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Anorexic teen obsessed with pictures of Victoria Beckham
11:40am Thursday 29th March 2012 in News
CUTTING out images of Victoria Beckham’s body and sticking her own face on the pictures was the moment when Rachael Johnston said she became most obsessed with being thin.
The former Great Sankey High School pupil battled anorexia during her teenage years after suffering jibes about her weight at school.
Now the 20-year-old hopes an e-petition set up by her mum, calling on the Government to ban airbrushing of all images and adverts aimed at children, will make more people aware of the effect it has on young girls and boys.
Rachael, who now works with Warrington Disability Partnership, said: “It’s important to make people realise how much the media plays a part in how people perceive themselves.
“My anorexia was not triggered by the media but when I became really immersed in my eating disorder I got addicted to looking at pictures and printing them off.
“I would look at a picture of Victoria Beckham with my head on it and think that’s what I had to look like.”
The WDP young ambassador says it scares her looking back at how unhealthy her obsession was with pictures of airbrushed celebrities.
She added: “Even now I’m in recovery I can have bad days and see pictures which get me thinking.
“You have to remind yourself most of it is airbrushing and it is not real – rather than listening to the little anorexic voice which tries to convince you it is.”
Rachael added she did not think many people would take notice of the petition but was both shocked and delighted that more than 100 people have already signed up.
Lynn, Rachael’s mum, said: “It’s not just Victoria Beckham, it’s all celebrities, male and female, and they are under a lot of pressure themselves to look good so it’s a vicious circle.
“There are no words to describe how I felt (when Rachael was anorexic).
“We watched her go on a slippery slope downwards and it wasn’t until she collapsed at home and was admitted to hospital that we realised we needed help.”
The 48-year-old, who has been married to husband Peter for 25 years next week, is also mum to Phil, aged 18.
She said she was inspired to help other teens after Rachael was coming home from talks in schools about body image and hearing so many children were ‘unhappy in their own skin’.