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@KimberlyKWyatt today at GTD 4, make up by @LansLondon :) Love this style!
Kim at Hurly Burly Show (10.07.12)
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The last pic: Kim has never wear this costume. But it was for her.
Kimberly Wyatt – ‘my secret battle with deadly diet pills’
Dance diva and former Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt reveals the secret struggle behind that perfect body
She’s blessed with a killer bod most of us can only dream of. So you’d imagine super-fit Kimberly Wyatt has always been pretty confident about her appearance.
Not so. During her early 20s, desperate to break into the showbiz industry in Los Angeles, where jobs depended on looks, the former Pussycat Doll became hooked on dangerous diet pills in a bid to attain the “perfect” figure.
Opening up to Fabulous about those dark days, she says: “I was told I was too big, that I needed a boob job, my skin wasn’t good enough or I needed to fix my nose. I just never felt good enough.”
At 5ft 6in, Kimberly was a healthy 9st 9lb and a size 12-14 when her slimming pill problems started at the age of 19. She
was deemed too heavy to be a professional dancer and put under pressure to lose weight by choreographers.
“At every audition there were beautiful girls wearing little to nothing,” she says. “I’d be criticised by agents, choreographers and clients. I grew depressed and comfort ate waffles with syrup and ice cream. Then I’d go to work in a tiny costume and feel worse. It was a vicious circle and my weight fluctuated enormously between the ages of 19 and 21.
“I danced three hours and jogged three miles a day but loved food too much to give it up. I tried to make myself sick once, but the effort gave me a bloodshot eye.”
Instead, for the next two years she began taking Hydroxycut – a controversial caffeine-based diet pill that was recalled in 2009 after it was linked to liver disease and at least one death.
“I got the idea from dance teachers and other dancers who were all taking it,” says Kimberly, now 30. “There was a ridiculous amount of commercials on television for them at the time and it felt like the easiest way to lose weight. You could buy them at any drug store.
“They made me feel shaky and nauseous for a good hour or two afterwards. I felt like a crackhead. I’d have all this energy and had to get rid of it by working out. I was absolutely miserable. If I didn’t work out, I’d lie on my bed feeling sick.”
Taking up to four pills a day, Kimberly’s weight crashed to 8st 7lb. When she got scared of the harm they were causing her and stopped using them, she’d simply pile the pounds back on until she caved in and started popping pills again.
“It scares me to think what could have happened to me,” she says now. “They could have given me heart problems, the way they made my heart race. There is no telling the damage they could have done.”
Many of Kimberly’s insecurities were the result of her traumatic childhood. She started dancing at the age of seven to escape a bleak home life in Warrensburg, Missouri, with her truck driver father and secretary mother.
“My parents drank. They were always out at bars or partying,” she says.
“I was sexually abused from the age of three until I was 14. I told my parents and they didn’t believe me. Speaking to the people who were supposed to keep me safe but didn’t believe me sent me into a tailspin. I felt hurt and betrayed. Dancing became my escape.”
Aged seven, Kimberly found solace in dance. She joined a local troupe and took classes four days a week before earning summer scholarships to study at New York’s Joffrey Ballet School and Broadway Dance Center at 14. But she became increasingly withdrawn, and her parents referred her to a psychologist a year later, although she refused to talk to him.
“I grew deathly shy and introverted. I’d cry and get mad,” she says. “I couldn’t deal with my emotions.”
Two years later she fled home to join a cruise ship as a dancer, before settling in LA when she was 19. She now has sporadic contact with her mother, who was supportive of her dance ambitions, but has cut her father out of her life completely.
It was only when she joined the Pussycat Dolls in 2003, at the age of 21, that Kimberly finally started to come to terms with her past and quit slimming pills. Founded by choreographer Robin Antin, what began as a dance ensemble turned into one of the biggest girl groups of the decade, with Kimberly and band mates Melody Thornton, 27, Ashley Roberts, 30, Jessica Sutta, 29, Carmit Bachar, 37, and lead singer Nicole Scherzinger, 33, propelled to stardom.
“The girls’ friendship helped me accept my body,” she says. “Ashley became my workout partner. Every day we went running or hiking, and motivated each other to be healthy.”
Hits like Don’t Cha and When I Grow Up consolidated their fame and they went on to sell 15 million albums worldwide. Employed primarily as a dancer, Kimberly and the other girls were aware that they would always play second fiddle to Nicole.
“The business model wasn’t easy, but once our roles were decided you either accepted them or didn’t, and I was just happy to have a job,” she says.
“It was cut-throat and there were arguments. You travel around the world in a tour bus working crazy long hours. But as stressful as it got, we kept each other laughing.”
Towards the end of the decade, however, the wheels started to fall off.
“We were replaceable and always reminded of that,” she explains. “I was a puppet and part of a machine. I was the sexy object, the one without a voice wearing these tiny latex dominatrix costumes. I knew I had to explore my potential. I needed a lifestyle in which I felt fulfilled and irreplaceable.”
After quitting the Dolls in 2010, Kimberly became a judge on Sky1’s reality show Got To Dance, hosted by Davina McCall. From next month she will star in West End dance show Revolution, which will feature 20 different dance acts, and she now sees north London as her home.
“The British are so straightforward,” she says. “Los Angeles is shallow and full of people trying to be something they’re not. I’m more at home and relaxed here.”
Kimberly – who split with her actor boyfriend of three years, Kevin Schmidt, 23, this January – keeps in touch with the Dolls. Well, most of them.
“I was in Los Angeles recently and caught up with Melody, Ashley and Jessica,” she says.
And Nicole? Kimberly chooses her words carefully.
“I haven’t seen Nicole in some time. We’re not as close as I am with the other girls. Sometimes you’re not best friends with people you work with but I want her to be happy, and I’m glad she and Lewis [Hamilton] are together. He’s good to her.”
Now a toned size 6, Kimberly stays in shape the healthy way. “I eat every two hours to keep my metabolism going. I have fruit instead of fake sugars and avoid meat as it makes me bulk up. In addition to dancing, I jog, do weights and Bikram yoga.”
She doesn’t regret the struggles she’s gone through to get to this stage, however. “It was all part of growing up and I wouldn’t be as driven without them,” she says. “I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I’m confident, in control – and I’ve learned to love my body.”
● Revolution, sponsored by D.inc. Wear, is at the Theatre Royal Haymarket until June 10. Visit Dinc-revolution.com for tickets.
@KimberlyKWyatt’s camera phone!
The new lip gloss of @BMbeauty, @KimberlyKWyatt: Gypsy Spirit! :)
#2 @KimberlyKWyatt at We Will Rock You 10th Anniversary (14.05.12)
#1 @KimberlyKWyatt at We Will Rock You 10th Anniversary (14.05.12)