Former Victoria’s Secret model Bridget Malcolm details company’s toxic weight loss culture

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Bridget Malcolm is continuing to expose the toxic culture she claims she experienced working as a Victoria’s Secret model. 

The Australian model walked the runway for the massive fashion company from 2015 to 2016 before the brand cut ties with her. Since then, she’s been one of the more vocal voices calling out Victoria’s Secret for promoting a culture of weight loss among its models that is allegedly unhealthy and exploitative. Most recently, she appeared in a series of TikTok videos in which she called out the company’s body standards in various ways and revealed she was sexually assaulted during her time in the industry. 

Appearing on Australia’s “60 Minutes,” the 29-year-old recalled trying so hard to live up to the company’s standards only find herself so malnourished that she took 10 minutes just to walk up a flight of stairs. 

“I got a very interior glimpse at the machine that was running at that time and it was really sick. It was really unhealthy,” she explained.

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She added: “At the start of 2017 it took me 10 minutes to climb a flight of stairs. I reached the top and I just had that awful, hollow feeling like, ‘this is what the rest of my life is going to look like if I don’t do something about it now.’” 

Model Bridget Malcolm spoke out against Victoria's Secret.

Model Bridget Malcolm spoke out against Victoria’s Secret.
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Malcolm claims she was dumped by Victoria’s Secret after gaining half an inch on her hips. She notes in the interview that the message from the company was “pretty clear” when it came to how small they demanded their models to be. To keep up, she went down a road of starvation diets.

“The longest I managed to go without eating was three days and I had to quit because I kept passing out. I was annoyed with myself because I was determined to make it to five days but I couldn’t I couldn’t function I couldn’t move. I was incredibly frustrating,” she said. “I remember being so angry with myself and feeling as though I had failed somehow on not being able to survive on water for that long.”

Malcolm told the host of the show that she blames the company for her developing eating and anxiety disorders. 

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“My body was malnourished, my mind was malnourished. It was relentless,” she added. “What that company represented for me and for so many other women was extremely exploitative at the time. To me, it felt like controlling women. Getting women as small as possible and then even not being small enough…” 

The model understands that she was a willing participant in every step of her career. However,  she tries to get her critics to understand that the prestige of the Victoria’s Secret brand in the modeling world puts certain psychological factors at play.

Model Bridget Malcolm worked with Victoria's Secret in 2015 and 2016.

Model Bridget Malcolm worked with Victoria’s Secret in 2015 and 2016.
(Jim Spellman/WireImage)

“You’re right, I completely agree with you,” she said to critics arguing she wasn’t forced into that world. “However, you’re incredibly privileged to have not had the experience of being in an unhealthy relationship like that.” 

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She is hardly the first model to blow the whistle on Victoria’s Secret for allegedly toxic and misogynistic practices. The brand itself has tried to reimagine itself in recent months, doing away with its “angels” in favor of an initiative to highlight activists and other accomplished women in an attempt to “redefine sexy.” However, Malcolm believes that a rebranding to something positive shouldn’t let Victoria’s Secret off the hook. 

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“I don’t know how you can rebrand something that’s caused so much damage to so many people around the world for so long. It’s been decades of this. I don’t know, to me, it feels like there needs to be a lot more. There needs to be a public acknowledgment of what happened. There needs to be some sort of pledge. Otherwise, it’s just performative activism, it’s performative wokeness.”

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