Model Erin Heatherton Says Victoria's Secret Told Her She 'Had to Lose Weight': 'I Was Really Depressed'
By Antoinette Bueno
Model Erin Heatherton is opening up about her struggles with body image.
The 27-year-old former Victoria's Secret Angel says she went through a lot of "self-questioning" after parting ways with the lingerie company in 2013 after five years working together, especially after she says she was previously told she had to slim down to walk their runway.
"My last two Victoria’s Secret shows, I was told I had to lose weight," Heatherton tells Time magazine. "I look back like, 'Really?'"
The last two times Heatherton walked the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in New York City was in November 2012 and November 2013. The model says she initially hit the target weight in 2012.
But the following year, even after eating healthy and exercising twice a day, Heatherton says her body "just wouldn't do it."
"I was really depressed because I was working so hard and I felt like my body was resisting me," she says. "And I got to a point where one night I got home from a workout, and I remember staring at my food and thinking, 'Maybe I should just not eat.'"
Heatherton parted ways with Victoria's Secret shortly after the 2013 runway show.
"I realized I couldn't go out into the world -- parading my body and myself in front of all these women who look up to me -- and tell them that this is easy and simple and everyone can do this," she explains. "I'm willing to sacrifice my pride, in a sense, and my privacy because I know that if I don't speak about it, I could be withholding information that would really help women."
"It hurts too much to keep it in, and that's why I’m not keeping it in now," she adds about why she's decided to be so open with her body struggles.
ET has reached out to Victoria's Secret, and the company had no comment.
Last month, Heatherton -- who previously dated Leonardo DiCaprio in 2011 for about a year -- posted this Instagram shot of herself showing off her still amazing body in a pair of bikini bottoms, sporting a T-shirt reading, "Empowered by failure."
"The breakdown to breakthrough moment in my life has allowed me to become the truest version of myself," she wrote. "In my moment of 'failure,' I stood in the face of adversity. I was struggling with my body image and the pressures to fulfill the demands of perfectionism upon me. I am not perfect. Through this struggle, however, I found the strength to love myself. I stood in my power."
"I look back on that moment now, and I embrace it," she continued. "This feeling I once perceived as 'failure' was, in truth, a powerful awakening for me to stand behind my purpose in life. I stepped away from hiding behind a fabricated version of myself. I no longer put actions behind my fears and insecurities. I made a choice to redirect my energy to be a catalyst for change. To create a channel for women to become the truest versions of themselves, along with me. ...In the end, if you aren’t being true to yourself, then what the f**k is the point?"
Heatherton is still modeling, and appeared in Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue this year. And judging by the super sexy photos, we'd say she looks better than ever.