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Heatherton says she's since been able to move past her body doubts and gain strength from the experience

By Julie Mazziotta
Updated December 08, 2020 10:53 AM
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Credit: Randy Brooke/WireImage

She may strut down the Victoria’s Secret runway in lingerie and pose in a bikini for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, but model Erin Heatherton struggled with her body image like so many others.

Heatherton, 27, wrote candidly about the doubts she feels in the modeling industry in an Instagram post Thursday night.

“I was struggling with my body image and the pressures to fulfill the demands of perfectionism upon me,” Heatherton says. “I am not perfect.”

But she was able to move past it, and grow from there.

And now she wants other women to join her in support.

“I made a choice to redirect my energy to be a catalyst for change,” Heatherton says. “To create a channel for women to become the truest versions of themselves, along with me. In the end, if you aren t being true to yourself, then what the f— is the point.”

The model, who previously dated Leonardo DiCaprio, is also devoted to her Ballet Beautiful workouts to find her strength.

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My body is very athletic, so the exercises that really help my body are things that are lengthening, Heatherton previously told PEOPLE. I ve been doing Ballet Beautiful since 2013, and I m still in the falling-in-love stage. It re-taught me how to stand, and a different way to hold my weight, so it helps me move as a model as well.

Heatherton works out almost every day for an hour-and-a-half, but she knows now to give her body time to heal after each intense sweat session.

Your ligaments can only heal through rest, and you have to rest if you want to see the results of all your hard work, she said.