Skin Deep

ABOUT FACE: Christina Grasso

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Skin Deep

ABOUT FACE: Christina Grasso

We caught up with @thepouf about eating disorder recovery, self-image, and beauty.

Instagram: @thepouf
Location:
New York City
Astrological Sign: Pisces
Book that changed your life: Wasted by Marya Hornbacher and Carry on, Warrior by Glennon Doyle
Podcast you can’t stop listening to: I love SuperSoul Conversations with Oprah, Next Question with Katie Couric, the goop podcast, Ageless with Cynthia Rowley and Kit Keenan, and Unlocking Us with Brené Brown.
Beauty product (or treatment) that changed your skin: Facials at Knockout Beauty or Rescue Spa, both in New York City.
Instagram account you love to follow: @heatherkmcmahan, Katie Couric, Diane Keaton, Busy Philipps, @manicpixiememequeen, @tanksgoodnews and Martha Stewart.

This is a strong statement, but we stand by it: Christina Grasso, aka @thepouf, has some of the best content on Instagram. Her signature luxurious self-care shots, inspirational quotes written in red lipstick on mirrors, and aesthetic still lifes always inspire us to take a moment to unwind and care for ourselves (and restock our face mask stash).

Not only has she openly shared her personal struggle with an eating disorder, Grasso has spent the last three years creating The Chain, a nonprofit organization designed to support women working in the fashion and entertainment industries who are struggling with or recovering from an eating disorder. Her social media presence, nonprofit work, and the conversation we got to have with her are all welcome reminders to us all to be more honest, unapologetic, and forgiving to ourselves in this increasingly image-based environment we call society.

TS

Tell us about how you started The Chain. What inspired you, and what was the process of starting a nonprofit organization like?

CG

My close friend, Ruthie [Friedlander], and I met a couple of years ago after bonding over the shared experience of coping with and recovering from an eating disorder while working in fashion. We co-founded The Chain in 2017 as a peer-led support group intent on creating a safe place for people working in fashion, media, and entertainment to tell their stories and gain insight, as well as providing guidance to the style world-at-large. And for me, the other inspiration behind The Chain is my love for Stevie Nicks. We’d love to open chapters in LA and London at some point, but we’ll see. Right now, we’re focused on continuing to reach people who need the support, helping brands and publications approach the topic more responsibly. We also recently launched a jewelry line in partnership with Pietra.

TS

You’ve been really open about your own personal journey in regard to your recovery from an eating disorder. Can you fill us in on your story?

CG

I’ve struggled with body image from the age of 6 or 7 — I was very interested in gymnastics and dance from a young age and felt the pressure to fit that (very narrow) mold. I went on to develop an eating disorder around the age of 12, which I dealt with very secretly until college when I was essentially forced to get help. From that point in time, I’ve made significant progress, but I do consider recovery to be a non-linear, lifelong journey.

TS

How did you begin to recover?

CG

Initially, I didn’t really make the conscious choice to enter recovery — put simply, I just wanted to live. It’s taken numerous hospitalizations and several rounds of treatment to get where I am now which is not, by any means, “done.” The way I see it now is that recovery is a conscious, active choice I have to make every day, often multiple times a day, and that’s perfectly okay.

TS

What advice or thoughts do you have for others who may be trying to recover from an eating disorder?

CG

I think most people who struggle with an ED are very good at being hard on themselves, both in sickness and in recovery. When in the midst of an ED, nothing ever feels “enough.” And in recovery, there’s often this idea that you’re not “recovered enough.” This can be an exhausting battle in itself, so I always try to resist comparison and remember that everyone’s journey looks different.

“Try to resist comparison and remember that everyone’s journey looks different.”

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TS

What challenges do you think are specific to people working in the fashion and entertainment industries who are struggling with or recovering from an eating disorder?

CG

These industries are really image-driven, and personally I was well aware of that from the get-go, but that doesn’t make it any easier. In no other industry does everyone talk so much about weight and appearance, and in no other industry is disordered eating such an accepted “lifestyle.” I think the idea that we’ve all been brainwashed into thinking that beauty has a specific definition is quite sad. Personally, I’ve found that the more I look at a person with love, the more beautiful they become — and that has nothing to do with appearance.

TS

It’s 2020 and social media is inescapable – it feels like everybody compares everything. Your success and career is an inspiration to a lot of people. What advice could you give to professionals that want to pursue a similar path as you?

CG

Be kind and humble; always take the meeting; say yes and figure it out later; don’t be afraid to reach out to people you admire. Lastly, know that success is almost always the tip of an iceberg made from many years of un-Instagrammable moments filled with hard work and struggle.

TS

How would you describe beauty?

CG

Beauty to me looks like kindness, integrity, generosity, individuality, and comfort in one’s own skin.

TS

And lastly – when you’re not busy with work, what’s your self-care power move?

CG

Staying in and having a night to myself with wine and a good movie.
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