Australian model reveals how she struggled to remain a size zero while storming runways in New York

An Australian woman has revealed the struggles she faced as a young model trying to retain a size-zero waist while storming runways in New York.

Lauren Hill, nee Burnett, 28, from Culburra Beach in New South Wales, first started modelling at 12 years of age and was one of the youngest models to walk Sydney’s Mercedes Benz fashion week.

Now she is the second plus-size model to ever be featured in Vogue Australia after her high-fashion career was cut short by the intense demands being placed on her body.

‘I was doing what most young girls dream of, it was exciting and fun but the stress of trying to keep my weight down took its toll,’ she told FEMAIL.

‘I remember always being hungry and continuously checking myself for flaws. I was always tired and I lived mostly on water and cigarettes.’

Then: A woman has revealed the struggles she faced as a young model who tried to retain a size-zero waist while storming runways in New York

Then: A woman has revealed the struggles she faced as a young model who tried to retain a size-zero waist while storming runways in New York

Now: Lauren Hill , 28, from Culburra Beach in New South Wales, Australia, first started modelling at 12 years of age and is now a size 12

Now: Lauren Hill , 28, from Culburra Beach in New South Wales, Australia, first started modelling at 12 years of age and is now a size 12

Lauren Hill, 28, from Culburra Beach in New South Wales, Australia, has revealed the struggles she faced as a young model who tried to retain a size-zero waist while storming runways in New York

Now she is the second plus-size model to ever be featured in Vogue Australia after her high-fashion career was cut short by the crazy demands being put on her body

Now she is the second plus-size model to ever be featured in Vogue Australia after her high-fashion career was cut short by the crazy demands being put on her body

Now she is the second plus-size model to ever be featured in Vogue Australia after her high-fashion career was cut short by the crazy demands being put on her body

When she did eat she would be starving so would find herself bingeing on food. 

She would then either throw up or take laxatives to quickly get rid of it from her body.

Although she loved food if she put on a few kilos it was grounds for them to fire her – a clause that was stated in her modelling contract.  

Lauren, who was often sick and run down, tried to stay fit but her leg and arm muscles became ‘too big’ and she was told to stop working out so much. 

‘During this time my anxiety started and now it is still something I suffer from, it took me a long time to look in the mirror and finally love what I see,’ she said.

'I remember always being hungry and continuously checking myself for flaws. I was always tired and it was water and cigarette's that I lived on mostly, smoking would suppress my appetite so I wouldn't eat so much, then I got addicted,' she said

'I remember always being hungry and continuously checking myself for flaws. I was always tired and it was water and cigarette's that I lived on mostly, smoking would suppress my appetite so I wouldn't eat so much, then I got addicted,' she said

‘I remember always being hungry and continuously checking myself for flaws. I was always tired and it was water and cigarette’s that I lived on mostly, smoking would suppress my appetite so I wouldn’t eat so much, then I got addicted,’ she said

As a teenager Lauren had the honour to walk for big-name brands such as Alex Perry, Lisa Ho, Josh Goot, Camilla & Marc, Willow and Akira.

‘I had a lot of ups and downs through the years of working in Australia, so I then went over to New Zealand where I was working frequently and developed into a strong independent woman, whom I believed could handle anything,’ she said.

‘Opportunities don’t happen, you create them, and at the age of 17 I was booked for a massive international campaign and flown straight to New York, with only two days to pack and say goodbye to my family.

‘This was a very overwhelming and extremely exciting thing for someone who had just left school. I remember thinking, “Wow, they chose me!”.’

When she did eat she would be starving so would find herself bingeing on food, which meant that she would either throw up or take laxatives to quickly get rid of the food from her body

When she did eat she would be starving so would find herself bingeing on food, which meant that she would either throw up or take laxatives to quickly get rid of the food from her body

When she did eat she would be starving so would find herself bingeing on food, which meant that she would either throw up or take laxatives to quickly get rid of the food from her body

'During this time my anxiety started and still is now something I suffer from, it took me a long time to look in the mirror and finally love what I see,' she said

'During this time my anxiety started and still is now something I suffer from, it took me a long time to look in the mirror and finally love what I see,' she said

‘During this time my anxiety started and still is now something I suffer from, it took me a long time to look in the mirror and finally love what I see,’ she said

By this stage she had already worked for big names such as, Cosmopolitan, Harpers Bizarre and Elle but the lights of New York were calling her name.

