giving them a break from thinking too hard. I love doing 20 takes and discovering something new on the 21st. I love knowing I’m in the same union as Meryl Streep and George Clooney. I love this business with all my heart.

I’ve been acting for 25 years. I’ve never wanted to do or be anything else. I knew when I was 7 years old I wanted to do this for a living. My career is what drives me. My dreams gave me the strength to survive a rocky childhood, to get out of my small town, to press on when I could barely see one speck of light at the end of a long, dark, scary tunnel. I owe my life to discovering a passion for performing. I really believe that.

So here I am, finally, back where all my dreams come true. Hollywood. A place my heart feels at home, where I truly belong. Where I’ve always been happiest and most alive.  Continue reading

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Modeling Post-Eating Disorder

Ever since I shed the oppressive weight of my eating disorder, I’ve assumed my modeling career to be over. Not just because it’s impossible to stay at or under 110 lbs on my frame in any healthy way, but also because, naturally, I’ve been getting older at the same time.

Modeling was never the end game- I always wanted to be an actress forever, a model for now. It was a way to make money without waiting tables. I liked getting photos in beautiful clothes and being spotted by friends in magazines, and I liked having my hair and makeup done and getting into character in front of a camera, but, if I’m honest, really the whole experience was hell.

I was always, always, always hungry. No matter what, I starved before every shoot. Sometimes, when I was busy, I was eating 300-500 calories a day for weeks. I will never forget that first bite of food in the car or on the train coming home from a job- usually a pop tart or something equally bad for me. It was the only food I ever felt I deserved. I worked, I starved, I posed, I was sweaty and shaky- this food was earned. Continue reading

Photoshoot Flashback

Wow! Something so strange just happened….

I had an audition this morning. When my agent sent the info, I read through everything, but somehow skipped over the word “photoshoot.” They usually send me a lot of commercials, so my brain filled in the gap.

This morning as I double checked all the info before leaving, I saw it. “Photoshoot.” Simple. Something I’ve done a hundred times, probably a few hundred by now, a go see or casting for a photoshoot.

However…it’s been a minute. See, I used to be a full fledged model. Legit, working a lot, making money, the whole thing. And back when I was a full fledged model, I had another little thing: a full fledged eating disorder.

Part of being an actor involves doing photoshoots. I’ve done some recently, sure, especially for publicity photos, new headshots, and a job like this here and there. Not nearly the way I used to, however. A lot of times the castings are in regular casting rooms, little things with a small lighting setup, a quick few photos snapped by a casting director or assistant, close up, full, profile, hands, smile, out.

Today’s audition? In a studio. An actual studio. Like I’ve worked in a million times.

A full lighting setup. A legit photographer. Backdrop. Huge space. Echo-ey. Dark in the cavernous space beyond us….

Something surprising happened. I flashed back to that time in my life. To being hungry. To contorting my body into crazy angles to hide my “fat rolls” or my “round face.” To dreaming about the meal I would finally let myself have once we wrapped, something decadent and terrible for me, something that would taste extra amazing because I had eaten maybe 1,000 calories in the past 5 days.

But here I was, at an audition, for the role of “Mom.” Not in a bikini. Not about to pass out. Not sucking in and twisting around….

I heard the photographer ask for some simple shots. Smiling. Mom stuff. But I was frozen. I couldn’t remember how to do it. It was cold and huge and the lights were in my eyes and I wanted to run. I just forgot everything.

Thankfully, I snapped out of it. I’m not totally sure what I gave him, but I managed some smiling shots, and remembered to put my hand on my hip…

I walked out quickly, in a daze. It’s crazy, when the beast of an eating disorder hits you. It really never totally goes away. It’s a constant conversation. Mine rushed back, today, all at once, and said, “you aren’t this person anymore, and you can’t do it.” It told me I could only function in this space if I invited him in along with me. It hissed, “they all see you don’t deserve this type of work anymore.”

Now, I sit in my car in the parking lot, and I write this blog, because I refuse to sit quietly with a little demon in my ear. If I write it down, I take away its power. If I shine light on it, it can’t live off the darkness it needs to survive.

It’s a lifelong journey, an unpredictable one, but I can confidently say, I’m slowly growing into a confidence ninja. Jump out at me from around a corner??!

WHACK! Bye bye, little demon. No thanks. We no longer require your services here.

My “Aha” Moment- Beginning Eating Disorder Recovery

 

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A few years ago, I read someone’s book about their eating disorder, and saw myself in the pages. I’m forever grateful for that person’s honesty and openness about their experience, because it helped me to finally begin a journey to health and freedom.

It’s now part of my mission to promote positive body image in this world, and face the issue of disordered eating head on. I don’t want anyone to spend one more second hating the body they are living in.

I believe this is a discussion worth having, and that it begins with bravely speaking our own truth. To that end, I would like to share with you a post from a previous blog, about the moment I finally accepted I had a problem and resolved to do something about it. Continue reading