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Former model reveals she had seizure, liver failure at AGE 17 after struggling with eating disorder

A former supermodel who worked for brands like Chanel and Marc Jacobs just revealed that she had a seizure and suffered from liver failure at only 17 years old, after struggling with an eating disorder trigged by the ‘immense’ pressure to stay thin. 

Esmeralda Seay-Reynolds, 23, began modeling when she was 15 years old, and right away, her career took off.

By the time she was 17, she was walking in New York Fashion week and jetting off to places like London, Milan, and Paris. 

But eventually, she developed an eating disorder. And she said things got so bad that at one point, brands started to complain that their clothes weren’t even fitting her right.

She said her agents made her stop working in the end because they thought they ‘would get s**t on by the press’ if people ‘saw a girl who looked like that walking the runway.’

Eventually, she entered a rehab program that ultimately saved her life, and she said she ‘wouldn’t be here right now’ if she hadn’t quit modeling. 

Esmeralda revealed in a recent interview with Real Women/Real Stories (project created by Matan Uziel) that she began modeling after she was discovered at a funeral. 

A former supermodel revealed she had a seizure and suffered from liver failure at only 17 years old, after struggling with an eating disorder trigged by the ‘immense’ pressure to stay thin

Esmeralda Seay-Reynolds, 23, began modeling when she was 15 years old, and right away, her career took off. She is pictured on the Marc Jacobs runway in 2015

Esmeralda Seay-Reynolds, 23, began modeling when she was 15 years old, and right away, her career took off. She is pictured on the Marc Jacobs runway in 2015

By the time she was 17, she was walking in New York Fashion week and jetting off to places like London, Milan, and Paris. She is pictured in 2015

By the time she was 17, she was walking in New York Fashion week and jetting off to places like London, Milan, and Paris. She is pictured in 2015

‘Actually, it started a funeral. There was an old woman in a wheelchair who kept starring at me, and I was like, “Am I being rude? Why is she starring at me, I’m not doing anything,”‘ she recalled.

‘She came up to me afterwards and she was like, “I’m the head of a modeling agency, you need to model. You need to do this.”‘

She explained that things moved ‘really, really fast’ after that, and she started to lose control of herself.  

‘In a few months I was doing Marc Jacobs shows and campaigns, and Chanel and Fendi. It was kind of an insane whirlwind,’ she continued.  

‘Looking back, I was very young. For me, as a person who is very competitive and used to working very hard, to work really hard and have it not come to anything is very frustrating.

‘I think I felt like my body was the one thing I could control, so I just sort of went crazy.

But eventually, she developed an eating disorder. She is pictured in 2015

She said things got so bad that at one point, brands complained that their clothes weren't fitting her right. She is pictured in 2015

But eventually, she developed an eating disorder. And she said things got so bad that at one point, brands complained that their clothes weren’t fitting her right. She is pictured in 2015

She said her agents made her stop working in the end because they thought they 'would get s**t on by the press' if people 'saw a girl who looked like.' She is pictured on the runway in 2015

She said her agents made her stop working in the end because they thought they 'would get s**t on by the press' if people 'saw a girl who looked like.' She is pictured on the runway in 2015

She said her agents made her stop working in the end because they thought they ‘would get s**t on by the press’ if people ‘saw a girl who looked like.’ She is pictured on the runway in 2015

‘About a year into modeling, when I was 17, I had a seizure and my liver was failing. The doctor wasn’t really sure why it didn’t turn into a heart attack. It was bad. 

‘My agents actually pulled me out of modeling so that I could gain weight because people were complaining that I wasn’t fitting in the clothes and I looked too “vascular.”

‘[They said] they would get s**t on by the press if anyone saw a girl who looked like that walking the runway.

‘It was very bad. I quit modeling not just because of that but the stress was just immense.

‘I had gray hair starting at 16 from just the stress of not knowing what was happening.’ 

She began working with a trainer and nutritionalist, who she called ‘her best friend.’ And the woman eventually convinced her to get therapy. 

‘It was very clear that I could only have either my disorder or my work, which is everything to me,’ she explained.

She eventually checked herself into Evergreen Eating Disorder Recovery Center in Denver, Colorado.

‘I most likely wouldn’t be here right now if I hadn’t gone to treatment,’ Esmeralda said.

‘Recovery was where I learned what kind of people I want in my life, what kind of life I want to have and also how hard I’m willing to work for it.

‘I’m so much happier because I love what I do and I have very strong, very healthy relationships and support systems.

Eventually, she entered a rehab program in Colorado, and it ultimately saved her life. She said she 'wouldn't be here right now' if she hadn't quit modeling. She is pictured in 2015

Eventually, she entered a rehab program in Colorado, and it ultimately saved her life. She said she ‘wouldn’t be here right now’ if she hadn’t quit modeling. She is pictured in 2015

Now, she said she is 'so much happier because she loves what she does and has very strong, very healthy relationships and support systems.' She is pictured in 2021

Now, she said she is ‘so much happier because she loves what she does and has very strong, very healthy relationships and support systems.’ She is pictured in 2021 

She said: 'My advice for anyone who thinks they could be struggling with an eating disorder, or any mental disorder, is to talk to a professional.' She is pictured in 2021

She said: ‘My advice for anyone who thinks they could be struggling with an eating disorder, or any mental disorder, is to talk to a professional.’ She is pictured in 2021

‘Everything that I learned about how to be who I am today was in recovery. You can’t recover for somebody else, it needs to be for you.’

As for others who are struggling, she said it’s important to ‘think about what you want from life.’

‘That is going to ultimately be the thing that releases you from this disease,’ she added.

‘My advice for anyone who thinks they could be struggling with an eating disorder, or any mental disorder, is to talk to a professional.

‘You are not crazy for going to a professional, I think everyone should honestly see a therapist.

‘You’re never going to be anyone else so you should just be the most you that you can be.

‘Once you get comfortable in your skin and with your body, there is a transition – first you get used to it, then you like it, and then you love it and start to appreciate all the things your body can do for you.’ 


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