Zara McDermott admitted that she documented her weight loss journey because it was what her Instagram followers requested at the time.
The TV personality, who rose to fame on the hit annual dating series Love Island showcased her impressive transformation on social media in 2020.
However her regular updates were met with criticism after her followers branded her ‘anorexic’ and said her content ‘triggered their eating disorders.
Two years later, Zara – who recently fronted BBC’s latest documentary Disordered Eating – acknowledges how ‘triggering’ her previous posts were and the impact it would have had on her followers.
Speaking about the backlash, Zara told Metro.co.uk: ‘At that point, I felt like I couldn’t really listen because I was just trolled about how I looked, and I wasn’t fitting that in that body type so I was like “let me change.”
‘So I embarked on that journey and people were then saying “you’re triggering me,” and I just didn’t want to hear it back in 2020, because I couldn’t please anyone and people still weren’t happy with me.’
Addressing her former relationship with her followers, she continued: ‘At the time I was just listening to what people were asking for weight loss content, and being young, naive and being governed by your audience I was just posting what people were asking me.
‘Now I’m nearly 26 I look back on those few years and was like I should have looked at how my content would impact somebody else, but at the time I was too naive and I didn’t want to hear that at that point.’
In her new BBC Three documentary, the Made In Chelsea star reflects on the previous controversy and explores the complex world of diet culture, and how being in the spotlight affected her following her 2018 stint on Love Island.
‘A lot of people say to me “did Love Island cause you to feel [insecure about appearance] that way, and it wasn’t Love Island itself,’ she said.
‘I had an amazing experience on that show, I would never go back and not do it.
‘It’s being thrust into the spotlight, and I was young and new to it all, and when to block it out and respond to people.
‘I think I kind of fuelled some of it by responding to people, I still do it now which is a bad trait but it’s hard to ignore. I wish my experience was more positive, but I think I was especially a target for that.’
If you suspect you, a family member or friend has an eating disorder, contact Beat on 0808 801 0677 or at email@example.com, for information and advice on the best way to get appropriate treatment
Zara McDermott: Disordered Eating is available now on BBC iPlayer.
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