meet christina grasso
The content creator who believes eating disorder treatment is often completely necessary to save someone’s life. However, in a lot of ways, there’s really no gold standard for care.
What is something you look forward to every morning?
One of the first things that I do when I wake up every morning is have either a coffee or matcha. I typically like to have it in the shower, which is odd, but I have a very long, big tub. So if I keep it on the end, no water gets in. It’s such an enjoyable ritual, having a shower and a coffee at the same time. It feels very, very efficient. So that’s normally how I start my day.
What’s meditative for you?
I love going for walks, especially during the fall when it’s perfectly chilly out. I like stopping at one of the closest magazine stores to my apartment. I still love print. Having had an editorial background, I really appreciate it. So I always like to stop by once a month and see what’s out and what’s new, so I can continue to support the print industry.
How do you practice gratitude?
I used to write these messages on my mirror for myself probably seven or eight years ago. It’s not a concept I invented, but I was working in beauty and I acquired so many lipsticks and being in recovery for an eating disorder and having such a contentious relationship with my own reflection, it was a nice distraction. It was an easy way for me to get a reminder to do something else. Now I do it for Instagram.
How does it feel to have others share or even imitate your words and style on social media?
I love it. I feel like a lot of times, it’s regrammed without credit. But honestly, I don’t want it to be about me, necessarily. The messages being shared hopefully will impact people in a positive way. That’s really the reason I do it. It makes me happy as long as it’s a brand or something that I align with.
You openly share and offer resources on social media about your experience with your eating disorder. Do you ever feel triggered by the responses you receive?
This is something that I’ve gone through for so long and I’ve been exposed to so many other people’s eating disorders, be it through treatment or our industry or social media. I feel like I’ve really seen it all. It’s not so much that I get triggered, but it can be overwhelming when people trauma dump in a way. I try to be as helpful as possible, but sometimes it does get to a point where there is such thing as sharing too much information. There are also people who will threaten to, God forbid really hurt themselves and they’ll tell me I’m going to do this. And then, I feel responsible. The hardest part is knowing when to disconnect.
How has your eating disorder recovery been?
I started dealing with it about 20 years ago, so it’s been a long time, with lots of ups and downs. I’ve gone through treatment several times, which honestly, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more and more critical of. Treatment is often completely necessary to save someone’s life and that obviously trumps any reservations one might have about the treatment experience. However, I feel in a lot of ways, there’s really no gold standard for care. A lot of the therapies that are used are still relatively new. There’s not a whole lot of research. The field has not advanced that far. So I watch people that I’ve been in treatment with over and over go back in and just cycle in and out.
“It makes me wonder how effective really is treatment.”
How successful is it really? And that makes me question how common full recovery is. I am lucky to be at a point where I feel like I still deal with it, but I also feel like I’m much more engaged in my life than the eating disorder, which for now, I’ll take. Obviously, the goal is to be fully recovered, but I also wrestle with what that even means. I’ve been very lucky and very grateful to have had the amount of help and support that I’ve had while also realizing that this is something I have to “fix myself.” That’s the hard part.
The past couple of years, you’ve been creating content for yourself as a newer career path. How has that been for your eating disorder?
I’ve been working in fashion for over 10 years now and I’ve always created content. But it was only within the past few years that I’ve been doing it for myself full time. And that was because I was laid off from my full-time job at Revlon due to COVID. I was very lucky to sign with Wilhelmina a week before COVID, so that was bizarre timing, but also very good timing.
“When it comes to content creation, sometimes I’ll get so exhausted because I’m constantly looking at myself.”
There are so many photos that it’s mind-boggling. No one should have to look at themselves that much. I think it’s completely unnatural, and yet, that’s what my job requires right now, is me being in a lot of the content. That is really hard because I have to look at myself from every angle, thousands of pictures, and that can be hard because what do I actually look like? It does feed into the body dysmorphia aspect of things.
Comparison, too, is really difficult because a lot of creators have the same aesthetic as me. It makes me think, do I need to be that too to be more advanced in my career? Unfortunately for some of the brands, the answer might be yes, but I also have come to a point where if that’s the case, is that even anyone I want to work with? I don’t think so.
Is there anything that you hold in shame or feel stigma around?
As open as I am about my eating disorder, it’s so much easier to talk about it to an audience, pressing post, and not knowing where it goes. That’s so much easier than having a conversation about it in my daily life.
I’m very passionate about spreading the awareness that an eating disorder doesn’t look a certain way. That’s something that affects the majority of people who suffer and yet most of them don’t feel comfortable talking about it. I feel okay talking about it. So I will happily take this on and do what I can with it because that is something that really prevents people from seeking help. If people had a better understanding that you don’t have to look a certain way to deserve help, then they’d be in a better place.
One of the hallmarks of an eating disorder is a fear of vulnerability or at least that’s something that I’ve struggled with. I’ve always been one that keeps people at arm’s length. So that’s been a challenge because that is one of the things that I really have to work on in order to move forward. It’s something that has held me back for so long. So vulnerability is definitely something that I’m working on. And even though it’s hard, it does have the capacity to be extremely helpful in the context of mental health.
Is there anything that is an ongoing stressor or makes you anxious?
Any type of confrontation always gives me anxiety and that’s been since I was a child. It’s just my temperament. The nature of this job is very anxiety-provoking because I’m so used to going to work and having a steady paycheck and not having to think about it, but now I’m working for myself. If I’m not working, I’m not working. So it’s a constant hustle and it naturally ebbs and flows. It’s coming to terms with the fact that I’m not always going to have a killer week. But I just have to trust that if I keep on keeping on, it will work out.
When do you feel most at peace?
In the morning.
When do you feel your body tense up?
I always feel pretty tense.
What gives you serotonin?
I’ve talked about this before, but I love seeing nuns out in the wild.
What does your body language say about you?
I would say that it says that I’m a lot more unapproachable than I actually am. I think people would say that about me too.
When do you speak your mind?
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