Alex Koszeghy says being able to be 'Glitter Girl' has helped build her self-confidence

By Gabrielle Olya
March 30, 2017 10:41 AM
Credit: Source: Alex Koszeghy/Instagram

Alex Koszeghy wanted to “paint up” for a University of North Carolina football game as part of her personal college bucket list, but she never imagined that showing her school spirit would actually help with her recovery from an eating disorder.

Koszeghy, now 23, began struggling with anorexia at 16, and describes her experience with the disease as a “living hell.”

“It was years of voices in my head constantly saying, ‘You’re fat,’ ‘Why did you eat that?,’ ‘Go exercise’ — and it was 24/7,” the senior psychology major tells PEOPLE. “I felt like I lost all my friendships because I would be too worried about being around food, my relationship with my parents went very south. I felt completely alone. I was continually battling this demon in my head that I couldn’t get rid of.”

Koszeghy attempted to recover on her own at the age of 18, but it wasn’t until she sought out faith-based counseling at 20 that the recovery stuck. “I no longer saw myself as just a body or the number on a scale,” she says.

While working on her body confidence and self-esteem has been an ongoing process, Koszeghy says painting up in body glitter for UNC games has helped a lot.

“The Glitter Girl persona is kind of an extension of my own personality, but it gives me more confidence when I’m in glitter because it’s almost like I’m more free to be me and can be a little weirder,” she says. “Sometimes I have insecurities about my body as Alex, but as Glitter Girl I can be more confident.”

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And by painting her body for all to see, “Glitter Girl” has allowed Koszeghy to confront her self-doubt head-on.

“For the last home game I wanted to do full body glitter and just wear a jog bra. It was super scary because I felt like everybody could see my stomach, but I like my facing my fears,” she says. “I did it and I remember thinking, ‘Nobody’s even looking at my stomach. Everybody’s just focused on the glitter.’ That was a big step.”

Her alter-ego has also allowed her to embrace her uniqueness, rather than fight against it.

“Glitter Girl has helped me realize that I like standing out,” says Koszeghy. “I think for a long time I tried to hide and blend in, and then I realized I like being different. Glitter Girl is the culmination of [my desire to] stand out from the crowd.”