After fighting her body at every turn, resisting eating ‘normal’ meals, and exercising vigorously, Liza Golden-Bhojwani collapsed one night in her apartment while preparing her low-cal dinner of 20 pieces of steamed edamame.
Booking jobs left and right the 17-year-old American model was headed to London, Milan and Paris Fashion Week. Her ultra slim frame and striking bone-structure propelled her to the height of her, ultimately short-lived, high fashion career.
Now, 5 years later, she’s sharing her journey to body acceptance.
Recently posting a #FlashbackFriday in the form of a before and after Instagram post, she addressed her eating struggles and her all-consuming fight with her own body.
A little flashback Friday action for you. This caption will be long and won't fit, so if you'd like to read please find the rest in the comment section....The left side was me at the start of the peak of my career. My first proper fashion week where I was actually the size I needed to be. I was booking amazing shows that one never thinks they actually could, walking with girls who I once looked up to, it was a serious adrenaline rush...but after fainting one night in my apt whilst preparing one of my very low cal meals (I think it was 20 pieces of steamed edamame if I remember correctly), I called it quits with the diet and workout regime I was put on and decided I could do it on my own. I thought to myself, I can still be this thin, but I'll just eat a little more so I don't feel so horrible. Well, eating a little more turned into eating nearly a bag full of almonds, which then turned into eating full size meals, which then turned into a full blown binge. I was craving every single food you could imagine and I was giving in to every craving even though I knew this was such an important time in my career. I made it through NYFW okay, no one had noticed any weight gain, but by the time I had gotten the LFW I could see the pounds starting to show both in the mirror and on the measuring tape, but I kept quiet obviously not wanting to sabotage myself. I found myself going to the grocery store and picking up raw vegetables to try and make up for the near two week binge I had in NY, but I didn't see any weight coming off no matter how "healthy" I was eating and no matter how many workouts I fit in. MFW came and I knew I was bigger and by bigger I mean a 35.5in hip rather than the 34.5in hip I started with in NY, I played it cool and just pretended everything was normal. I did end up booking shows, Dolce & Gabbana being one of them. Which I afterwards received online criticism about my thighs looking fat...Anyways PFW came about, and I found it impossible to resist those chocolate croissants ?? I went on many a casting with one exclusive option being on my schedule, but after meeting the client I knew the reason for me not nailing the gig, my size...
“(This was) my first proper fashion week where I was actually the size I needed to be. I was booking amazing shows that one never thinks they actually could, walking with girls who I once looked up to, it was a serious adrenaline rush...”
After the incident where she fainted in her apartment she increased her portion sizes to about 800-1000 calories a day. But this changed her shape, and she slowly but surely became ‘too big’ to be a high fashion runway model. One of her last runway shows was for Dolce & Gabbana in Milan. Yet, afterwards she received large-scale online criticism from people who shamed her for her weighty thighs.
Soon after she left the industry as she simply wasn’t booking jobs anymore.
But Harper's Bazaar reports that in 2014, only two years after she'd given up the diet that saw her passed out on the floor of her New York apartment, she started restricting herself again. She wanted to get back into the glittering world of modelling.
"In 2014 I got a kick, a rev of my engine, I wanted to get in shape again, I was over giving up. I wanted in again, but in a much healthier way," she says on Instagram.
"And I did just that, I worked my a** off day in and day out in the gym. I was strict about my diet, but I wasn't fully starving myself like I had two years ago, I was eating more but I still kept a diary of exactly what I ate everyday and I would tally up the calories at the end of the day."
She then went to India to do some soul-searching. She asked herself whether she should give up her dream of modelling altogether, for the sake of her health and well-being.
A little slow motion action for y'all. Just incase you though it was photoshop ?? Note to all body shamers: get off my page because you're definitely not gunna like what you see. And no one wants to read your negative comments or your horrible advice! May God bless you and guide you to happiness some day. #unretouched #thisisme #bodypositive #shineon #effyourbeautystandards #lovetheskinyourein
"I was struggling to lose weight again, and one day I just thought ... why am I fighting against my body? Why don't I just go in the same direction? Stop forcing my own agenda and just listen to my body. And that's what I did, slowly, slowly I was coming into my true body form. My natural self, not my forced self," she writes.
She met her now husband while on her travels in India, and currently resides and works there as a curvy model.
Huffington Post reports that even though we have more positive body role models today in the form of curvy models like Ashley Graham, the industry still greatly pressures young models around the world to maintain thin frames – who sometimes go to extremes to do so.
Sitting at fashion week recently I couldn’t help but wonder whether a centimetre or two could be the difference between a young model booking fashion week or not. For many, I’m sure this is a reality.
Of course many models are naturally built in the way required by designers and agencies, yet many starve, purge and push their bodies to the limit and risk irreversible future damage in order to be what the world calls ‘model skinny’.