Gigi Robinson is busy. The 24-year-old influencer, photographer, podcast host, and entrepreneur added a “swimsuit model” to her roster of credentials when she became… The first Sports Illustrated model to speak publicly about her chronic illness.
Robinson uses her advocacy program with passion — and chronic illness is far from the only important topic she brings up. She recently launched her own podcast, “Everything you need is inside” To talk about body image, mental health and content creation with experts like Diversity Founder of Tiffany Yu, sophie the oddityand Playboy Social Media Editor Helen Sibelia. And if that wasn’t enough, she’s also working on an exciting new project that “specifically focuses on self-advocacy for students, patients, and anyone who struggles with their body image,” she says.
Robinson, who was diagnosed with a connective tissue disorder Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) At the age of 11, he has more than 130,000 followers on TikTok alone. She sums up her mental health strategy with one phrase: “I live by saying ‘what someone else thinks of you is, frankly, none of your business.'” But Robinson has a lot to say about standing up for herself, finding a support system, stepping into her role as an educator—and what it took for Robinson to be upfront in her calling.
Pop Sugar: You’re an advocate for mental health awareness. What makes you so passionate about both that and body image?
Gigi Robinson: Living with EDS has challenged me in so many ways, because I feel like my body has betrayed me and that makes everything difficult, especially when I have flare days. Fortunately, I live in New York City, and during my undergraduate studies I lived in Los Angeles with access to dedicated professionals chronic pain and EDS. I really need a support system. For me, this became my medical care team as I struggled with my emotional and mental health issues. I was taking medications at the same time and it made me very insecure about my body. This made me face challenges with binge eating And it eventually led me to talk about it with my doctors and therapists. I don’t know how I got to the point where I needed help, but I do know that working with a medical care team that understands my needs and is focused on my particular condition has really helped push me into setting more medical boundaries. If it helps me, as I am someone with over a decade of medical challenges, I can only hope it helps others too. That’s why I’m defending it.
In a post-COVID world, where conveniences like distance learning, hybrid class and extended deadlines have obviously helped a lot in the overall academic experience of chronic patients and people with chronic diseases. disabled studentsThe worst part is that as we emerge from the pandemic, we are reverting to learning habits and methodologies that have transcended the spread of the pandemic, and that are ignoring students with these facilities. And while there are offices for accessibility and disability services at universities, it is clear that we need to give students the strength to fend for themselves, so that we can ask teachers what they need to do better in their work as a student.
And part of sharing my story is so others don’t make more mistakes, and can learn from the hardships I’ve had with my chronic health issues.
Note: You have spoken publicly about your decision not to drink alcohol. What prompted this decision?
GR: I’ve never actually had a problem with alcohol, but I feel that when people say they are alert or not drinking, everyone assumes they have a problem. For me, it’s all about my health. There’s no other way around this: I’m allergic to alcohol. That would provoke horrific reactions with me mast cell activation syndrome [which causes repeated episodes of severe allergy symptoms] My face was puffy and my eyes were almost completely puffy. I will also have severe joint pain any time I drink. So it stopped. Coincidentally, after a few months, I started taking a new pain medication that helped me tremendously and changed my life. This type of medication is a controlled substance, and you are not allowed to drink alcohol on it, so it seems to work in my favor anyway. I’m actually I like not to drink Because it just helps me live a better life with less chronic pain.
Oftentimes, I carry a soda with lime, which looks like tequila soda, or ginger ale in a whiskey glass with an ice cube that simulates whiskey, or order a mocktail! Nobody has to know, and it’s none of their business, quite frankly. If someone asks me why I don’t drink, I ask them a question that rephrases the question and turns it around for them: “Why do you care what I drink? What do you drink?” And if they do have a drink or two, they usually always jump around to tell you what they’re drinking. If they keep pushing to see what I’m drinking, I usually know they’re not the type I want to be around – I’m not a fan of peer pressure!
Note: There is a lot of focus on building a support system, but how can people — especially during COVID, mixed work schedules, and remote school — do that?
GR: I stick to the basics: Instagram, TikTok, even Snapchat. In the pre-pandemic phase, I specifically looked for a local community of people living with my circumstances. This also led to a series of IRL encounters, which were really empowering. It was great meeting people and also including them in some of my projects. Now that we’re in a post-COVID world, virtual communication is definitely something that won’t go away, and there are plenty of ways to connect with new people. I still stick to Facebook groups and talk to people through direct messages. I’ve met some of the coolest people through these support groups, including my friends Tweet embedAnd the Tweet embedAnd the Tweet embed.
Note: What do you wish everyone knew about the mental health of Gen Z?
GR: It’s essential to involve us in conversations, because even though we’re not your age, we’re not kids anymore. We are the generation that grew up in the first digital environments that shaped who we are and how we act. As the world around us changed, we adapted to it, and while we did, we received a lot of opposition from those who didn’t want to adapt. When it comes to mental health, educational facilities, social media literacy, the future of the workplace, and more, let’s sit down at the table.