You don’t think about the word “fat” until that’s how you’re labeled. From the moment I heard it for the first time in sixth grade, that word followed me. It honestly became my identity. So in an attempt to take control of my newfound title, I started dieting. I started to realize, when I lost weight, I received external validation. I started getting more attention. People started noticing me more, telling me I looked “beautiful”.
Of course, it was never enough. I’d end up gaining the weight back and when I did, I felt like I didn’t matter anymore. It was almost like when the number on the scale grew larger and larger, my worth got smaller and smaller. So I’d go back to dieting, desperate to reclaim that external validation. I needed it because without it, I was nothing. It was a constant cycle and I didn’t know at the time, but it was the
start of my eating disorder.
I was fixated on my appearance. Part of it was my own internal monologue, telling myself my WORTH was wrapped up in how much I weighed and what I saw when I looked in the mirror. But honestly, a big part of it came from external pressures. I was a performer, and appearance at that time was everything. I literally had teachers and mentors telling me I needed to lose weight if I wanted to be, “the next Jennifer Lawrence.” That everything I wanted to accomplish could happen if I just lost weight. The really shitty part? I actually believed them.
Now I know it’s all bullshit.
It definitely didn’t happen overnight. I was in and out of treatment for a while—the therapists even called me a “runner,” meaning I’d show up for three weeks and then disappear for the next three and fall off. It took me a while to get to a point where I was ready to FOCUS on just me, because for so long I was fixated on what others thought of me and how others were affecting me. It took a lot of fucking work over years to finally accept the part I played in it all. Honestly, it took me a long to time to simply accept me.
But I did.
As I wrote about in one of my earlier blogs, during the process of self-acceptance, acting lost a lot of its appeal for me. So instead of always trying to please others, I started to focus on what would make ME happy. I got into a healthy routine. I was working out and eating right, but the key here was I wasn’t obsessed with it. It had just become my lifestyle, simply what I did every day because it made me operate at my highest frequency. And sure, because I was being healthy, my body changed a little.
So I started modeling. That makes total sense, right? I stopped acting because the pressure to look a certain way was too much… so I turned to modeling instead. If you’re thinking, “what the actual fuck, Jacq”, just hear me out. I was motivated to model by the idea that I might be able to inspire one girl a day to feel good about herself. If by showing up to the world, after all I battled, as my most authentic self, then maybe I could make one girl feel OK with doing the same. To this day, that’s really what it’s all about for me.
So I modeled. At one point, I ended up losing some more weight. I don’t remember why, and I don’t fucking care why, but I did. And then I became an “in-between.” I wasn’t plus; I wasn’t straight. Once again I was faced with pressure to change, because there’s no guaranteed market as an in-between model. I was told I needed to either lose or gain weight to stay in the industry. So what did I do?
I said, FUCK THAT!
The difference between acting and modeling was, this time I accepted myself. I STOPPED being willing to change for other people. This time, my point of view was the industry was lucky to have ME, not the other way around. With acting, I was constantly trying to change myself in order to prove my worth. That time in my life was fucking exhausting because I was constantly trying to be something I’m not. Something I will never be.
By the time I went into modeling, I had spent years learning to accept myself. It took time, but I figured out my worth ran so much deeper than what I weighed. I went into modeling knowing I was enough—take it or leave it. And you better believe they took it, until I personally was ready to walk away and start Your Inner Babe.
YOUR WORTH ISN’T MEASURED BY YOUR APPEARANCE.
Yes, everyone wants to feel good about themselves physically, but the ONLY way to do this is to feel good about yourself mentally.
Yes, society puts so much fucking pressure on what you look like, but you need to realize your worth is measured by so much more.
Finally, yes, it’s OK if you want to work on your appearance. It’s OK if you want to lose or gain weight. But at the end of the day, you can’t work on the outside if you don’t work on what’s inside first.
So pay attention to your passions and feed them. Prioritize yourself every day. Fill your cup with things that make you happy. Recognize that your self-doubt will never go away, but that these doubts are just feelings, they’re not facts.
The fact is? You are worth it.