Erin Heatherton
Photo: Getty

Victoria’s Secret and Sports Illustrated swim model Erin Heatherton has opened up about her struggle with body image issues. The 27-year-old took to Instagram on Friday to share a photo of herself in a t-shirt that reads “Empowered by Failure” and captioned it with a moving description of her experience: “I was struggling with my body image and the pressures to fulfill the demands of perfectionism upon me,” she wrote. “I am not perfect. Through this struggle, however, I found the strength to love myself,” she explained.

Heatherton walked her first fashion week in 2006 for Diane Von Fursterberg. From 2008-2013 she modeled for Victoria’s Secret, where she was an Angel from 2010-2012.

Despite feeling like a “failure,” the model and actress said that her breakdown allowed her to find her “purpose in life.” Now she’s using overcoming her struggle as motivation to inspire and support other women.

In a follow-up post, Heatherton posed in a t-shirt by Empowered By You, which aims to bring women out of poverty. She quoted the brand’s founder Renata Black (who also appears in the picture) in the caption, which also had an inspiring message.

The tension between models and body image isn’t new. Last summer, Cara Delevingne admitted the industry made her insecure about her body. Earlier that year, the French government set a precedent in the weight debate when they banned models with a BMI below 18. With the growing acceptance of plus-size models (Ashley Graham covers theSI issue Heatherton appears in), policing of body-shaming comments, and calling out of Photoshop botches, the conversation on body image may be headed in a positive direction. But it might not be heading there fast enough.

Heatherton might’ve said it best in her post: “In the end, if you aren’t being true to yourself, then what the f*ck is the point.”

From: Harper’s BAZAAR US