Olivia Ponton Reveals ‘I Never Had an Eating Disorder Before I Had Social Media’

The model and influencer dives deep on Emily Ratajkowski’s new podcast.
Olivia Ponton was photographed by James Macari in Montenegro.

Olivia Ponton was photographed by James Macari in Montenegro.

Olivia Ponton and Emily Ratajkowski recently went deep on an episode of the two-time SI Swimsuit model’s podcast, High Low With EmRata. The duo chatted about everything from body image to harsh internet comments and more.

When Ratajkowski asked how social media has impacted Ponton’s body image, the TikTok star revealed, “I never had an eating disorder before I had social media.” Growing up in Florida and living in a bikini, Ponton never gave much thought to her body.

“Once I started posting in bikinis, everyone had things to say about my body… so many negative thoughts were always surrounding my body… I started actually hating the way I looked,” Ponton explained. The model—who made her SI Swimsuit Issue debut in 2022—notes she even “got canceled” on TikTok because “I didn’t have boobs.”

Ponton revealed to listeners that “there was a really low [point] when I just wasn’t eating around a year ago.” While she did not immediately recognize the onset of her eating disorder, “it kind of just happened.”

“I thought, for the longest time, I’ll get super skinny and then that will solve all my problems,” she disclosed.

Ponton now realizes how flawed her mindset was and has since developed a healthier relationship with food.

“No food is bad… eating large [amounts] of the same thing is bad,” she said. Ponton practices wellness with her Oura ring, which helps her attend to her body’s needs. She also finds cooking therapeutic.

“The moment I knew what was going into my meals… it made it easier to eat,” she said, adding that “healthy for everyone looks totally different,” but that she is happy with her new path.

Ponton’s consistent authenticity and honesty are part of what she attributes her social media success to.

“I’m going through the same things that everyone else is going through,” she explained. The model said she strives to “become the female that people could look up to… I want them to be able to relate,” talking about her younger followers in particular.

The My Body author applauded Ponton for her bravery at such a young age and confessed, “I couldn’t even identify the body issues I had at the age of 20 because they were so complicated.”

Ponton also spoke about harsh critique from her social media followers, and provided the example of her recently bleached eyebrows. As the model experimented with the beauty trend, followers commented, “stay in your lane Olivia…you’re not this type of girl.”

The social media influencer exclaimed to Ratajkowski, “Who’s to say that I’m not that type of girl…just because I’ve been a certain type of girl for the past two years doesn’t mean that I can’t try out new things.”

Ratajkowski echoed the belief, saying, “You’re a 20-year-old woman who wants to experiment with her identity and express yourself.”

Ponton said she felt similar pressure when exploring her sexuality. She identifies as a queer woman, which many followers deem a juxtaposition given her fem-presenting nature on social media. “There should not be a stereotype of what you look like… express your personal identity however you want,” Ponton explained.

Ponton said her goal for 2023 is to be unapologetically herself. She will no doubt continue to shatter rigid stereotypes and leverage her platform for good with her unabashed authenticity.

Kenzie Murphy