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Nadine Leopold: "I totally underestimated the fashion industry"

by Jessica Kuch
Nadine Leopold went to New York to model at the age of 14. What looked like a picture book career was a tough fight against yourself. Now the Austrian speaks openly about it.

So many young girls really want to be models. Walking down the catwalk in high heels, flashing light, great clothes, applause! No wonder that Nadine Leopold, 26, as a 16-year-old girl from the tranquil Wolfsberg in Carinthia, felt chosen when she was discovered by a Viennese model scout.

She left school and went out into the world she had dreamed of. But it looked completely different from what she had expected. The now 26-year-old speaks about this in her podcast "I Choose Me" - about future models
to make strong.

Nadine Leopold: "That opened the door to my eating disorder"

Looking back: Nadine Leopold was a real shooting star in the early 2010s. As the face of H&M, Mango or Garnier, you could see her in high-quality fashion magazines, on billboards and in commercials. In 2018 she ran on the Victoria's Secret Show. The ultimate in glamor. But Nadine Leopold doesn't like to remember this time. "Looking back, I totally underestimated this industry. Most of the time I was alone in a hotel room and had to travel from A to B within a few days," she says. She felt lonely.

Then there was an unhappy relationship, their parents' divorce - and the immense pressure of having to have a flawless body. "The feelings were so overwhelming that I tried to numb them by making myself sick. That opened the door to my eating disorder," she reflects today. "It started with little things: I got over it when I was angry or sad." The trigger? Mostly disappointment: "It was enough when I saw that my girlfriends went out without me or that I quarreled with someone who is important to me."

Bulimia ruled her life for four years

"Making my body sick created a strange feeling of power - power over me, over my body." But then came panic attacks, dark thoughts and a rash on her hands - a sign of her suppressed emotions, as she knows today. But at that time she suppressed everything. Only when the panic became so bad that Nadine could no longer sleep alone in her apartment did she seek help. And started speaking openly about her eating disorder - with friends, family, and now even publicly.

Fans worry, ex-GNTM candidate makes it clear:

"Yes, I got a little thinner, not on purpose"

Today she lives in London, continues to model and is in a relationship with a British manager. And she defends herself when something doesn't suit her. Recently, for example, she was suing a magazine because photos of her bare chest had been printed against her will. "I make my decisions more consciously than ever - it's a great feeling."