Why Nicole Scherzinger's battle with bulimia matters

By going public with her struggle, she has raised awareness of a disease that kills

Louise Scodie
Thursday 03 July 2014 17:35 BST
Missguided sells a range designed by former Pussycat Dolls singer and X Factor judge Nicole Scherzinge
Missguided sells a range designed by former Pussycat Dolls singer and X Factor judge Nicole Scherzinge

Nicole Scherzinger is the kind of pop star that millions of people look up to. She’s beautiful, talented and unreachably successful.

Which is why it’s notable that she has gone public about her struggle with bulimia.

Speaking to Cosmopolitan magazine, it’s clear that Scherzinger’s candid interview is more than just a cynical grab for public sympathy. You really get a sense of how dreadful the disease was for her. In a world where celebrities’ looks and lives are airbrushed to a pulp, it’s impressive that some in the public eye are prepared to be honest and show they suffer from ordinary, horrible problems like you and me.

Millions of pounds are spent on governmental health-education initiatives, and that’s brilliant. But few things have a greater effect than when a celebrity uses his or her power to influence the wellbeing of their fans. Witness Angelina Jolie’s decision to have a double mastectomy to prevent contracting breast cancer. This certainly isn’t the answer for everyone, but it really raised awareness of the disease, thanks to Jolie’s readiness to live her story very publicly.

Even Jade Goody, who attracted hatred during her time in the public eye, helped raise awareness of the cervical cancer that killed her – so much so that on the day of her burial Cancer Research UK said her story had led to “hundreds of thousands” of people contacting them for help and advice. The number of women going for smear tests also increased. Goody was dying from cancer, but she spoke about her story so that other women could prevent the same happening to them.

Say what you want about celebrity culture – I’m no particular fan of it – but it’s great that some of those afforded fame use it to raise awareness of issues.

For every person who derides Scherzinger, there will be another who is suffering from an eating disorder, or knows someone who is, and has no absolutely idea how to get help.

Reading Scherzinger’s words could be that vital first step towards recovery: “It is such a horrible disease… but you can recover… I did and that’s why it’s important for me to share my story… do not give up.”

Somewhere, someone’s life will be saved because of reading that.

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