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Former Victoria’s Secret model says she was diagnosed with PTSD after walking in 2016 show

‘I was reliant on anti-anxiety medication to get through the night,’ Bridget Malcolm says

Saman Javed
Wednesday 20 October 2021 15:20 BST
Bridget Malcolm attends the 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion After Party
Bridget Malcolm attends the 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion After Party (Getty Images for Victoria's Secr)
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A former Victoria’s Secret model has opened up about the detrimental impact working for the brand had on her physical and mental health in a new podcast that delves into the company’s “toxic” culture.

Bridget Malcolm, an Australian Model who walked in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in 2016, said her periods stopped, she could “barely even read a book” and that she relied on anxiety medication to sleep through the night while preparing for the runway.

She made the comments during an episode of the “Fallen Angel” podcast, which is hosted by journalists Vanessa Grigoriadis and Justine Harman.

The podcast, which speaks to various models and executives who worked for the lingerie company, aims to investigate the origin of the brand and explore how it influenced the way “a generation of women think about sex, desire and beauty”.

In the first episode, “Thong Song”, Malcolm described feeling hungry “all the time”.

“The angels were very thin, they were all the same size, the same shape, everything. And I wanted to be one of those girls,” she said.

“So, I just worked out and slept. I was so hungry; I was reliant on anti-anxiety medication to get through the night.”

Malcolm said she didn’t “feel present” and lost her personality in the process of losing weight.

“After spending three months eating nothing [other] than protein shakes and steamed vegetables and exercising, I don’t feel sexy, I don’t even know what that feels like at this point,” she said.

After the 2016 show, Malcolm decided her diet and lifestyle were neither sustainable nor healthy.

The following year, Malcolm was dropped from the 2017 Fashion Show after she gained half an inch around her hips.

“When I got rejected from the show in 2017 my hips were 33.5 [inches],” she recalled.

Since leaving the company, Malcolm has been diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, has suffered from panic attacks and has faced “serious mental health struggles”.

“I’m never going to say it was due to the body standards set by Victoria’s Secret, or by the industry. but there is a correlation between me at my sickest and when I was doing work with those brands,” she said.

This is not the first time Malcolm has spoken up about her wellbeing suffering while she worked for the brand.

In an interview with 60 Minutes Australia last month, Malcolm described the brand as “extremely exploitative”.

“To me, it felt like controlling women. Getting women as small as possible and then even not being small enough. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it,” she said.

When asked by the interviewer if the company sent a message to models that they needed to be super thin, Malcolm said the message was “pretty clear”.

In a statement to The Independent, Victoria’s Secret said: “There is a new leadership team at Victoria’s Secret who is fully committed to the continued transformation of the brand with a focus on creating an inclusive environment for our associates, customers and partners to celebrate, uplift and champion all women.”

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