With an Instagram following of 276k, it's safe to say that Rozanna Purcell is one of Ireland's leading lifestyle influencers. With a love for cooking, hiking, traveling, and modeling, the 28-year-old knows how to create a large quantity of content for her legions of fans. What's most impressive though is the quality of that content.
Over the past year, the former Miss Universe has begun using her social media platforms to advocate for everything from sustainable fashion and recycling to mental health awareness and body positivity.
"I suffered a lot with eating disorders and body issues from about 20-25 [years of age] and it took me until about 28 to feel really comfortable talking about it," Roz told RTÉ LifeStyle.
"It took three years to, first, acknowledge that I needed to go get help but also managing it to a stage where I can share my journey with people and not get overly emotional about it or let triggers set back in.
"I think I started talking about it quite naturally. I used to talk about it quite a lot at cooking demos, people were arriving in expecting me to cook all these recipes and I'd be like: 'sit down, I'll give you a life lesson'," she laughed.
In May, to mark Mental Health Awareness Month, the Tipperary woman posted the above photo to Instagram with a caption that resonated with many of her followers:
"I haven't really been up for posting on social media as of late but I really like being able to use this space to hopefully make someone else experience online a little bit better and show my reality at least. Body image - it's something we're taught to place huge importance on. The media has decided what the perfect body type is and we have become completely blindsided by the fact our bodies are A LOT MORE THAN just for show.
"For a lot of years I based my self-worth on my weight and believed reaching certain numbers would bring happiness and success - it doesn't work like that and I guess I had to live it to realise it. There's really not enough word count on this platform regarding this subject but today I finished recording the last episode of Bite Back (out next week) a solid 9 episodes talking about this!
"But I want to touch on what helped me heal my relationship with my body and food. Firstly, a realisation that I wasn't ok and that I didn't want to waste any more time hating myself & feeling I didn't deserve the things I wanted because of how I looked. I sought help through counselling (CBT) and going to a nutritionist (even though my eating disorders never really had anything to do with food it was just something I could control) it was really helpful in helping me tackle my "fear" of certain foods and food groups.
"Talking to my friends and family, mostly my family at the time because I feel ashamed but more than anything It gave me a responsibility to see it through and learn to manage it because I had let someone else in. In a world of beautiful strangers and comparison try to remember what this place is the highlight reel, that split second you see of someone's day, that good angle or edited photo. That's all it is - nothing more."
Her new nine-part podcast Bite Back with Rozanna Purcell will discuss body confidence, eating disorders, self-love and self-acceptance with "fantastic guests" ranging from RTÉ2fm's Louise McSharry to psychologist Kimberley Wilson. You can check it out here.
For more information on eating disorders visit Bodywhys.ie, phone their helpline on 1890 200 444 or email email@example.com.