Bullies, bulimia and Barbie - Cumbria girl Deryn Green's story
Last updated at 16:44, Thursday, 22 January 2009
Weblore has it that if Barbie were a real woman, she wouldn’t have enough body fat to menstruate. For Deryn Green, Cumbria’s very own Barbie girl, fat has become a four-letter word and a destructive fixation.
The path to fame is littered with roadkill and the 25-year-old glamour model has been floored by an eating disorder.
For the past five years, Deryn has vomited up much of the food she eats with punishing regularity. She has bulimia.
“I wouldn’t admit at first,” she says, a diminutive figure tucked up in front of a roaring fire in her family’s Silloth home. “I learnt to live with it. It’s your comfort blanket.”
Her quest for perfection – perfect body, perfect career, perfect love – perhaps triggered the slide into the bulimic self-abuse. It’s hard for her to really know, because reality has become overshadowed by distorted views of her appearance.
Trawling further into her past, Deryn believes the taunts that plagued her childhood underpin the illness.
“I was always getting called fat and ugly. I went through hell.”
One attack was so severe that she was hospitalised.
Deryn can’t exactly pinpoint when the vomiting and obsessive calorie-counting began. But it was soon after her outward transformation to the silicone babe that became runner-up in the Miss Sunday Sport UK contest.
“At school I looked completely different. I wore glasses and my hair was mousey.
I loved being in the choir. At parents’ evenings I would be the one doing the coffees. A right swot.
“I never bothered with the boys. When people were going out and smoking, I was doing my homework.
“But I was always putting balloons under my top and dancing around trying to look like Barbie.”
Deryn first set her sights on a boob job at the age of 17.
“I started bleaching my hair, I found hairpieces. By the time I was 19 I was into it all.”
She went to a 34C in her first breast augmentation in 2003 – an operation which left her with complications.
Plastic surgeons worked on Deryn a further 12 times. Some operations were to correct the problems with the first breast enlargement.
taggeringly, despite the trauma, Deryn went back for more.
“Then I went up to an DD, then an E cup then to an F. I just wanted to be bigger,” she said.
Around the time of the first boob job the vomiting began.
“My left breast would not heal. It could have been because I was not eating properly.
“I found I could eat something – a salad roll maybe – and then I could get rid of it. It just spiralled out of control.
”I was a size 12-14. I wasn’t obese. But it was the way I felt about myself.”
Despite behaviour like stashing bags of vomit in her bedroom and disappearing to the bathroom after meals, Deryn was able to hide her illness for several years.
“You get to be a very good liar,” she said.
On the surface, Deryn was flying high. A stint on adult entertainment channel Babe Station followed her modelling success.
She starred on ITV Border dating show Made For Each Other and took part in numerous promotions activities.
In 2005, Deryn flew to Dubai as part of vampish girl band, Triple-X, She was treated like royalty with a residency at a five-star hotel, radio play, adulation and applause.
The show must go on, as the saying goes. But behind the scenes, Deryn became a pro at hiding her episodes of vomiting and the weakness she suffered as a result.
“There was me on the stage,” said Deryn clutching a picture showing her in a cleavage-boosting top, heels and a micro-mini alongside her three equally pneumatic band mates.
“And there was me off stage with my eating disorder. I was this party person and inside I was down.”
It began to dawn on Deryn that she needed help and she flew back after five months.
“I needed to be back at home with the support I needed.”
The youngest of five, Deryn is the last of the Green children living with mum, Leona, and dad, Raymond. She leads a much quieter life these days. Concentrating on her cognitive behaviour therapy in a bid to beat the bulimia is one reason. But the abuse she gets when out on the town in Carlisle is another. On one occasion she claims girls threw bottles at her in a Carlisle nightspot.
“I’m not confrontational, I’m not a fighter. By the end of the evening I’ve usually got them on my side.
”The judging is fine because I expect it. But when it crosses the line, it’s hurtful.”
Leona is close by throughout the interview. She’s proud of her daughter, but obviously heartbroken over her illness. She’s smashed up the weighing scales in the family bathroom to stop Deryn obsessively weighing herself and cries as her little girl talks about how the bulimia has left her with poor sleep patterns, sensitive teeth and a permanent chill. She is bitter about people’s perceptions of Deryn.
She says: “People judge Deryn before they know her.”
The walls of the house are papered with pictures from Deryn’s glamour modelling shoots.
Curiously for a cosmetically sexualised, Sunday newspaper centrefold, Deryn’s bedroom is the stuff of girlhood dreams. It is a shrine to every conceivable shade of pink. Barbie paraphernalia clutters every nook and posters of boy bands are tacked to the walls.
“I am obsessional about Take That. I have posters of them up everywhere. They’re gorgeous, talented and down to earth.”
She confesses to dating a man who looked like Robbie Williams, purely because of the resemblance.
“My name should be Mrs Williams,” she gushes as she trips off into a fantasy scenario about playing a piano and singing on stage with “her boys” gathered around.
You can almost see the stardust through the soft-focus camera lens.
“I am very girlie. I don’t like boys who burp and pump at the table,” she says, wrinkling up her nose.
Deryn also becomes animated when discussing her pet dog. “I have a part Jack Russell called Jasmine. I love her. She won’t fit in my handbag and she won’t let me put a bobble in her hair or anything like that.”
She becomes positively twinkly when talking about her boyfriend of three weeks – a friend of a friend who lives in Maidstone. Although her bulimia has destroyed relationships in the past, Deryn is hopeful that she has now met “her Prince Charming”.
Yet the flipside to the froth is painfully close to the surface and Deryn hasn’t worked as a glamour girl for some time.
“I didn’t know whether I was doing it for the right reasons.”
However, job offers have been coming in. She’s also been approached to be part of a television programme to commemorate the Barbie’s 50th birthday, and Babe Station is keen to see her return. She’s determined to start singing with a band again once her demons are conquered.
“I’m having time out to get better, so when I get back to my singing I can really concentrate on it. I will be back.”
Behind the platinum extensions and pumped up breasts, Deryn’s teeny-tiny face is lively and her features are charmingly pretty. She’s sweet, and radiates emotional warmth.
“I love performing and making people laugh and smile. Something is changing inside me now. I want to get the Deryn back who is genuinely happy.
“I want to like myself,” she said.
It’s hard not to hope for a fairytale ending for Deryn. Beyond the fluff and bubbles, there’s a sadness lurking and a side to her that is eternally childlike – a Tinkerbell-Lolita who loves her mum. A dolly with a consuming desire to be accepted, Deryn’s story embodies a strong message about the quest for fame.
She has this wisdom to pass on to girls who sing into their hairbrushes and aspire to a life in front of the camera. “Go for your dreams. But I want girls to know that when they see girls out there who look like me, there are problems behind it.”
There are three billion women on the planet who don’t look like Barbie – and perhaps life ain’t so sweet for those who do. It is estimated that two out of every 100 people in the UK are affected by bulimia. For support and information call 08456 341414 or visit www.b-eat.co.uk.
First published at 09:06, Friday, 02 January 2009
Published by http://www.cumberlandnews.co.uk
Have your say
omg your story is soo sad but dont let people put your down your stunning and a true beauty inside as well as out you are an inspiring person dont let people put you down and to many people judge a book by a cover ur a really pretyy girl :) xx
Deryn is an amazing woman and so r all here family deryn has had her problems but look at her now she's doing amazing. deryn is amazing and she always will b x
View all 16 comments on this article