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Gabriella Hallikas Shares a Strong Message About Body Image Pressure in the Modeling Industry

Gabriella Halikas.<p>Charley Gallay/Getty Images</p>
Gabriella Halikas.

Charley Gallay/Getty Images

Swim Search finalist Gabriella Halikas loves her job as a model, but she always speaks candidly about the pressures and challenges of being in the industry.

The 26-year-old “CEO of confidence” chatted with comedian and podcast host Victoria Browne about her experience with agents, eating disorders and self-esteem issues, and how building a livelihood off of the way you look can impact mental health.

“Modeling is such a superficial industry so it is hard because it does get to your head and can trigger eating disorders, self-esteem issues. So when you’re in an industry that criticizes your everyday look down to your hair color, your blemishes, any kind of acne that you have, it does get to your head,” she explained on Real Pod. “There is two extremes where you have to lose weight if you’re smaller on the straight size model, and if you’re curvy or plus size you don’t want to get too small. [It’s like] ‘Are you curvy anymore? Are you plus size enough?’”

She added that agents, agencies and casting directors are always giving their opinions, and she knows there’s no way to please everyone.

“If I listened to every single agent’s opinion on what I should do with my body, I’d be running in circles. I would never get anywhere,” she said, adding that instead she asks herself what she truly wants. “Of course I want to work and I know my body type will never be a straight size model. So if I do want to work as a curve model, the subconscious mind in my head knows that there’s a certain size range I probably need to stay into. Does that mess with me? Probably a little. But I’ve gotten to a point where I know how to balance out my life. It does get sticky, though, when you start listening to the outside opinions. These people they’re literally running your life or booking you a job. So imagine if your income relied on how you looked.”

The women also talked about building and maintaining confidence, dating, friendships, goal-setting and career moves. Listen to the full episode here.

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