Roz Purcell has revealed she put up with things “that wouldn’t be okay now” when she was working as a model.
The 30-year-old represented Ireland at the Miss Universe pageant back in 2010, and was subsequently signed to Donald Trump’s modelling agency in New York – after she came seventh in the competition.
After working as a model full-time for years, Roz eventually quit the industry, after she finally decided to seek help for her eating disorder at 25.
During a conversation with former President Mary McAleese on tonight’s episode of her All Walks of Life series, Roz recalled some of the inappropriate behaviour she dealt with during her time as a model.
“I think it’s only now when I’m heading into my 30s, I realise a lot of things that I put up weren’t okay,” she said.
“I definitely think as a model being so young and travelling all over the world, I became very desensitised to things like men grabbing you, photographers touching you in areas that wouldn’t be okay now.”
“When you’re younger you don’t feel like you have a voice, when you are younger you are afraid to stand up particularly in situations where everyone else on set is putting it up with it too.”
Opening up about her eating disorder, the popular influencer told Mary that she “had to” quit modelling “to get better”.
“Food gave me a huge sense of control when I didn’t feel like I had any control. My inner monologue to myself was so destructive,” she confessed.
“It really negatively affected everyone who I was around and probably ruined a lot of friendships and relationships along the way.”
“My biggest fear was that I had built up this lie that I was this in-shape person who eats whatever she wanted all the time naturally this way which just was not me.”
After years of trying to hide her disorder, the people closest to Roz started to notice something wasn’t right.
Roz explained: “I was in the relationship at the time, he pointed it out to me.”
“My older sister kinda confronted me which I didn’t take well at all and I do think it affected our relationship for a few months because I was very angry with her for doing it.”
“I didn’t want to get help because my eating disorder was me, it was a part of me, it was why people liked me. It was why I was being successful and I didn’t want to give that up.”
“I think a lot of people going through disordered eating struggle with that people aren’t going to love them when they put on weight.”
The 30-year-old said her sister’s cancer diagnosis eventually pushed her to get help five years ago.
Rachel Purcell was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia in 2016, which is a rare form of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow.
Roz explained: “It was about three or four months where I didn’t actually think about what I was eating or what shape my body was.”
“I didn’t think about myself and my body. I was concentrating on her and we lived together at the time.”
“Once I started being aware of other people around me and not just concentrating on me, I realised I was getting a lot more enjoyment out of life and what was important…
“So it was actually Rachel’s cancer diagnosis that made me go and get help.”
The cookbook author added: “It I took a long time to recover. I think maybe the guts of two years.”
“I definitely think Rachel’s diagnosis showed me what was important.”
“I realised I probably wasn’t living life cause I was so trapped in what size I was and I think it made me just want to get better.”
All Walks of Life airs tonight at 8.30pm on RTÉ One.