Celebrity News

How modelling almost destroyed me

A decade ago, Sophie Ward was envy of girls everywhere. A top model, she travelled the world, attending parties and photo shoots, but in reality she was a wreck, starving herself to the point that she started losing her hair.
former model Sophie Ward.

Sophie Ward. © The Australian Women's Weekly. Photography by Michelle Holden.

Sophie, now 28, opens up about the misery of her modelling years in the February issue of The Australian Women’s Weekly.

“Driven by a message that I wasn’t quite good enough as I was, I pushed my body to limits I now regret,” Sophie says. “I survived on vegetables, oats, lean protein, some fruit and caffeine. My periods stopped and I lost hair in the shower.

“I took sleeping pills to help myself drift off at night, my stomach wrought with hunger. I drank litres of water to fend off that empty feeling. My BMI dropped to 16.3.

“Forcing my brain to equate hunger with success, I believed that if I just woke up thinner, I would win this war with my body.

“Behind closed doors, we hardly ate. In public, we were smiling, amenable waifs. For years, I maintained the illusion that everything was as it seemed, until I couldn’t keep it up any longer. “

Sophie with her sister Gemma Ward, also a top model who has now quit the industry. 

Sophie was just 19 when she decided she had had enough.

“Ninety per cent of my thoughts were about what I had eaten, what I would eat next, how much exercise I was getting and how I could restrict myself more,” she says.

“I was on prestigious catwalks, in ever more expensive shoes and better make-up. I was making money, flying around the world and enjoying an active social life. My life looked great: I was a high-flying model, admired and accomplished.

“Inside, I was exhausted. I felt that losing weight would increase my value in society. Knowing I had power over my own life, I decided to quit modelling.

“Not only was I sick of eating salad, I was tired of believing that I could be better than I already was. I knew it wasn’t true, so I unplugged myself from the system and watched my life flourish. I started to love myself for who I am.”

Sophie is now happy, healthy and six months pregnant with her first child. She has never regretted quitting modelling and is now a passionate spokesperson for the dangers of eating disorders in girls and young women.

“We must ask ourselves, what kind of young women are we raising? I believe every young woman has the capacity to invent her life,” she says. “We must give her the proper tools with which to create it.”

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