The lead singer of British band Years & Years, Olly Alexander, has spoken out about his body image and eating issues in a pre-show Facebook live interview.
Speaking with BuzzFeed UK News, Alexander explained that problems began to manifest at 10-years-old:
“It was the first time I was starting to have an awareness of my body and strength and [thought], ‘Older boys, they’re really muscly and they could do things that I couldn’t do’ and that’s the point, from then onwards," he said.
"I started to have body issues and not eating, like I wouldn’t eat. I was stuck between this place of being really, really, really skinny and hating it, because I wanted to be muscly like other boys, but at the same time didn’t want to put on weight because that was bad as well. I struggled with it for a really long time actually.”
While he never felt it was an eating disorder, he explained, “I wouldn’t want to call it that myself… I was never diagnosed with an eating disorder but I definitely had a difficult relationship with food.”
Alexander is not flippant about his past issues, making sure he keeps on top of his mental health.
“It’s really a life-long process that I think anyone that’s experienced any mental distress or mental illness knows it’s something you manage,” he said. “It’s not something that just goes away. So it’s an ongoing thing.”
He also used the interview to speak out on the UK’s decision to keep PrEP (a drug used in the prevention of HIV) unavailable through the National Hospital Service (NHS).
“I don’t understand why anything that’s a preventive drug is not a good thing,” he said.
“It concerned [me] mainly because I feel like it really stigmatised people living with HIV. I can’t believe we’re still stigmatising or shaming people that have any sort of sexually transmitted illness but especially HIV because it feeds into this narrative that shames gay men especially, but not just gay men – lots of people get HIV.”
You can watch his entire interview here.