Former Victoria’s Secret model Bridget Malcolm says she was told to do cocaine and have sex when she was a teenager – because her agent insisted it would help her to ‘lose weight’.
The 29-year-old recalled the shocking advice in a new social media video, in which she opened up about the lasting mental and physical damage her time working in the fashion industry has left her with, detailing struggles with eating disorders, PTSD, and anxiety and depression.
Bridget, who is from Western Australia, also stated that she was ‘groomed by a much older man’ and ‘sexually assaulted multiple times’ before her 18th birthday.
‘By the age of 18, I’d lived in three countries alone, I’d traveled to all continents except for Antarctica, I’d been groomed by a much older man, I’d been sexually assaulted multiple times, I’d been told to do cocaine to lose weight by my agent,’ she said in the eye-opening video.
‘I was told weekly… I’d been under a lot of pressure to lose weight by my agencies [and] I developed PTSD.
‘I’d been told whilst I was underage to just have lots of sex to lose weight.’
Speaking out: Former Victoria’s Secret model Bridget Malcolm says an agent told her to ‘do cocaine’ and ‘have sex’ in order to lose weight when she was under the age of 18
Career: The 29-year-old, seen in the 2016 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, says she was also ‘groomed by a much older man’ and ‘sexually assaulted multiple times’ before she turned 18
She did not name the agent or agency in question, however Bridget has been signed to multiple big-name companies, and is currently on the board of New York-based IMG, the same agency that looks after Gigi Hadid and Karlie Kloss.
Bridget, who was signed to her first agency – Australian company Vivien’s – at the age of 14, went on to share how the constant pressure to slim down and look a certain way affected her mental health, detailing struggles with eating disorders, and depression and anxiety.
The model also began battling substance abuse, explaining that her severe anxiety made her feel as though she couldn’t attend social functions without relying on alcohol to ease her nerves.
‘I was struggling with my gender identity and I had developed anorexia and orthorexia [unhealthy focus on eating healthy food], and anxiety and depression,’ she said.
‘I couldn’t socialize without drinking and was developing quite the reliance on Xanax and Ambien in order to get me through the night. And that was before I turned 18. It didn’t get better from there.’
Bridget – who walked in two Victoria’s Secret Fashion Shows, in 2015 and 2016 – did not reveal when all of this happened, however she turned 18 on November 3, 2009, suggesting that the ‘abuse’ she referred to all took place before she began working with the lingerie giant.
However, the mental health struggles that were sparked by these early experiences were long-lasting and stuck with her throughout much of her career, before finally coming to a head on her 26th birthday in 2017 – the same year that she says she was rejected from the Victoria’s Secret show because ‘her body did not look good enough’.
‘Eight years later, on my 26th birthday, I had a nervous breakdown and I couldn’t leave my house for a year without panic attacks and severe anxiety,’ she revealed.
‘I also had a bout with suicidal ideations, which was terrifying, and that was four years ago.’
In recent months, Bridget has been incredibly outspoken about the physical and mental toll her modeling career has taken, and she explained that she has been asked by a number of people what made her decide to speak out now, so many years after she suffered the ‘abuse’.
‘Today, I am two years-plus sober, I am four years in recovery from an eating disorder. I’m happy, I’m balanced, I’m strong, and I feel the best I’ve ever felt,’ she shared.
‘The reality is, I couldn’t talk about my experiences before I reached this place because I would have intense PTSD flashbacks, I would have panic attacks, and I wouldn’t be OK.
‘But I am OK now, and that’s why I’m speaking out.
‘I am in solid recovery and I’m strong enough for any backlash, and I wasn’t before this.
‘The only reason why I’m doing this is because I am a strong believer that the fashion industry needs to change.
‘I am one of the lucky models. I was able to make a long career out of the fashion industry but my job should not include abuse. And that is why I’m speaking up now.’
The eye-opening new video comes just days after Bridget slammed Victoria’s Secret’s woke new image as a ‘joke’, accusing the company of ‘performative allyship’ while revealing how underweight she was while walking in its annual show back in 2016.
Bridget hit out at the company in a June 26 TikTok video in which she tried on the skimpy 30A cup bra that she wore in the Victoria’s Secret show to demonstrate how tiny it is on her now-‘healthy’ size 34B breasts.
She went on to detail her negative experiences with the lingerie brand, which recently announced that it has axed its catwalk show and cast of Angels in favor of hiring a group of seven ‘diverse spokeswomen’, including transgender and plus-size models, who will promote its woke new rebrand in a podcast.
‘Too little, too late Victoria’s Secret,’ Bridget captioned the video, adding: ‘Your performative allyship is a joke.’
Speaking out: Former Victoria’s Secret model Bridget Malcolm has slammed the lingerie brand while trying on the 30A bra she modeled at its 2016 show, revealing how small it is on her now
Criticism: Bridget, who shared that she is now a ‘healthy’ size 34B, revealing that the undergarment was ‘too big for her’ when she wore it backstage at the Paris runway show
Looking back: Bridget, seen wearing the bra backstage, has been open in her criticism of Victoria’s Secret and the unhealthy pressure she faced to stay slim during her time as a model
Performative allyship, also known as performative activism, is a term used to describe when a person or brand publicly aligns itself with a cause in order to improve their public image and reputation.
