“Dancing with the Stars” pro dancer Lacey Schwimmer recently faced a rash of criticism after stepping out in pair of less-than-flattering jeans.
However, Lacey, who suffered from an eating disorder as a teenager, says she’s finally learned to embrace her voluptuous figure.
“I have boobs, I have a huge butt and I have a lot of muscle,” the 23-year-old dancer told In Touch magazine, via the UK’s Daily Mail. “I like having curves - I’m proud of them!”
Although the blonde beauty (who is currently paired with Chaz Bono on the hit reality competition) now loves her body, that wasn’t always the case.
In 2009, Lacey revealed she had been hiding a deep personal secret – her battle with anorexia.
“I was really, really scary thin,” Lacey, who chose to come forward with her story in hopes of inspiring others who may also be battling the dangerous disease, told Access Hollywood in an interview at the time.
“My waist [was] insanely thin; my hair was starting to fall out; it was getting thin. My skin looked gray and that’s when… I was like, ‘Alright, this isn’t cool.’ I saw other girls that were healthy and happy at my age and I was not like that whatsoever.”
Lacey’s eating disorder began at 13 while training for 10 hours a day as a dancer. Her parents were also her coaches — very strict coaches, she said — and Lacey was home schooled to accommodate her rigorous schedule.
On a typical day, Lacey told Access her food intake consisted of “a packet of turkey, which was about six slices of turkey — give or take,” and would also skip meals.
“I skipped breakfast and I would eat at around like 2, 3 o’clock and then I would have a candy bar for dinner and just drink orange juice throughout the day,” she said. “Energy drinks, you know, anything to keep my body going without the calories.”
Lacey then discovered diet pills at age 18, which helped the already thin dancer shed an additional shocking 15 pounds off her 5’ 3” frame.
Still, she thought she had a handle on her disease at 19 when she joined “Dancing With the Stars,” but turned back to diet pills after being mocked for her weight on the reality show.
These days, though the harsh critiques are still painful, Lacey says she’s learned to ignore the body bullying.
“There’s nothing I can do about except let it go and get over it,” she told In Touch, adding two simples words for would-be critics, “Zip it!”
Lacey’s fellow “Dancing” professional and two-time champion Cheryl Burke has also taken flack for her body on the show, and revealed that while she smiled for the cameras in 2008 after a tabloid published a photo of her bikini body on its cover and took aim at her weight, it was a deeply painful time.
“Urgh, I can’t even look at that thing,” Cheryl told Billy Bush and Kit Hoover of the photo, during an interview on Access Hollywood Live in February. “It was on the cover of a magazine saying, you know, ‘She’s too fat for television, too fat to be a dancer.’ That’s just something that a girl should never have to read about herself.
“At the end of the day, it was towards the middle of a season where I had to put a smile on my face and pretend it didn’t affect me, but it really did,” she added. “I mean, when you’re on blast like that and people are calling you fat, it’s just humiliating.”
The pretty pro, now dancing with reality star Rob Kardashian, said her curvier figure (at the time) was due to a little time off from her rigorous dancing schedule.
“When I do gain weight, you can see it, ‘cause I am 5’ 4” and I did gain a few pounds. I was on hiatus, I had fun for once,” she said. “I let my hair down and just… people were cruel.”