health

"I survived anorexia. And I believe we should absolutely screen our models for eating disorders."

Michaela Jones, before and after her recovery from the gruelling illness.

WARNING: This post may be triggering for some people. 

Yesterday, designer Alex Perry admitted that he’d made the wrong decision in casting extremely underweight models in his fashion shows.

After watching the segment, 21-year-old University of Sydney student Michaela Jones wrote to Today sharing her own grueling experience with anorexia, which left her with arrhythmia (also known as an irregular heartbeat) at age 18.

Michaela joined Mamamia publisher Mia Freedman and Lisa Wilkinson on the show this morning to discuss the issue, saying images of emaciated models dominating the media had affected her as a teenager.

“Every single day we’re bombarded with images in the media and in every magazine and you look on the catwalk,” she said on Today. “And when you’re a young 18-year-old trying to find out who you’re going to be in the world, it’s very easy to be influenced by that sort of images. (They) make you question- is that was a normal woman’s supposed to be like?”

Michaela told Mamamia today it was a “very long road” to recovery for her — and that she fears for the health of other impressionable girls exposed to images of emaciated models.

“I think that this has such an impact, the modelling industry. It’s happening with young girls, and with anorexia happens without you knowing. That happened to me.”

She said she would “absolutely” support the imposition of a minimum BMI requirement of 18.5, as exists currently in Italy and Israel. She would also like models’ oestrogen levels to be compulsorily tested.

“(At a very low BMI) they’re not menstruating, which means they can’t produce children. Right now that might seem okay… but down the track that’s going to be the worst things in the world.”

 Watch the Today segment here:

These are some of the models who have been working at Sydney Fashion Week:

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If this post brings up any issues for you, please contact The Butterfly Foundation on 1800 ED HOPE (1800 33 4673).

Do you agree that we need a BMI screening process for Australian models?

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