Karen Elson suffered body dysmorphia during her early modelling career.
The 42-year-old beauty – who started modelling at the age of 16 – opened up about how posing for nude portraits and in risqué outfits led to confusion over her body image.
She said: “Fifty per cent of the time, I did them because I felt I didn’t have the right to say no. I just wanted everyone to be happy, and that was more important to me than my own discomfort. And it tied into my body dysmorphia. Everyone loved my body when my clothes were off, but when I had to squeeze into a pair of tight pants, they were shaming me.”
Karen then went on to explain that she felt pressure to go through with the racy shoots so early on because she needed to feel “validated.”
Speaking to Harper’s Bazaar, she added: “I just wanted to be liked, and have everyone think I was beautiful. Unfortunately, sometimes you’ll put yourself through terrible things to have that validated.”
The supermodel-turned-musician was later shocked to find those nude portraits – which had initially been shot for high-end fashion magazines – circulating on pornographic websites.
She said: “How can those images be used in that context?! Emily Ratajkowski [fellow model] speaks really well about this. She and I have talked about the fact that we both represent feistiness, and we stand up for what we believe in. The risk that you run is that people say, ‘She’s difficult, she’s ungrateful, who does she think she is?’ And the truth is, I’m so grateful, but that doesn’t mean I should be complaisant, or abused sexually, financially or emotional.”