Fashion + Mental Health 2020

Five Models Who Have Overcome Mental Illness

Mental illnesses are a wide range of conditions that affect how you think, your mood and behaviour. These illnesses are battled by millions of individuals each day. People are quick to believe that those who have successful lives are shielded from being mentally ill, that isn’t always the case. Mental illnesses do not discriminate. Those with fame and living a luxurious lifestyle can suffer just as much as the average person. In recent years more people have been speaking up about their internal struggle. Conversations about illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and eating disorders have started to become more common. This helps fight the stigma associated with mental health and encourages people to find help. Here are five models who have opened up about their struggles with mental illness and how they overcame them.

Cara Delevingne

Cara Delevingne is a 27-year-old British model who has modelled for fashion houses including Burberry, Yves St. Laurent, DKNY, and Chanel. She has become one of the highest-paid models in the world and is the face of many brands for a range of fashion, accessories, and cosmetic lines. Although she has maintained a successful modelling career, she has been open about her struggles with mental illness. She battled depression throughout her teenage years, this eventually led to a mental breakdown at age 15. 

She recalled that whilst growing up she felt something dark inside of her. The toxic combination of being a late developer and being under pressure to achieve high grades throughout school led to her feeling alienated and alone. Her internal battles with wanting to be loved, even though she never felt good enough to receive this, meant that she repressed these feelings of anger and it hurt her mental state. In recent years she has come to understand different coping mechanisms to overcome this. She is now in a much better place than she was throughout her teenage years. She has since learnt to be happy by herself and no longer relies solely on the love of others to achieve this.

Chrissy Teigen

Chrissy Teigen is a former Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, she also has a big social media presence where she uses her platform to share her opinions.  Many people admire how open Teigen is to her followers. It’s a refreshing and raw approach; people in the public eye are often tempted to create an illusion of a perfect life. Teigen’s life has imperfections and she isn’t afraid to share that. In April 2016, she gave birth to her first child, a daughter called Luna. This sadly led to Teigen developing postpartum depression, a condition that one in ten women experience within a year of giving birth.

Teigen has struggled with anxiety for most of her life, this had only worsened once she gave birth to Luna. Despite having everything that she needed to feel content with her life, she was constantly sad and struggling with daily tasks. Months after her problems first started, Teigen decided to seek out professional help. She started taking anti-depressants and sharing her experience with family and friends. Within a month of starting her antidepressants, she started to feel like herself again, although she does still find some days particularly hard. Teigen finds it very important to highlight how this can happen to anyone. It’s a disease that doesn’t discriminate, affecting millions of women worldwide.

Brooke Shields

American born model Brooke Shields has been modelling since her early teens. Her career has grown rapidly since her teens when she became the youngest model on the cover of Vogue at age 14 in 1980. She has been modelling for decades and has been the face of many well-known brands, including Calvin Klein. However, Shield’s life hasn’t always been as perfect as it may seem at first. After the birth of her first daughter in 2003, she experienced a deep postpartum depression. She admitted she felt completely disconnected from her baby. 

The shame and guilt that she felt throughout this time led her to suicidal thoughts. Shields quickly found the courage to seek help to encourage her to overcome these feelings and reconnect with her daughter. She has since become an advocate for postpartum depression, deciding to document her journey in her 2005 bestseller. This detailed her experiences and allowed many others to discover that they’re not alone. She’s one of the first celebrities to speak openly about her depression, helping to break the stigma of mental health. Shields believes that postpartum depressions needs to be regarded as a serious medical condition. This could make the treatment more available and socially acceptable.

Mia Kang

31-year-old fashion model Mia Kang began her modelling career at the age of 13 when she was scouted for Levi’s ad campaign. In 2015, she had her first feature in Sports Illustrated Swimwear. Her size six frame with prominent collarbones and hip bones was praised within the industry. She aimed to look like a Victoria’s Secret model, this led to her becoming continuously preoccupied with her weight and how she looked. Like many other professional models, she too suffered from anorexia and bulimia. The disease had a drastic effect on her mental health.

She recalled how before her Sports Illustrated shoot, she starved herself for 10 days, substituting food for cigarettes. In 2016, she decided to enrol in a nine-month training camp of martial arts in Thailand, she started to gain weight and embraced her stronger physique. With her current size 12 frame, she has overcome most of her feelings of body dysmorphia, appreciating her curves and the power she has gained from her new body. Although these negative feelings never completely disappear, she has learnt to manage them and heal from it. She now refuses to let her insecurities hold her back from happiness.

Daniella Moyles

Daniella Moyles is a 30-year-old Irish model, former-radio presenter, author and influencer. In 2016 her life started to get out of control, she was constantly working and never stopping. She has described how she suffered episodes where she would become disorientated, sometimes forgetting where she was. She thought that it was a physical problem. When she went to her GP and described how she felt pain in her chest, they were quick to suggest that it might be stress. She found herself dismissing the doctor’s suggestion, not believing that she could be stressed. This denial led to her state worsening.

Her life seemed perfect on the outside, she had a career that she was excelling at and she was living comfortably. However, inside she felt empty. Soon after she visited the GP she had a panic attack which led to her facing the fact that she was unhappy. She realised that she couldn’t maintain her busy lifestyle. Moyles was lucky to be in the position where she could leave her job to focus on her mental health. She travelled the world, visiting 80 countries which allowed her to truly heal. In each country she found anxiety-inducing situations and faced them. With each new adventure, she felt like she was herself again. Her journey is one that many can relate to, it’s easy to be in denial about our mental health issues. We must be open with ourselves and reach out for help if we need it.

Mental illnesses don’t discriminate

Mental illnesses affect everyone, no matter how successful and happy they may seem on the outside. These five models who have come forward to speak out about their past are extremely brave, it’s not easy to reveal all your issues when you are in the public eye. By speaking out they are helping break the stigma and inspiring many to seek out help, showing that it’s okay to not be okay. They are living proof that it does get better, and although some days can and will be hard, we can get through anything. We must support everyone who has described their experiences with mental health, it helps spark important discussions and inspires many to remain hopeful about their battles.

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