You once couldn't walk into a Victoria's Secret store or open a catalog without seeing Erin Heatherton's face. The model, who walked in the brand's famous fashion show from 2008 to 2013, had a coveted gig as an official VS Angel. Now, three years after leaving the brand, she's opening up about the body image struggles she faced while on the job.
"My last two Victoria's Secret shows, I was told I had to lose weight," she tells TIME magazine's Motto, "I look back like, 'Really?'" While prepping for her last Victoria's Secret fashion show in 2013, she was exercising twice a day but couldn't get the results she wanted.
"I was really depressed because I was working so hard and I felt like my body was resisting me," she says, "And I got to a point where one night I got home from a workout and I remember staring at my food and thinking maybe I should just not eat."
She left Victoria's Secret after her last show, "I realized I couldn't go out into the world—parading my body and myself in front of all these women who look up to me—and tell them that this is easy and simple and everyone can do this."
Just last month, the model also opened up about the pressures she felt in an Instagram photo featuring herself in a shirt that read "Empowered by Failure." She hopes speaking out will help other women struggling. "I'm willing to sacrifice my pride, in a sense, and my privacy because I know that if I don't speak about it, I could be withholding information that would really help women," she says. "It hurts too much to keep it in, and that's why I'm not keeping it in now."
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