Model Jay Camilleri Shares His Battle with Eating Disorders

By Valerie Tejeda 04/15/16

The 25-year-old model hopes that his boyfriend, singer Sam Smith, will become a patron for an eating disorder charity in the future.

Model Jay Camilleri Shares His Battle with Eating Disorders
Photo via Shutterstock/Feature Flash Agency

It’s no secret that the pressure to be thin in the modeling industry can lead to eating disorders. British model Jay Camilleri—known for his stint on the British TV series, Dirty Sexy Things, and most recently for dating singer Sam Smith—recently shed some light on how his drive to make it as a fashion model led to a struggle with bulimia and anorexia.

The London native said it began with skipping meals so he could fit into extra-small shirts and size 26 jeans for women. “I started out a lot of the time skipping meals. It became a habit for me and the weight kept coming off,” Camilleri told the Daily Mail. “You could see my ribs. I was getting a tattoo on my spine and the tattooist refused to carry on because he said it was just going into bone.”

In addition to not eating, Camilleri would lie to family and friends and say he was going to castings calls when in fact he was hitting the gym twice a day. “I'd do an hour of cardio, and an hour of weights in the evening,” he admitted. “I pushed weights to tone up, I didn't want to get any bigger.”

On top of all that, Camilleri would throw up his meals after family dinners or whenever he was forced to eat. But even as his body wasted away, Camilleri was happy with his thin appearance since it was a stark difference from “Fat gay Jay,” which he used to be called by bullies in school. "I was getting a salad from a coffee shop and this woman turned around and told me 'You need to eat, you look starving,'" he said. "I just said, 'Thanks.' I knew she was making a dig but I just saw myself looking great."

But after years of skipping meals, throwing up food, and overexercising, Camilleri was able to get help for his illness and has since gotten up to a healthy weight. Now, the 25-year-old aims to help other men with eating disorders and bring awareness to the disease. “It's still not really spoken about with guys,” he said. “Asking for help is something to be proud of not ashamed of.”

Camilleri hopes to set up a charity for the friends and families of people suffering from anorexia and bulimia with the help of his beau, Sam Smith.

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Entertainment journalist and author Valerie Tejeda spends her days reporting on books, television, and all things pertaining to pop culture, and spends her nights writing novels for teens. Her stories have appeared on a variety of different publications, including but not limited to: VanityFair, MTV, The Huffington Post, TeenVogue, She Knows, Latina, The Fix,, Cosmopolitan, and more. You can find Valerie on Linkedin and Twitter.