Teri Wilson
April 07, 2016 4:04 pm
Instagram

It’s difficult to imagine any of the women who walk in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show struggling with body image, but Erin Heatherton is here to tell you that it does indeed happen. And it’s no picnic.

Heatherton modeled for Victoria’s Secret for five years, appearing regularly in the lingerie company’s catalogs, advertisements and their famed runway show. But for her final two shows, she faced pressure from VS to lose weight. Heatherton told Motto, “My last two Victoria’s Secret shows, I was told I had to lose weight. I look back like, ‘Really?'”

Um, yeah. We’re scratching our heads too, because at her last show for VS in 2013, this is what Erin Heatherton looked like:

In what universe is that considered in any way overweight? Seriously?

Heatherton did her best to shed some pounds as instructed, by eating healthy foods and working out two times a day. But her body just wouldn’t respond, and she had trouble losing the weight. (Probably because she wasn’t overweight to begin with. Just a hunch.) She says, “I was really depressed because I was working so hard and I felt like my body was resisting me. And I got to a point where one night I got home from a workout and I remember staring at my food and thinking maybe I should just not eat.”

This was clearly a pivotal moment. Nutrition is important. Your body needs food. Luckily, Heatherton realized these thoughts weren’t healthy. So she made a decision that was probably the healthiest thing she could do, both emotionally and physically. She parted ways with Victoria’s Secret.

Heatherton recently began talking about her decision to quit (a choice which we are 100% behind), telling Motto in a recent interview, “I realized I couldn’t go out into the world—parading my body and myself in front of all these women who look up to me—and tell them that this is easy and simple and everyone can do this.”

Just a few weeks ago, she also posted an inspiring message to Insta that has us standing up and cheering. It features a gorgeous pic of Heatherton wearing a shirt printed with “Empowered by Failure” on the front. The caption reads:

ALL OF THE YES!

Why are we so inspired by this message? Because it’s both comforting and important to know that no one can really measure up to such impossible beauty standards. NO ONE. And instead of spending time struggling to be something that we’re not, wouldn’t it be better to commit to authenticity? Because the truest version of yourself also happens to be the BEST, MOST BEAUTIFUL version of you.

Props to Erin for spreading this message of empowerment and self-love. These words make her more of an angel than a pair of feathered wings. Just saying.

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