Content warning: This post discusses eating disorders and may be triggering for some readers.
Taylah Roberts was only 17 when she appeared on Australia’s Next Top Model.
Before the high schooler was allowed to vote or legally have a sip of alcohol, she was thrust into the modelling industry.
It was the beginning of a tense relationship with the fashion world for the now 24-year-old photographer and doula, one that she’s since left behind. But despite Taylah’s move away from modelling, she wants other young women to know what she deems to be the truth about Fashion Week.
This week, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is showcasing the craftsmanship of Australia’s most celebrated designers. But despite the glamorous connotations, it didn’t take long for Taylah, when she was walking its catwalks, to discover what it was really like.
Jessica Vander Leahy Speak On Australian Fashion And Body. Post continues after video.
Taylah says the self-doubt that the modelling industry fostered in her caused her to suffer an eating disorder.
She says she thought about taking up smoking to curb craving to eat, despite the spreads of food we see on behind the scenes Instagram stories at MBFWA.
On Instagram on Tuesday, Taylah posted a side by side picture of herself during Fashion Week when compared to today. She wrote about the intense scrutiny of the models, and how she put pressure on her body in order to get booked.
View this post on Instagram
❗️TW❗️All I see in the photo on the left is sadness, exhaustion, insecurity and lack of worth beyond size. This is what an industry only focusing on what your outer shell looks like does to you. Especially to someone that is not supposed to be that small, I was always always fighting to stay that way. Terrified that in an instant my dreams would be ripped away from me 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. 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. Your hair is pulled, curled, straightened, gelled, brushed, broken, extensions put in then ripped out, handled like it’s not attached to a person underneath. If you don’t smoke already now is the time to contemplate it, maybe that will make me not want to eat the sweets put out whilst I stand around in a bikini, waiting to be pushed onstage in shoes that are 2 sizes too small. These are just half the physical limits you’re pushed to don’t get me started on the emotional ones. Being told “if you’re not opening or closing the show that you’re just a filler.” Feeling humiliated in a room full of models when the castings director doesn’t even bother to look up from his desk when you’ve waited in line for hours. Comparing yourself to every single other girl and racking your brain as to why you didn’t book the show that you’ve always wanted. Questioning if it was my walk, am I not pretty enough, I must not be thin enough, I’m definitely not good enough. And this is only in Australia! Where it’s deemed “not as serious,” “not as bad” and “chill in comparison to FW overseas.” I cast for couture one show season in Paris and I thank fuck I didn’t book any of those shows. Don’t get me wrong there were some highlights, some smiles and memories shared with friends but all the shit that comes with it outweighs those moments CONT.