She’s a photographer and a model. She runs Fashionmilk.com — a website about the Dutch modelling world — and she is the coordinator for the Dutch department at Donna Models, Japan. Bianca Toeps (29) is deep in the fashion world, but she wound up there because of her eating disorder, rather than the other way round.
Guest contribution by Marisa Vega – The first time I realised that my mother might be sick, I was 22 years old. I was listening to public radio and the programme featured an expert who was talking about “Body Dysmorphic Disorder” and how it was a problem afflicting a growing number of girls and women in the United States. At the start of the discussion this expert began running through a checklist of some sort — you know, the kind of “Is this you?” quiz you’d see in a magazine such as Glamour or Seventeen. I could almost see the headline: “Do you have Body Dysmorphic Disorder?” The man must’ve been fifteen psychological symptoms into his rundown when I realised, “Oh my goodness, this list my mother! This list is my mother to a T!” It was a scary thing to come to terms with, but that wasn’t the worst of it. The scarier part was that over half of those symptoms appeared to describe me as well.
Oh, how I always wanted to look just like the Victoria’s Secret Angels, created out of clay (and personal trainers and dieticians). How I indeed tried to adhere to a ridiculous lifestyle of not eating and an absurd exercising schedule. How I, an anorexic, was built of guilt (and how I’m now built of openness).
For the past two years I have watched the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. I watch for the over-the-top lingerie creations, the cliché pop sensations that turn up, and to see who’s my favourite model this year. I watch to see the backstage footage of the girls telling stories about their lives, and to see them interact with each other — and the pop stars. Basically I watch to see a well-constructed, super-American circus show. There’s not a moment, however, when I’m thinking of the girls’ bodies and how they should affect me. Cause they don’t.