Interview & Intro by Cacy Forgenie
"America's Next Top Model" Cycle 8 Winner Jaslene Gonzalez spoke exclusively to GlobalGrind this afternoon about the fashion industry and the wider public's perception that she has an eating disorder.
The stunning Puerto Rican supermodel, who was born on the island but was raised in Chicago, spoke to us by phone from the Hamptons where she was chilling for the weekend.
Gonzalez, a size zero model who is 5'7, wanted the world to know that there is nothing wrong with her, that she does not have an eating disorder, contrary to what her appearance says.
Gonzalez also said that she was born this way, is physically fit, can eat what she wants and is happy with who she is, explaining that she was very active as a child, playing sports and running around like any other normal kid. She confessed that as she and her sister grew older, her sister developed curves while she continually appeared thin.
Pressure and teasing from her peers and even some members of her family, began to creep into her psyche, triggering feelings of doubt and insecurity. That intense scrutiny further dented her self-esteem, ultimately driving her into the arms of an abusive lover and sometimes causing her to lose modeling gigs.
Here's some of what was said in our conversation.
GlobalGrind: You wanted to talk about eating disorders? What's going on?
Jaslene: Yeah, well it’s not so much addressing the eating disorders as addressing the fact that everyone has the misconception that I have an eating disorder.
In that sense I don’t embrace or I don’t acknowledge or condone the whole eating disorder thing that so many women who go through eating disorders to be my size. But I am actually a naturally thin healthy girl. This is genetics, this is something that I’ve battled with all my life. My mom, everyone, thought that I had a problem because I was so thin. I used to go to the doctors to see what was the problem and we just came to the conclusion that there isn’t a problem; this is my body type. I’ve lived so long with this insecurity of being a size zero, even a double zero.
Now, I’ve come to happiness because I feel happy to be in my own body! I feel that I am the perfect weight now. It really was painful for most of my life. I got picked on, I was always the tall skinny girl in my school, in my dancing school and everywhere I’d go, I would just stand out for being so skinny. I always thought that no one liked me, I always thought I could never get the kind of guy I wanted and I ended up falling into, I would say, an abusive relationship I fell into had a lot to do with him making me feel that way as well. I wasn’t good enough or I wasn’t thin enough, you know things like that. So, I carried a lot of that for so long and my getaway was … my escape was becoming a model and it all became a natural progression for me. Dancing on stage and being a model on the runway, I now feel comfortable in embracing my figure.