A teenage ballerina who says she hates her body opens up about her body dysmorphia
A teenage ballerina has opened up about her body dysmorphia, claiming she "hates herself" and that "all ballerinas" have some form of the mental health condition.
Luna Montana, an 18-year-old dancer from Los Angeles, California, vlogs on YouTube about the behind-the-scenes aspects of the ballet industry that audiences don't see. This includes the things she has to eat, the auditions she attends and the heavy toll her job takes on her self confidence.
In her latest video, she openly discussed how she deals with her own body dysmorphia, a mental health condition characterised by the obsessive idea that some aspect of one's own body or appearance is severely flawed.
In the footage, Luna, who began dancing at the age of three, told her 120,000 followers that although she fits the conventional idea of skinny, in the ballet world, standards are completely different and even more unattainable.
"In dance, the norm is stick-thin, amazing feet, hyper-extended legs, no crazy waist, no big hips, [being] very narrow, skinny arms, long arms, long neck – there’s so many things to think about," she explained. "It’s not even 'fat' or 'skinny', it’s 'are my legs shaped the right way?' It could literally be your pinky finger that doesn’t work right, and you beat yourself up about it. It’s a crazy, crazy art form."
This video follows a previous vlog from December 2018, where Luna "broke down" after watching footage from a dress rehearsal of The Nutcracker. After initially thinking the session had gone well, she confessed that "she hates herself, so much".
"I hate my body, I hate that I look so fat in the video, I hate my feet, I hate my leg shape, I hate my arms that are fat, I hate my hands that are weird, I hate literally everything about myself," she said. "When I watch that video, I literally don't know who I am anymore. I don't see one thing I like about myself."
In the new footage, the teenager said that always feeling not good enough can be put down to the perfection we see daily on social media.
"Ballet is a very, very body-based art form. As you know, the stereotypical ballerina has to be quite thin. I can say that it’s almost a fact that every single ballet dancer has some sort of body dysmorphia – that’s just my experience, and my friends, and what I know about the ballet industry."
She continued: "To be honest, I don’t have it as bad as many people do. I have never had an eating disorder, never struggled with anorexia, bulimia, any of that, which I am very, very thankful [for]. In this day and age it’s crazy the pressures we put on ourselves in what we should look like.
"Every day we’re scrolling through Instagram. We wake up and start our day scrolling through Instagram and seeing all these face-tuned photo-shopped pictures that we think we’re supposed to look like."
The body dysmorphia sufferer then gave her viewers tips on how to deal with their own issues over their bodies, advising them to block anyone on social media who makes them feel bad about themselves.
"Listen to me right now," she said. "You’re going to go on and unfollow every single page that makes you feel bad about yourself. If you somehow don’t want to, then mute their posts, mute their stories. I know it’s hard and I know you want to see it but at the end of the day if it’s making you feel bad about yourself it’s not worth it."
She added: "You have to realise that this the only body you were given to live. Why would I starve it or be mean to it in any way? This is the only place that I was given to live. This is our one chance at life and I’m wasting so much energy feeling bad about the weight on our thighs. That’s crazy."