TikTok Star Charli D'Amelio Reveals Eating Disorder: What This Shows Us About Social Media Today

Tik Tok star Charli D’Amelio’s popularity only seems to grow every day. Just by posting some videos of her talented dance moves online, the sixteen-year-old Connecticut native has garnered a major following across all of her social media platforms. As of September of 2020, she has a whopping 25.8 million Instagram followers, for example. She has also recently announced a collaboration with one of America’s favorite coffee chains, Dunkin’, and now has a signature beverage named “the Charli” on their official menu. She’s designed her own hoodie for Hollister, been the face of a Morphe cosmetics campaign that included her sister Dixie, and has hung out with big-name celebrities such as Jimmy Fallon and Jennifer Lopez. D’Amelio has even written a book that will be released in December. 

White smartphone with hearts Photo by Cristian Dina from Pexels

With all of D’Amelio’s achievements in just this year alone, it can be easy to forget that she’s still growing up and doing her best to navigate life as a teenager, and is actually more relatable than one may think at first glance. Behind her constant positivity and fun dance moves, Charli recently revealed she has an eating disorder in an Instagram story post this week. 

D’Amelio wrote: “I’ve always tried to use my voice when it comes to issues surrounding body image, but I’ve never talked about my own struggles with eating disorders. It’s so uncomfortable to admit to even your closest friends and family, let alone the world. I’ve been afraid to share that I have an eating disorder, but ultimately I hope that by sharing this I can help someone else. I know eating disorders are something that so many people are also battling behind closed doors…” 

She also linked the National Eating Disorder's helpline in a later post. In the past, Charli has also responded to the surge of comments she gets in regards to her appearance. In a tweet posted in April, she wrote, “STOP TALKING ABOUT MY BODY! It’s not your place to tell me if I’m losing or gaining weight.” 

According to the CEO of the National Eating Disorders Association, Claire Mysko, an estimated 30 million Americans have struggled with an eating disorder in their lifetimes. Though Charli does not offer specific details into her exact disorder as it can be extremely personal and private information, she still decided to announce to her followers that she too has issues with self-love and body image. 

With the rise of social media and the presence of “influencers,” it can be really difficult to remember that everything you see on the Internet is not always true. Apps like FaceTune and Photoshop give almost everyone the ability to alter their physical appearance in what they post online, which can lead to a shift in what society deems as “normal” or the standard of “beauty.” 

For me, knowing that several of the elementary school kids I worked with in high school have started to download and use Tik Tok this year are able to have someone with a large following be open and honest about private struggles makes me feel positive about what kind of content they are possibly viewing. I often see young girls commenting things on popular TikTokers such as they wish they were prettier or looked differently. The trend of being wanting to be a “Heather” (a trend surfaced from lyrics from Conan Gray’s song “Heather,” meaning the desire to be the pretty girl who is well-liked by all) is just one example of a large group of both girls and boys expressing their sadness over not being “attractive” enough or “worth” a relationship. 

These trends can be extremely troubling, seeing as such trends on social media can be accessed within seconds. To have TikTok’s most-followed creator announce that she has an eating disorder shows that even the people with all the success and positive posts on social media can also be struggling, which is especially important to keep in mind since this month (September) is suicide prevention month. It’s really important to check up on even the most bubbly and charismatic people because you never really know what a person is dealing with behind closed doors. 

self-love Original Illustration by Gina Escandon for Her Campus Media

So, take a page out of Charli’s book and remember that even though it can be tempting to comment about others over the Internet, it can be extremely damaging. And if you are struggling with an eating disorder, just know that you are not alone. Seek help with a trusted adult or friend, and know there are always brighter days ahead. 

You can call the National Eating Disorders Association’s helpline at (800) 931-2237, or visit their site for more information and resources at nationaleatingdisorders.org