Former Australia’s Next Top Model contestant Taylah Roberts has taken to Instagram to slam the fashion industry.
With Fashion Week Australia in full swing, the 24-year-old — who appeared on season eight of the show — reflected on her tough journey in the modelling world, posting a topless and “underweight” throwback photo and one taken now.
The earlier image was taken during her early career when she appeared in Fashion Week shows.
“All I see in the photo on the left is sadness, exhaustion, insecurity and lack of worth beyond size,” Roberts said of her old mirror selfie.
“This is what an industry only focusing on what your outer shell looks like does to you.”
Roberts, who was 18 years old when she appeared on Australia’s Next Top Model, said she was terrified her dreams would be ripped away if the number on a measuring tape had increased by half an inch.
“I feel blessed to have almost fully recovered from this dark place I once called home but I still get glimpses of it and it’s usually around this time of year. Fashion week,” she wrote.
“I see past the glossy backstage images of playful smiles, toned fit bodies, the most elite of the industry and remember the 5am wake ups, your face prodded with makeup all day, on and off until your eyes are bloodshot and can’t take it anymore.”
She said she contemplated smoking so she wouldn’t be tempted by sweets, and constantly compared herself to other girls in the competitive industry.
“Am I not pretty enough, I must not be thin enough, I’m definitely not good enough,” she said were often thoughts she felt during her career.
She went on to say: “After years of feeling unworthy and left with a lot of work to do to get to the place I am now, I’ll take my health, happiness and my size 12/14 a** over EVER feeling like that again!”
She used the hashtags “mental health” and “ED (eating disorder) recovery” in the post’s lengthy caption.
Roberts who often shares honest snaps to encourage body positivity said modelling agencies too need to take some responsibility, adding they “push you and push you until you have nothing left to give”.
“They need to change. Be more inclusive and start treating models as humans, not mannequins they can manipulate.”
In another image posted two weeks ago, Roberts revealed the stress over her “famous belly pouch”.
“Ever since I can remember I’ve hated this part of myself,” she admitted, saying she became obsessed with losing weight to try and rid of it.
“I would wake up every day and graze my hand over my belly to make sure it hadn’t suddenly returned. And when it did (because it needed to!!!) I hated it more than before and continued to try and lose it not realising by focusing so much on this that I was also losing myself.”
But then she found body positivity.
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I cannot stress enough the need to change what you see everyday if you’re riddled with self doubt and self deprecating thoughts. As soon as I filled my feed with positivity and light, diversity and love I changed. I am now constantly learning and growing from people and their posts. Following diversity means young & old, people of different shapes, sizes, colours, genders and sexualities. People with a story to tell and love to give, people that lift you up and make you believe you are worthy. This is normality and there is so much beauty in all of that diversity, imagine how bored and uninspired you’d be if everyday you scrolled on Instagram and every photo was of a white wall. These people will help you realise what normal is and it will tear down the belief that you are not enough because you aren’t on a beach 24/7 with abs and a perfectly sculpted butt. If someone makes you feel bad about yourself unfollow them, you have the ability to change what is constantly being fed into your mind and pave the way to finally feeling fulfilled, happy, free and special in your own right💛 Love you all, go unfollow some people✨ #bodyconfidence #selflove #mentalhealth
A post shared by TAYLAH ROBERTS (@taylahroberts1) on
“Every time I said something nasty about my body I pulled myself up and then said something kind and thanked it for all it does for me.”
Roberts was disqualified on Next Top Model after she choked another contestant during an altercation while filming the reality show.
Roberts lunged at fellow model hopeful Ashley Pogmore during an art class and threatened to strangle her with her hands, before choking her in a joke that went too far.
At the time, Roberts apologised for her actions, stressing violence was never the right reaction.
“It’s just one of those things that just happened so quickly and once I’d done it, I knew that it was the wrong thing to do,” she had told A Current Affair in August 2013.
If you or someone you know is affected by an eating disorder, please contact The Butterfly Foundation on 1800 33 46 73