SADDLEWORTH’s most visited beauty spot has provided a striking backdrop to the return from America of an Oldham born supermodel.
And Karen Elson used her shoot for British Vogue at Dovestone Reservoir to reveal some of her demons while growing up as a bullied and bulimic youngster.
Now 41 and former wife of rock singer, Jack White, the one-time North Chadderton school pupil toured Oldham and Manchester during a flying visit from her adopted home in Nashville.
“When I came out here,” she recalls of previous days at Dovestone in a YouTube Vogue video, “There was sense of escaping reality but then returning into Oldham to be confronted by what other people thought of me.
“When I lived here it definitely wasn’t easy,” added Karen, one of the world’s leading models since the 1990s.
“I was bullied a lot and no-one expected anything of me. When I first became a model I didn’t tell anyone.
“Then I told one girl who old the entire school and I will never forget everyone laughed at me. You are not fit to model socks, they said.
“I stood out as different whether I wanted to or not.” And wiping away a tear at the difficult memories she added:
“I had an eating disorder when I was seven years old.
“I had a full nervous breakdown and stopped eating for nearly six months.
“I had to be admitted to hospital and they threatened me with feeding tubes. It was horrible.
“That is why I was teased. I was so skinny, frail and so introverted. It was a long road to recovery.
“I was a sensitive kid who became the target of playground bullies.
“I was overwhelmed by life and my way of controlling the little I could control was by stopping eating.
“I haven’t shared a lot of my past; it’s almost like it is a dirty secret.
“There have been hard times but despite challenges in life I wouldn’t change a thing.”