Note: This article discusses topics related to eating disorders and body dysmorphia, which may be hard to read.
In the now-viral video, Anna explains that she had just arrived home from a casting call for straight size models — sizes 4, 6, and 8 — and the director took a moment to consider her body before divulging that Anna should "lose weight" if she wanted the job. "They said, 'You're not waify enough, we want to see your bones,'" she remembered. "'The shoot is in early December, you can lose some weight.' It's 2021 and they're telling me to lose weight."
BuzzFeed reached out to Anna, who shared that though modeling can create a space for her to explore her passions and represent herself visually, "Body exclusivity, sexism, ageism, racial discrimination, and body shaming exists and makes this industry equally as hard to tolerate."
Having started modeling at 14 years old, Anna's body naturally began to change as she got older, but she recalls feeling pressured to remain a size 0/2. "When the focus on my job became solely about how I looked, I became obsessed with pushing my body's limits," she said.
Anna previously struggled with anorexia and a binge-eating disorder. During this time, she was 5'10” and 112 pounds.
"I talked to my doctor during a routine check-up appointment. He [said] that my habits would potentially damage me for years to come," she said. "My period was gone, my mood struggled to be positive, and I finally had enough with other people's expectations for my body. I began eating regularly with three meals a day and snacks. I rekindled my love for running and rock climbing. I felt strong and healthy during my recovery, gaining 35 pounds to achieve a BMI in a safe range."
During the casting, Anna said the director called her torso "thick" and commented about her bones "not protruding enough." When thinking back on the moment, she said, "I could not believe I was being stripped of my confidence and healthy recovery in front of a panel of people who wanted MY body to revert back to when I was most unhealthy."
"I strongly encouraged the casting director to stop berating me after I explained there was an eating disorder I am recovered from and that this type of verbal abuse could send someone back to their old habits," she continued.
"I was met with cold bitterness, and so I left the casting. I could tell the other models were just as shocked and upset after hearing the nasty comments said to my face. I left knowing that I stood up for myself, but it didn't stop the frustration and anger I felt."
When thinking about necessary changes that need to be made in the modeling industry, Anna said the list would require scrolling. There's an obvious need for reimagination when it comes to inclusivity and sizes on the runway, but the groundwork, she believes, starts with the promotion of marginalized communities.
"I recognize [the] privilege I've had as a white, cis, tall, thin, blue-eyed, and blonde-haired woman. There is no denying that the pain I faced last week is felt on a much higher level by POC models simply because the traditional modeling beauty standard is eurocentric," she said.
Regardless of age, shape, or race, one thing is for certain: Women's bodies come in a wide range of sizes, and though the average dress size in America is 16–18, modeling gigs are cornered by a size 4 frame. Brands like Savage X Fenty, Rihanna's inclusive lingerie line, have set new standards by showcasing pregnant, disabled, and plus-size models on the runway, but it's not enough.
The National Eating Disorders Association helpline is 1-800-931-2237; for 24/7 crisis support, text “NEDA” to 741741.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline is 1-888-950-6264 (NAMI) and provides information and referral services; GoodTherapy.org is an association of mental health professionals from more than 25 countries who support efforts to reduce harm in therapy.