This Model Burst The Door Open On Her Anxiety Issues And Got An Amazing Response

We spoke to Emily Bador about her body-positive Instagram posts

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Emily Bador put up her first body-positive Instagram post in December.

After the start of a successful modeling career - in which she worked for Ivy Park, Unif and Tatler, to name a few - she realised she had developed a particularly unhealthy relationship with her body.

This revelation led her to take some time out for herself and, when she began to feel like she was back on the right path, she posted this:

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i'm gonna be honest, the industry needs to change. man oh man i'm tired of it. on the left is july 2015, my lowest weight. i can't tell you how much i weighed but i can tell you i was size 4/6 and my waist only measured 23 inches. i can also tell you i thought i was fat. i've always had a few body image issues but since becoming a model, they've skyrocketed. at work, i've always felt like i didn't belong, i've always been short, and mixed race. i'd been modelling for just over a year, and going to castings made me feel super insecure. every time i didn't get a call back from my casting i'd start to wonder why. was i too fat? during 2015, i became obsessive with my measurements and clothes sizes. i exercised daily and i would never even look at any carbs let alone eat them. it started making me physically sick, dizzy, exhausted, etc. i ended up getting to a point where i'd have daily panic attacks about getting dressed, and couldn't even leave my bed in fear of catching my reflection in the mirror. at this time, i also started getting the most work i've ever had and travelling all over world. which, instilled in me "the thinner i am, the more work i'm gonna get". my hatred for myself became so overwhelming i knew something had to change, i took some time out and finally got working on loving myself. and today, for the first time in a long time, i felt good about myself this morning. i struggle with getting dressed sometimes, catching my reflection can occasionally hurt still and i have panic attacks now and again but i am getting there. sometimes i forget that self love is a journey. we have to call on this system to change. we need diversity. all bodies, differently abled, shaped, coloured, sized, gendered and aged. diversity is so important. representation is so important. i'm sick and tired of seeing amazing, talented, beautiful women hate themselves because they don't look like that VS model or whatever. too many young women suffer from mental health issues which stem from the pressure of today's media. ✨you are more than your appearance, you are strong and resilient and you are beautiful no matter what and i really hope you remember that✨

A post shared by e m i l y bador (@darth_bador) on

Since then, Emily has been inundated with personal messages and has continued to post intimate and open photos on social media.

Intrigued by her decision to be so public about her personal struggle, we reached out to the Brighton-based model and asked her some questions about being an Instagram activist.

Her first political post was in the Summer, at the news of the referendum.

Previous to this she had been concerned about her ability to book jobs, but now, she doesn't care about that, 'these are my views and I'm proud to have them.'

'I know there's a large audience out there too which think the same way as me, so if a client didn't agree with that, then I'm not bothered.'

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And who is her 'audience', well, with the help of Instagram, about 75K people.

Her following has been immensely important to Emily, both due to it's democratising force, 'It's given regular people large platforms to express themselves. 'It's no longer [just] the elite who can express themselves,' and it's ability to create a safe and comforting community,

The knowledge that you're not alone in whatever issue you're having, is amazing. I always thought I was over exaggerating and making everything up, and it couldn't be that bad... But to know there are other people out there who feel exactly the same is kinda comforting. I now have people I can talk to and relate to.

But what was wrong?

Seemingly Emily was living a charmed life as a successful model, but this was part of the problem, she has explained how modeling contributed to her anxiety, 'My role as a model affects me massively.'

'It made made my anxiety go through the roof.

'I'm very self deprecating, and I also fear failure, and having the whole world (aka 70k followers, your bookers, your family, and your social life) look at you and expect you to succeed is pretty scary.'

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Ten minutes ago, I wasn't gonna post this. Ten minutes ago, I look at this and thought "my thighs look fat in this". Ten minutes ago, I almost didn't even check the comments section for fear of some internet troll ridiculing my my body. ✨ Cos it's hard learning to love yourself, it's fucking hard. And I still slip up, like, a lot. ✨ And we live in a world where it's almost impossible to escape the ridiculous traditional beauty standards the fashion industry think are 'correct'. Whether you're in it directly or not, it's hard not to be affected. But you've gotta stay strong. You've gotta remember you're perfect as you are. It's never worth forcing yourself to be something you're not. It's not worth making yourself sick just to look like the girls in the adverts (even if you're meant to be 'one of the girls in the adverts'). ✨ I did check the comments by the way. And it was worth it. "I love that you're using a regular model, someone who I can personally relate to. 😍 love the outfit too" (thank you @danidoce). Some times, I slip up, and I ridicule myself and my journey to self love isn't always perfect. But this one comment was a huge reminder that actually, there's nothing wrong with me, my thighs aren't fat, and I am as valid and as worthy as any other girl on New Looks instagram, as valid and as worthy as anyone. And I'm posting this photo as a reminder of that. It's not me who needs to change, it's the industry. And I hope you all remember that too✨❤️

A post shared by e m i l y bador (@darth_bador) on

Somehow Emily transformed those negative thoughts and experiences into informed, positive ones:

Before, I never really questioned my ethnic identity or how bad my body issues or anxiety were. I could get by. It's shocking how many models suffer with these issues too. Someone from my agency once said anxiety comes with the industry. Everyone has it or knows someone who's experienced it.

She's aware that to many, it will seem like she leads a comparatively charmed life: 'Yeah, this past six months I've become very aware of privilege.'

'It's having the understanding that systematically you have an upper hand.

'That's not saying your problems aren't valid, or your struggle isn't hard, it's saying other groups have the odds stacked against them more.'

She understands that since she is 'white passing' (since she is mixed race with a light skin tone), cis gendered and has, ultimately, an aspirational figure for a lot of people, she is privileged, but her fears and thoughts are as valid as anyones, 'I think having an awareness of privilege just makes people have more empathy for one another, which in this day and age, I think we really need. '

So Emily is taking every day to try and gain self-acceptance, and in the mean-time she's going to keep posting and marching to try and change the world for everyone, including herself, because 'We're not real ally's if we're silent and sat on our arses are we?'

Well said Emily.

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