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MTV, Reality Shows, and Eating Disorders

December 7th, 2005

Amaya Brecher and Veronica Portillo, two ex-cast members from MTV’s hit reality shows “The Real World” and “Road Rules”, recently gave a talk at Sacred Heart University, in which they shared some of their personal experiences with body image, eating disorders, and effects of mass media.

Amaya Brecher says, “[When I was younger] my ex-boyfriend decided my nickname should be ‘Chubby’. I decided that if I consumed some food and threw it up I wouldn’t gain weight. … Everyone at UCLA was skinny.” Brecher’s esophagus was damaged from years of purging and it will never heal on its own “I’ll probably need to get surgery.”

Veronica Portillo used a combination of diet pills (Fen-Phen, now banned), laxatives, purging, and restricted diet to limit her weight. “My boyfriend told me my butt looked big,” said Portillo, “I know sometimes people say things about people’s weight, but it stays with them. Their words can be hurtful for years.”

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