The Freestyle Ski Star Eileen Gu Has a Warning About TikTok Diets

My natural hair color is dark brown. I got it dyed for the first time in my freshman year, and I got highlights. It was pretty natural, but every time I got highlights, I added more and I got lighter and lighter and I became blond, and that’s not what I wanted. Then I dyed my hair black, and it was so dark it was almost blue. It was my emo phase!

Recently I started highlighting it more again. I don’t want to go full blond. It’s just a little flavor. When I get my hair done, I always ask for a deep conditioner. My favorite one to use at home, though, is TRESemmé. I’ve tried all different ones — the keratin therapies, too — but I like that one.

Diet is something I definitely think about as an athlete and a model. In both of my jobs, my body does the work. I haven’t talked about this very much, but last year I was struggling with eating. Being skinny isn’t really that great if it’s compromising your strength. I’m naturally very lean. I just wasn’t eating enough, or I wasn’t eating the right way. I was counting calories and thinking about food all the time.

What happened was that during the early months of the pandemic, I got stuck on those TikTok videos that document “what I ate today,” which was all disorders! It wasn’t even so much that I wanted to look like those girls, but I realized later that I was truly being influenced by them. I was looking at what the girls were eating, and then I looked at what I ate in a day, and it looked like so much! One girl was eating, like, one piece of white bread a day.

The thing is, the culture of being a teenage girl these days — not even in modeling or the ski industry — it’s very competitive. At home, I could be in the school lunchroom eating my mac and cheese, and some girl will be shaking her salad right next to me. Or if everyone is eating a Caesar salad, the conversation is “Oh, I’m eating the same salad but with no croutons.” And then someone else will say, “Oh, I’m eating a salad without croutons, and I’m taking out the avocado.”

It was a big moment for me, growing up with social media and TikTok, to realize that something was wrong. I’m sponsored by Red Bull, and they assigned me a nutritionist. I now FaceTime her about once a month. I just ran a blood test when I was in Austria, and everything looks great. I definitely eat more now — I’m 5-foot-8 and 120 pounds — and I’m eating about 2,000 calories a day. It’s really a maintenance level for me, and then sometimes I need to eat more.

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