We took actress Stacey Sargeant back to the neighborhood where she grew up in Brooklyn, NY to learn about her early life struggle with disordered eating syndrome. This eating disorder is deemed the “disorder next door” because it targets over 60% of women. Although it’s not lethal like anorexia or bulimia, it can damage one’s emotional and physical health.
Growing up as a ballerina, Stacey was constantly told she was too fat to dance, despite her muscular, toned body and exceptional performances. In Stacey’s primarily black community, the body image ideal was full-figured and curvaceous. But Stacey was different from her peers. While those around her were proud of their curves, Stacey was ashamed. She wanted nothing more than a rail thin body, if for no other reason than to appease her critics. Stacey found that nothing was ever good enough – no amount of weight lost, no diet, no performance. Stacey understood food to be a bad thing – she would starve herself and then binge, feeling constant guilt for each calorie consumed.
After years of struggling with her naturally curvaceous body, Stacey decided she would put a stop to the criticism and a start to her healing process. She began to recite a message in the mirror each day, one that she wished she had been told as a little girl – you are good enough, you are beautiful as you, you are gorgeous!
Today, Stacey is a successful actress gracing the stages of Broadway and making appearances in shows like Glee. Stacey is happy, healthy and fulfilled, but getting there wasn’t easy.