Scarlett Pomers, singer and actress, suffered from anorexia in 2005 when her body weight dropped to a shocking 73 pounds! Scarlett then entered rehab and went public with her story. Today she is an ambassador for National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) and helps raise awareness for this disorder. "A lot of people only think it affects women -- young, white women," says Scarlett. "It can happen to anybody, and it does happen to a lot of people. No one's safe."
Scarlett Pomers singer and actress
Scarlett Pomers was a child actor who graduated from doing commercials to starring in Star Trek. But she was also a promising singer. "Although I grew up acting, music has become the way for me to express passion, joy, even pain and I just have to put mine out there and hope people are moved by it."
Scarlett was given a Gibson Guitar for her 16th birthday by the company that makes them, as they do to many other artists. This was in recognition of Scarlett's talent. The teenager went on to star and perform in the film Sing Softly Stella (released in 2006).
At that time Scarlett Pomers was also on TV, on the WB show Reba (started in 2000). She played the role of Kyra, Reba's (Reba McEntire) daughter. "When I started Reba, I was going into seventh grade and I started to be homeschooled because I was on the set so much. But to be honest, I didn’t miss regular school that much since most of my friends were actors anyway. Over the next four years, I loved working on Reba. Reba McEntire herself is a great person, and I was close to all the other cast members too."
While going through the normal growth pangs and entering puberty, like many other girls, Scarlett saw changes in her body during Christmas 2004. "I had gained a few pounds from all the cakes and cookies everyone had baked during the holidays, and for some reason, it bothered me. But around this time I had gotten a band together and was trying to find producers and cowriters I really clicked with, but there were some personality conflicts. I felt like I didn’t have any control over my life."
To gain back that control Scarlett decided to fight the minor changes in her body. "At first it was innocent, like just cutting back on sweets and junk food. But by the summer of 2005, my weird habits with food had gotten worse."
Something that had begun so innocently, an expression of teenage angst, was set to ruin Scarlett's life. She became obsessed with losing just a couple of pounds more, each time she promised herself that she'd stop. Then Scarlett needed to find people, anorexic girls, she could relate to and found them on pro-anorexia websites.
Also called pro-ana and pro-mia (short for pro-bulimia) sites, they attract young girls eager to learn tricks that would help them stay hungry and puke out food. These sites also display pictures of skinny celebrities and models to inspire girls into such dangerous behaviour. "I actually don`t really like to talk about specifically what I did when I had my eating disorder or the tips that I learned, because I know that other girls....will use the tips for destructive behavior," says Scarlett. "I wouldn`t have gotten so sick so fast if I hadn`t learned the different tricks and things."
Her sickness had gotten so bad that Scarlett's mother finally made her see a therapist. Pomers was also dropped from the show Reba and told to get help. She missed one whole season of the show while in rehab and finally returned in 2006 completely cured from anorexia.
Actress Scarlett Pomers attends Kohl's Transformation Nation Fall Fashion Show presented by Kohl's and Conde Nast Media Group on October 12, 2006 at the pier in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)
The pro-anorexia websites still continue to operate...but are coming under increasing scrutiny around the world. France will fine up to $71,000 and sentence the owners of pro-anorexia websites to jail terms......and Britain may follow suit. Over 1.1 million Britons are known to suffer from an eating disorder, mostly women and girls. The Royal Cheadle Hospital, in Cheshire, says there may be around 500 pro-ana and pro-mia sites. But, doctors say, as soon as one is closed down, another springs up in its place.