Tuesday morning, I was half watching Good Morning America as I was getting ready for work. My ‘half listening went to ‘full on’ attention when they announced that Jackie Evancho, (who I remembered as the 10-year old songbird that almost brought Simon Cowell to tears in America’s Got Talent eight years ago) was the next guest and that now, at 18 years old, she was going to open up about her struggles with an eating disorder and body dysmorphia while growing up in the spotlight.
Jackie’s candid description of the grip her eating disorder has had on her, ‘there is another you in your head screaming all these ugly things about your body’, was refreshingly honest. For a celebrity to commit to sharing her truest self and not buy into hiding her personal struggles is the greatest gift a young role model can give to her fans. Being a ‘perfect’ role model is not about striving for an arbitrary vision of perfection but by being someone who is strong enough to share their ‘whole’ self.
Jackie, we applaud you for your openness, we support you in your recovery and appreciate the gift you are sharing with your fans around the world of open, honest relatedness. When you get right down to it, we are simply people helping people.