From replacing food with cups of coffee and cigarettes to exercising for at least two hours everyday, former supermodel Carré Otis has revealed the truth about her destructive lifestyle as a model in the 1980s.
The Vogue cover star wishes she had been more honest with her young female fans who sent countless letters asking for beauty secrets and itching for an insight into the model's glamourous lifestyle.
It is only now - decades on, aged 44 - that she has found "the nerve" to reply to the fans in an article for Australia's Herald Sun. Before now, she couldn't bring herself to lie to fans or face the "dark reality" of her lifestyle.
Whenever asked about my diet/workout, I would cite a healthy routine, the kind touted in women's magazines. "Jazzercise three times a week and light weights," I'd say. The heavily guarded truth was that I exercised a minimum of two hours a day, seven days a week. On days when I wasn't working, I did double duty, going to the gym twice in one day.
I said I ate oatmeal for breakfast, chicken and veggies for lunch, and fish and salad for dinner, along with a healthy snack like yoghurt. But in reality, my big diet staple was four to six cups of black coffee per day, avoiding even a splash of skim milk since I was terrified of extra calories. And to stave off hunger, I went through a few packs of cigarettes daily. Cigarettes with coffee gave me an energy boost. And all energy boosts were welcome because my body was perpetually fatigued from little to no sleep, over-exercised muscles, starvation and the relentless stream of criticisms inside my own head.
This isn't the first time Carré has opened up about her experiences as a top model. In 2011, her book Beauty Disrupted, revealed past battles with eating disorders, drug abuse and sexual abuse.
In another revealing letter she says:
"You look beautiful Carr.!" the photographer would yell with every click of the camera. "This is your moment!" But it never felt like my moment. It felt like everyone else's. There I was, supposedly a successful model, but I didn't know how to manage my professional identity, let alone my personal one.
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Carré Otis during Donna Karan Runway Show circa 1994 in New York City
Model Carré Otis attends the 'Orientalism: Visions of the East in Western Dress' Costume Instute Gala on December 5, 1994 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City
Model Carré Otis and Fashion Designer Isaac Mizrahi atten the 'Orientalism: Visions of the East in Western Dress' Costume Instute Gala on December 5, 1994 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, New York.
Mickey Rourke and Carré Otis arrive at the premiere of 'The Pledge' at the Egyptian Theater in Los Angeles, Ca. 01/09/01.
Model Carré Otis walks the runway at 'The Big Kiss' Lane Bryant's '02 Lingerie Fashion Show at Roseland Ballroom in New York City. 02/5/2002.
Carré Otis during Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton Honored at The 1st Annual Oceana Partners Award Dinner at Century Plaza Hotel in Century City, California, United States.
"This account of how dysfunctional a model's life can be when it comes to eating and exercise habits should be heeded," older model Alex B told HuffPost UK Lifestyle.
"Not all models go to these extremes - I certainly do not - but it is undeniable that there is pressure to keep to a certain size and to have a good body shape.
"Many models are very young girls who need to be educated on the need to keep healthy and strong."
She added: "Designers should stop making sample clothing in only very small sizes because it is the fear of not being able to fit into the dress that causes a significant number of models to adopt extreme dieting.
"There are, of course, models who are naturally skinny, they are often very young teenage girls who are still growing. It follows that fashion should stop using the infantilised female body as a standard.
"What we need is a global campaign on the importance of embracing greater diversity of body types in the industry. When this becomes the norm models will no longer feel the pressure of keeping thin to get into tiny clothes."
We couldn't agree more, Alex.