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ERIN HEATHERTON has spoken about her personal struggle with body image.The former Victoria's Secret Angel, and this year Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue star, has revealed that her recent hiatus from the industry stemmed from her feeling that she was not projecting the "truest" version of herself.

Erin Heatherton

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Erin Heatherton.

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"I was struggling with my body image and the pressures to fulfil the demands of perfectionism upon me," she said in an Instagram post accompanied by a picture of herself wearing a T-shirt bearing the words "Empowered By Failure"."I am not perfect.Through this struggle, however, I found the strength to love myself.I stood in my power.I look back on that moment now, and I embrace it."

Erin Heatherton and Lily Donaldson.

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Heatherton - who turned 27 earlier this month - made her fashion-week debut in 2006, appearing for Diane von Furstenberg, and then walked in the Victoria's Secret show from 2008 to 2013, serving as an Angel from 2010 to 2012.

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She tagged Empowered By You in her post, an underwear label that uses 20 per cent of its profits to create loans "to empower women out of poverty", and it seems that her own struggles have inspired her to help other women who may be having similar issues - although she hasn't yet revealed what the philanthropic project may entail.

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"This feeling I once perceived as 'failure' was, in truth, a powerful awakening for me to stand behind my purpose in life," she said."I stepped away from hiding behind a fabricated version of myself.I no longer put actions behind my fears and insecurities.I made a choice to redirect my energy to be a catalyst for change; to create a channel for women to become the truest versions of themselves, along with me.Stay tuned for more...In the end, if you aren't being true to yourself, then what the fuck is the point?"

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