Danny Bowman tried to kill himself when he was 19 years old. He had been rejected as a model and, as a result, became addicted to taking selfies. He was trying to take the “perfect” picture and thought he failed, so he tried to end his life. Through his endeavour, Danny lost an entire two stone, dropped out of school and isolated himself in his home for six months. Danny, who is believed to be Britain’s first selfie addict, underwent intensive therapy to combat his Body Dysmorphic Disorder, technology addiction and OCD. In this interview, he talks mental health, fashion and what his ideal fashion world would be.
REglam Danny, how long has it been since your last selfie?
Danny It has been about 6 months since my last selfie, but it was for a mental health awareness day. The last time I took a selfie for the addiction was about a year and a half ago.
REglam Wow! I am so happy for you. Congratulations!
Danny Thank you so much!
REglam Of course! I read that you initially applied to be a model. In order to be more attractive to agencies you started to lose weight. Was that the point of no return and loss of control? When all you could think about was taking selfies and how you were looking?
Danny Yes, definitely I think it started out with losing weight and trying to look good enough for what the modelling agencies wanted, and then it became more about how I looked generally. I was trying to seek affection and I thought the best way to see my flaws and be able to perfect them was by taking lots and lots of selfies a day.
REglam Completely understandable. Being a model can be quite tough these days, especially with so many of us struggling with body image.
Danny Yes, its pretty awful and I grew up with two sisters as well. With GQ and Esquire frequently around the house and that was pretty difficult for me.
REglam Oh definitely! So that brings me to my next question. Our readers might ask themselves: “Is the way I see my body and the amount of time I spend on thoughts about food, actually still healthy?” What advice can you give our readers based on what you have experienced yourself?
Danny I say, everything in moderation. Love the person you are because the person you are is perfect. The important message to send is we all worry about how we look. We actually think we can be better, but what people forget is that we all have our own talents. We forget that we are all beautiful inside and out. Everyone is beautiful in their own way, and I think its important to remember that.
REglam Yes its incredibly important. So many struggle with that and giving themselves self compassion.
Danny Yes, we are so awful to ourselves. People who are what society would call “beautiful” are still struggling with body image issues and I think that it is important to remember that everyone across the board suffers from these issues and it can be destructive.
REglam Definitely. I think you’re right on the money with that. Its unfortunate that so many of us struggle.
Danny Yes, I completely agree and I never got diagnosed with an eating disorder, but I did purge quite a lot to try and get my weight down.
REglam Thank you for sharing that you’ve experienced disordered eating. So many individuals go undiagnosed and you’ve experienced just that.
Danny You hit the nail on the head. Its not just the feeling of having good days and bad days. Its a constant battle between yourself and what you think about yourself. You constantly feel differently, even though people are constantly telling you that you’re beautiful or you’re thin. People never believe it, and I think people tend to forget the psychological side of why you don’t believe it.
REglam Yes, I completely agree. Which makes me want to ask; do you still want to be a model?
Danny The simple answer is no. I don’t have any ambition to be a model now. After seeing the harsh world of it… I don’t condemn anyone who is a model, but for me personally its not what I want to do. Politics is my new ambition, so I’m working to, hopefully, get good mental health services! [Danny is an active mental health and pro NHS campaigner, and often writes about it.]
Danny Yes all around the world!
REglam Yes exactly! So, Danny, what would the ideal fashion world look like to you? A fashion world with positive role models that make us want to be a better version of ourselves?
Danny I think a fashion world that is more regulated. I think of a fashion world that actually sees beauty not as much as the a size 0 figure or a man with a 6 pack. I’m happy to see that there are now plus size models on the catwalk and also men that generally a man with a 6 pack. I want to see a fashion world that shows the beauty of the different parts of you and not living up to certain image.
REglam That would be my ideal fashion world as well.
Danny And I would love to see a fashion world that focuses more on the fashion. There are two sides of fashion. There’s a fashion world that focuses on size 0 models and then there’s a fashion world that focuses on the creative and lovely designs. It would be great to see a fashion world that celebrates that, and not an unhealthy lifestyle.
REglam I agree completely, and today with your media outreach you can help shape this message. What advice would you give our followers about body image and self love?
Danny I think the message I would give is to love yourself. For me to say that is quite easy to say but it can be difficult but try to look at everything you love about yourself instead of what you hate about yourself. Also, with body image, be happy with how you’ve been made and don’t try to achieve extreme highs or lows in weight. I mean, I spent years and years being so unhappy trying to chase the perfect image and trying to be the perfect person. I have come to realize that the most important thing is to be happy with myself as I am now. It has been a journey with ups and downs and, in some ways, has given me extra strength. I’m glad I’m in a place where I can help people, just like REglam is doing.
REglam I’m really happy you have achieved that realization and strength to move forward and help others, and thank you for supporting REglam.
Danny Of course!
REglam Well thank you Danny for sharing with me and REglam.
Danny Thank you so much!
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