Tuesday, October 3, 2023
HomeFashionEmerging Model Marsella Rea Shares Her Journey With PCOS

Emerging Model Marsella Rea Shares Her Journey With PCOS

To make matters worse, Rea sees mixed messages all around her about period pain. “We normalized everything,” she said. “Society tells us that it’s normal to experience pain every month, so you try to push yourself through it, ignoring what your body is telling you. Every time I get my period, I cry in the bathroom, but I don’t want it to interfere with work.” Still, as time went on, Rea found the rigor of modeling more and more challenging. “[PCOS] had such a negative impact on my mental health,” Rea said. “I became very frustrated. I was doing things I’d always wanted to do but couldn’t enjoy.” The pressure to fit a designer sample proved just as overwhelming. “In this industry, there is an expectation of thinness,” Rea explained. “Worry that if your body changes, no one will want to hire you. I already felt insecure about my body because I’m naturally curvier, but once I started getting sick, those anxieties increased.”

As a communications student, Rea even considered leaving the fashion industry altogether before being spotted by an online scout weeks before graduation. “There were days when I thought, ‘Well, maybe this isn’t for me,'” she recalls of a turning-point conversation with manager Carlos Castellanos. “He encouraged me to take a break. I went back to Mexico City to rest and find a doctor who could help me figure out what was going on.”

Rea’s experience echoes that of the millions of people diagnosed with PCOS each year. Obvious symptoms ranging from weight gain, acne, and skin tags to hirsutism and hair loss can be irritating. The damage this condition causes to the reproductive system can lead to fertility problems. According to the World Health Organization, although PCOS affects approximately 5% to 20 of women of reproductive age, it’s still underdiscussed enough that many don’t realize they have it. Even those who seek therapy can find it difficult to get answers. “This requires more than one visit,” Rea explained. “I met a lot of doctors, from general practitioners to gastroenterologists, sometimes scary. I googled my symptoms and looked at all possibilities, but I didn’t get a diagnosis until I talked to a gynecologic oncologist.”

Photo: Dorian Ulises



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