Yes, I Had an Eating Disorder. I Also Have Thin Privilege.

When I signed with a modelling agency at 20 years old, I was struggling with an eating disorder. At the time, I was celebrated for being thin. This was my intro to the fashion world.

Like most who struggle, I was in denial at first. I had always been thin, and couldn't see for myself that I was actually unhealthy. It was gradual; my disorder didn't appear overnight. My favourite quote, the one I always tell to describe my experience, is: 

"Having an eating disorder is like fighting a war, in which the opponent's strategy is to convince you that the war isn't happening." 

Thankfully, I also found SO much support in my recovery within the fashion industry. Fashion gets a bad rep for perpetuating unrealistic body ideals. And while that's true, it also became a platform for me to create change. I co-founded a clothing brand aimed at raising awareness for mental illness. Sharing my story in this industry, and being authentic about who I am and the change I want to see, is what has led me to work with brands like Joe Fresh, UnCo and This Model Eats A Lot


I want to get real about something though... 

A lot of the support in the fashion industry, a lot of my collaborations and praise, is because of my thin privilege. I have always fit the mold of what is "accepted" in the fashion industry - and on social media. I can sit here with a full pizza, smiling and posting about my recovery AND HAVE IT BE CELEBRATED because of the way I look, and the body type I was born in. I have fat friends and body positive advocates that could share this same style of post and get hate mail. Many of these same friends have struggled with disordered eating, some of which goes undiagnosed because of fatphobia and stigma in the medical world. 

Yes, I had an eating disorder. I also have thin privilege. And that's something we don't talk about enough in this community. You can't judge someone's relationship with food by the way they look, or the body type they have. Eating disorders are MENTAL health issues. 

More love, less Instagram policing. 

Kayley ReedComment