Home Irish Showbiz Holly Carpenter reveals the shocking pressure she felt to lose weight –...

Holly Carpenter reveals the shocking pressure she felt to lose weight – and how it impacted her health

And details the criticism she faced for gaining weight.


Top Irish model and Love Life entrepreneur Holly Carpenter has spoken candidly about the pressure to lose weight in the modelling industry.

Holly opened up in a newly screened documentary called Woman, by French Film Maker Yann Arthus-Bertrand.

The former Miss Ireland and Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model contestant explained that she felt she needed to slim down for the reality TV show.

Holly Carpenter | Andres Poveda

“I did a modelling competition which was a TV show and I got so skinny for that, because I knew that I wanted to do well,” she said, according to The Sun.

“I had won Miss Ireland, that was a year ago, I had to do something new with my career everyone was saying ‘What’s next?’.”

Holly detailed the unhealthy measures she took to lose weight at the time.

Holly Carpenter at the Edelman Cocktail Party -photo Kieran Harnett

“So I entered this competition and I knew that I was going to be on the TV show and everything, so I lost a lot of weight, I was training twice a day in the gym, I was drinking black coffee, I was smoking cigarettes, I was doing things that weren’t healthy but my weight was going down.”

She revealed that her health was impacted when she lost her period to her low weight, a condition called amenorrhea.

Photo: Anthony Woods

“It was a really mixed message because my doctor said to me, ‘Look your period just stopped, you’re underweight’.”

“But the agencies were saying ‘You look amazing, this person wants to work with you, this designer’, I was making more money than ever. I felt really empty inside though. I am only kinda figuring out now what I want to be.”

However, she highlighted a point in her career where she felt offended and upset by comments about her weight, as a rumour circulated that she was pregnant.

Picture: Brian McEvoy

Holly was left reeling when she was asked by someone in the modelling industry if she was pregnant, and faced a shockingly unprofessional implication that she had procured an abortion after gaining a few pounds of weight back.

An emotional and crying Holly told film makers: “They kinda made an implication that I had gained weight and left Ireland to get an abortion and they said that in front of people and that, I was gobsmacked,”  The Sun revealed.

Picture Andres Poveda

“In any other environment, you would never get away with speaking to someone like that.

“But I do find with modelling you’re not as protected, you’re not in that working environment, in that safe space.”

Holly also told the film makers that while she liked what she saw in the mirror, she felt unhappy inside.

“I think it’s hard not to focus on the outside too much because of my background but I’m listening more to what I feel like on the inside now, because before I’d look in the mirror and I would be really happy with what I saw, but I just didn’t feel good.”

The full documentary is due to be released in 2020. It aims to portray the true stories of women all over the world.