I love you. I hate you.

 

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Elle MacPherson, Instagram  aka: The Body      ellemacphersonbody

I was asked a question on Quora tonight. “As a model, did your body image worsen or improve when you began modeling? Why?

At first I hesitated to answer. And then, I thought back to the conversation I have on a daily basis with myself. I come from a generation of women who grew up with role models who had perfect bodies. Supermodels were tall, slim, sexy stunning faces, perfect bone structure, and wore their clothes like they were custom designed for them. And of course they went on to marry the super wealthy, influential, high-profile perfect alpha males. The only challenge was, the average woman was created with “imperfections.”

I also came from the generation of women who were told we could have “it all”–the perfect marriage, career and family. Yet we constantly compared ourselves to the cover girls of our era. The pursuit of perfection became our goal in all aspects of our lives.

So this is what I answered. And it immediately set off a series of “upvotes” on Quora and surprisingly to me, from young women.

I attempted to model in my 20’s. I was attractive for sure, but never skinny or tall. I think the experience might have contributed to my relentless pursuit of the perfect body weight—which I can say with certainty, I’ve never achieved. In other words, I never thought I was pretty enough, slim enough, and always quietly obsessed about what I believed were my body faults.

It saddens me when I see young women who are gorgeous and still think they aren’t enough. All that leads to a constant obsession with perfection. Guys don’t have this problem. It’s quite acceptable to be imperfect if you’re a man.

I moved on from modeling after a short period of time. I did do shows and fashion showroom modeling but I knew it would never be a career for me. I went on to start retail stores, then became a fashion buyer and eventually manufactured clothing. The industry allowed me to live my passion-for-fashion quite successfully.

I never lost that stupid obsession with body image. Even now. I routinely announce: I love you. I hate you. And I’m way beyond the age when I should care. But I still do.

 

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