Bridget, who has often claimed she felt pressure to maintain an unhealthy weight during her days as a model, also opened up about her own negative experiences with Victoria’s Secret while trying on the sparkly white bra that she had modeled backstage at its 2016 show.
‘I found my bra from the 2016 Victoria’s Secret fashion show,’ she explained in her TikTok post, while holding up the tiny undergarment. ‘It is a size 30A.
‘I am now a size 34B. Which is healthy for me.’
Putting on the undergarment over a red-and-white bikini top, Bridget showed how small it is on her now, before sharing images of herself modeling the bra backstage at the 2016 show, which took place in Paris, revealing that it was actually to ‘big for her’ at the time.
She also shared that she was rejected from the show the following year by former Victoria’s Secret executive Ed Razek, who she claimed told her that her ‘body did not look good enough’.
‘I was rejected from the show in 2017 by Ed Razek,’ she said. ‘He said “my body did not look good enough”. I wore a size 30B at that point.’
Memories: Holding up the bra to the camera, Bridget showed off the size 30A label, before trying the undergarment on over a bikini top to show how small it now is on her healthy frame
Moving on: Bridget also accused the lingerie company of ‘performative allyship’ after it scrapped its infamous ‘Angels’ in favor of hiring a ‘diverse’ line-up of ‘spokeswomen’
Upset: The model, pictured walking in the 2015 show in New York City, claimed that former VS executive Ed Razek rejected her in 2017 because ‘her body didn’t look good enough’
Looking back on photos of herself backstage in 2016, Bridget said that she is now heartbroken over how ‘sad’ she was at the time.
‘The sadness behind my eyes from the 2016 show breaks my heart,’ she added.
Razek resigned from his role as Chief Marketing Officer for Victoria’s Secret parent company L Brands in 2019, days after the lingerie brand hired its first transgender model – having sparked outrage the previous year when he insisted that its show ‘should not’ feature ‘transsexuals’ because it ‘is a fantasy’.
Controversy: Razek quit his job at the lingerie brand in 2019, less than a year after sparking fury when he insisted that transgender models should not be cast in the Victoria’s Secret show ‘because it is a fantasy’
His comments prompted fury the world over – forcing the marketing guru to issue a public apology.
Razek then announced his retirement from L Brands, where he had worked for more than three decades, in August 2019, less than a week after Victoria’s Secret revealed that it had hired its first transgender model, Valentina Sampaio.
At the time, Victoria’s Secret had come under increasing criticism for its blatant lack of diversity and for promoting a hypersexualized image of women.
In the two years since Razek stepped down from the brand, it has made numerous attempts to try and diversify its image amid plummeting sales – and in November 2019, it announced that it had canceled its fashion show following years of backlash over the ‘sexist, outdated’ event.
Then earlier this month, the lingerie giant unveiled a ‘diverse’ new line-up of spokeswomen – including Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Megan Rapinoe – who will replace its infamous Angels and will promote Victoria’s Secret not by posing in underwear but instead by ‘appearing on a podcast and in marketing materials’.
Priyanka and Megan will reportedly join Sudanese-Australian model Adut Akech, freestyle skier Eileen Gu, Brazilian transgender model Valentina Sampaio, plus-size model Paloma Elsesser, and journalist Amanda de Cadenet, who is set to host a 10-episode podcast where the women will share their stories.
Traditionally, the brand has been promoted by a roster of high-profile supermodels, with those under contract to the company known as Victoria’s Secret ‘Angels’.
Bridget has been open about the pressure she felt to lose weight as a model, revealing in 2019 that she was rejected from a job for gaining ‘half an inch’, while sharing images from that time
She now focuses on promoting a healthy body image, revealing earlier this year how going sober helped her to feel ‘happier, more positive, fitter, and more optimistic’
Asked whether the Angels would make a comeback in the relaunch, brand chief executive Martin Waters said: ‘Right now, I don’t see it as being culturally relevant.’
Waters, who was appointed chief executive in February after serving as head of Victoria’s Secret’s international business, told the New York Times that the brand ‘needed to stop being about what men want and to be about what women want.’
He added: ‘I’ve known that we needed to change this brand for a long time, we just haven’t had the control of the company to be able to do it.’
Former chief executive Cynthia Fedus-Fields added that although it was ‘probably time for the Angels to go’ the brand had to find a way to ‘move forward while maintaining existing customers.’
She continued: ‘If it was a $7billion business pre-COVID, and much of that $7billion was built on this blatant sexy approach, be careful with what you’re doing’.
Bridget has been incredibly outspoken in her criticism of Victoria’s Secret in recent years, revealing in a series of TikTok videos posted earlier this month that she faced enormous pressure from the brand to ‘get skinnier’.
‘There was this culture that was created that was like, if you just stay, if you get a bit skinnier, if you keep doing what we want you to do, you’re going to be an Angel and you’re going to be world famous and it’s going to be amazing,’ she said.
‘And I was a kid, I was young and I hadn’t developed a full sense of identity at that point, and so I believed it, and I was like, I want this. I would be stupid if I didn’t make the most of this opportunity,’ she went on.
‘So I stayed. I once had one of the top photographers from Victoria’s Secret say if you got skinnier you would become an Angel. And I thought great I am so close. But the reality was nothing was ever enough because it’s the patriarchy, sorry.’