America's Next Top Model contestant London Levi admits that her weight gain during the course of the show is what led to her elimination last night. But what she didn't say much about on the show is that her weight gain came on the heels of a battle with anorexia and bulimia.
"When I went to the competition, I was recovering from an eating disorder, so my self-confidence was already kind of shaky because of my experience with my problem beforehand," London tells us exclusively. "And, I'm pretty sure it did show in my photo shoots."
Read on to hear what else she has to say...
On why she was eliminated instead of Aminat, who was in the bottom two with her, London says, "If you looked at the two of us, here you have someone who’s 5 feet 9 inches and who had gained, like, 15 pounds, and then you have someone [Aminat] who’s six feet and about 110 pounds," continues London. "So in my personal opinion, it was just kind of obvious to the judges who would move on just by photographs."
London says she has suffered from eating disorders from junior high through shortly before America's Next Top Model started. "I never realized how long I’d had it until I talked to someone professionally," she says. "But it never got supersevere until my senior year in high school, which was actually just this past year. This past year up until right before I went on to the show is when it got most severe."
Clearly, judge Jay Manuel wasn't aware of London's issues. On last night's episode, during a photo shoot, Jay pulled London aside to talk about her obvious weight gain. "Where I'm really shocked, it's not just the fact that she's gained weight, it's the fact that as a model you're expected to treat your body like a temple," he said.
"It's a sensitive thing," he continued, "but it's something I have to talk about. It just really shocked me today seeing such a huge change physically. When you're in a competition I understand there's stress and people react to stress differently; it's just clear that you're not taking care of your body in a short period of time, and if this is tough, how are you going to deal with it in the modeling world?"
London's response: "My body just keeps gaining weight, and it really is freaking me out because I don't feel comfortable at this weight. Coming into this, I felt a lot more confident, a lot more beautiful, and I just need to lose weight in a healthy way."
Moving forward, London says she plans to continue modeling, but being photographed isn't her life's goal. "I’ve always felt called to be a youth minister, which I really hope is in God’s plan," she adds. "At the same time, I also have all these other agendas about acting. I’ve always acted in theater throughout my childhood and teen years, so acting sounds terrific to me. But eventually I would love to end up being a youth minister and just carrying that on."
Do you think London's weight gain should've been brought up by Jay? Do you think that's why she was eliminated?