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Norwich girl battles anorexia and achieves modelling success

Alice Jackson, originally from Thorpe St Andrew, in a photoshoot for Curvy Kate lingerie competition after overcoming her anorexia problems.

Alice Jackson, originally from Thorpe St Andrew, in a photoshoot for Curvy Kate lingerie competition after overcoming her anorexia problems.

Submitted - April 2013

A physical and mental battle against anorexia has been won by a former Thorpe St Andrew School pupil.

Now Alice Jackson is in the running for an international modelling contract and a fashion shoot with Cosmopolitan magazine.

That is because the 26-year-old has overcome the eating disorder to reach the final 10 of the Star in a Bra competition run by lingerie and swimwear retailer Curvy Kate. The retailer, which sells in over 500 stores worldwide, has searched for 10 “shapely women” from across the UK and Miss Jackson has been chosen from over 700 entrants.

However, the fun and glamour of the competition are a long way from Miss Jackson’s first year away from home at Bournemouth University – when she dropped to 7st 10lbs in weight, a worrying 4st below the recommended weight for her height.

Miss Jackson, who studied for her A-levels at the Hewett School in Norwich, said: “When I first started at uni I put on a bit of weight in the first term and a diet quickly became an eating disorder.

“I was running, doing exercise classes, cycling to classes and the weight soon came off, but I became obsessed and the weight was coming off very quickly.”

One of the worries for Miss Jackson was that her father, James, had been diagnosed with cancer – which he has since recovered from.

She returned home to take part in a Race For Life fun run, raising funds for Cancer Research UK, and it was then that her parents became worried about her.

Her mother, Diana Jackson, who still lives in the Thorpe St Andrew area, said: “We could see she was really thin but when people have anorexia you have to be very careful what you say. I said to her ‘you’re killing yourself’ and apparently that had a big impact because she was in an awful spiral but she really didn’t want to be.”

Miss Jackson says she is “very proud” of her daughter for her recovery and says a gap year travelling with a friend in Asia had helped Alice to appreciate her life.

Alice, who is now living and working in London, sought help from the Somerset and Wessex Eating Disorders Association (SWEDA).

Some of the councillors who helped Alice now run an eating disorder help group called I-Eat, for which she has since gone on to volunteer for to show her appreciation for their help.

Alice said her second year of studying retail saw her living and working in London and feeling happier in herself.

She added: “What’s so great about the Curvy Kate competition is that they celebrate curves. It’s about having confidence in saying ‘this is me’.

“It doesn’t matter what size you are, some people are just naturally thinner, it’s about being happy with who you are.”

Voting for the competition is open until Tuesday, April 30 at www.facebook.com/curvykate and the winner will be announced on Thursday, May 2.

Have you got a story for the Evening News? Contact reporter David Freezer on 01603 772418 or david.freezer@archant.co.uk

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