To fit in the outfits I had to stop eating and was constantly taking laxatives. I remember a friend of mine giving me some pills that were called Size Zero. 

Lauren said living in the Big Apple was an eye-opener and she saw things that she probably shouldn’t have seen at the age of 17.

‘I grew up quickly and learnt how to hold myself together in and around the high rollers,’ she said.

While she was there she ended up booking one of the top New York designers, Chado Ralph Rucci, and closing the show. 

She walked a few other shows as well but by this stage her career was starting to take its toll on her. 

Lauren said living in New York was an eye-opener and she saw things that she probably shouldn't have seen at the age of 17

Lauren said living in New York was an eye-opener and she saw things that she probably shouldn't have seen at the age of 17

Lauren said living in New York was an eye-opener and she saw things that she probably shouldn’t have seen at the age of 17

‘To fit in the outfits I had to stop eating and was constantly taking laxatives. I remember a friend of mine giving me some pills that were called Size Zero,’ she said.

‘I took that for the time that I lived there. Finally I was a size zero and I was being booked for New York fashion week,’ she said.

‘I was so happy on the outside but on the inside I was slowly being eaten away. One day I said “enough is enough” and I came home to Australia.’

The reason she decided to come home was because her anxiety was at its peak and she was being asked to lose more and more weight or she wouldn’t book work.

'To fit in the outfits I had to stop eating and was constantly taking laxatives. I remember a friend of mine giving me some pills that were called Size Zero,' she said

'To fit in the outfits I had to stop eating and was constantly taking laxatives. I remember a friend of mine giving me some pills that were called Size Zero,' she said

‘To fit in the outfits I had to stop eating and was constantly taking laxatives. I remember a friend of mine giving me some pills that were called Size Zero,’ she said

For two years of this time she had also lost her period due to how thin she was and Lauren realised this way of living was going to be extremely detrimental to her health.

She said she was starting to feel like she was changing herself to suit what others wanted and felt isolated from her family and friends back home. 

When she finally decided to have a break from the industry she moved to the country to unwind and find peace.

Lauren eventually found herself resorting to partying to fill the void that not working as a model created but she soon realised this had to change.

The now size-14 model says it wasn’t until she embraced her natural figure and her unique self that she was ‘finally set free.’  

‘I was healthy and happy, so why did I have to be thin to be beautiful? Then I came to the realisation that I didn’t,’ she said.

‘This is when I signed with BGM models as a plus size model. I could finally be myself with no more crazy diets or unhealthy living.’

The reason she decided to come home was because her anxiety was at its peak and she was being asked to lose more and more weight or she wouldn't book work

The reason she decided to come home was because her anxiety was at its peak and she was being asked to lose more and more weight or she wouldn't book work

The reason she decided to come home was because her anxiety was at its peak and she was being asked to lose more and more weight or she wouldn’t book work

The 28-year-old soon started booking work and received ‘one of the best blessings’ as she celebrated significant milestones when she featured in Vogue’s ‘New Season Silhouettes’ as part of their ‘Body Issue’.

‘It was such a great feeling to finally be a part of something that I was really passionate about, lifting others up and embracing natural beauty,’ she said.

‘This is why I try to promote positive body image and speak out about the unrealistic and negative body image portrayed to women in our culture.

‘My body is as beautiful as it has always been, just different.  Our uniqueness and individuality makes us beautiful. Together we can change the world one person at a time!’

Now Lauren is married to her husband Michael and is the proud mouther of a three month old baby boy named Storm.

She is also the ambassador for Non Airbrush Me Management, a company representing models of all diverse shapes, sizes, ages and nationalities.

If you or someone you know needs support for an eating disorder or body image issue, please call Butterfly’s National Helpline on 1800 334 673 or e-mail support@thebutterflyfoundation.org.au 

Link hienalouca.com

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