Blogged By: La Tray
Media Credit: Photo (Daily Mail) (SWNS)
Posted: Monday April 30, 2012 @1:25 p.m. PST
- Despite stunning good looks, teenager never believed she was attractive enough for the modelling world
- She developed anorexia and bulimia at the age of 16 and the illnesses left her too tired to work
- The model died in her sleep at her grandmother’s house of suspected heart failure
An anorexic teenage covergirl died of heart failure in her sleep after her weight dropped to just six stone.
Bethaney Wallace, 19, appeared to be living a dream lifestyle, appearing on the covers of glossy magazines including Girl Talk and Popgirl from the age of 12.
But despite her stunning good looks she never believed she was attractive enough and succumbed to anorexia and bulimia aged 16.
‘You can’t feed them because they will just sick it up. Her friends said they would go to a restaurant and Bethaney would only order bread.
‘The first time my wife noticed something was when Bethaney was asleep on the sofa and when she woke up the first thing she did was touch her stomach.
‘She lost her self esteem. She would say she was fat. But she was so beautiful. She didn’t realise how pretty she was. Once a man was staring at her on the escalator so much that he fell down.
‘But she had up days and down days. It was like Jekyll and Hyde.
‘I tried to warn her that her organs would fail, but she just said “don’t be silly”. She would stay at my mother’s house.
Bethaney, who volunteered for Care UK in her home town of Newmarket, Suffolk, died at her grandmother’s house in nearby Carlton on April 18.
Her eating problems began when she got glandular fever aged 16 after a holiday in Greece – and became determined not to put the weight back on.
The model’s parents said she became agitated whenever anyone asked her what she was eating and would order just bread when she went out with friends.
Mr and Mrs Wallace also told how they could never enjoy watching her eat because when she tucked in they knew she would make herself sick later.
The couple today said they were left feeling helpless because Bethaney was legally an adult and they had no rights to force her to change.
Mrs Wallace said: ‘It was so hard to get the help. I went to the doctors a few times on my own.
‘I asked them to call her in for something else and then bring up the eating
‘But Beth was not a child so I could not force her to get help. For parents you are slowly watching your child die.
‘It was out of our hands.’
Bethaney modelled for teen magazines Popgirl, BBC Girl Talk and Make It Groovy in 2004 when she was 12, making £112 per shoot.
The former student of Hills Road Sixth Form College in Cambridge had hoped to pursue a career in photography and modelling.
She stopped modelling for two years to concentrate on her school work and achieved four A*s, four As and one B for her GCSEs, as well as an A* for photography, B for Biology, B for Geography and C for Media Studies at A-level.
Her parents said Bethaney’s death had been made more tragic because they had started to feel like she had turned the corner and was getting on top of her conditions – after years of being too weak to even go shopping.
Mr Wallace said: ‘She was getting better. She was having counselling and making good progress.’
He added: ‘She had started doing more. I wonder if she had done too much. The paramedics said her blood sugar level was very low.’
Housewife Mrs Wallace added: ‘Girls were never jealous of Bethaney because when they spoke to her they realised she was really nice. The loveliness inside came out.
‘She stayed friends with everyone.
‘Everyone who saw Bethaney knew she was a beautiful girl. But those who got to know her realised that she was beautiful inside too.
‘She had an inviting smile and big brown eyes that would make everybody happy.
Bex Parramint, 30, from Power Model Management in Norwich, Norfolk, who represented Bethaney when she was modelling, paid tribute to her today.
She said: ‘I remember that as a little girl Bethaney would always have fresh flowers in her bedroom.
‘She was a really bright, smiley, beautiful little girl. She was so cute. She was just right as she was.’
Mary George, spokeswoman for eating disorder charity Beat, said anorexia and bulimia ‘take a huge toll on the body over a period of time’.
She said: ‘Our hearts go out to Bethaney’s family – eating disorders are devastating illnesses and it is particularly poignant that she had been making progress in her battle to beat her illness.
‘Eating disorders take a huge toll on the body over a period of time.’
The coroner for Suffolk said the cause of Bethaney’s death is uncertain pending tests.
An inquest was opened and adjourned on April 23. Bethaney also leaves behind a sister Shari, 22.
West Suffolk Eating Disorder Service in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, gave Bethaney an eating plan and she had been receiving counselling for a year.
The bulimia and anorexia sufferer was 5ft 3ins and had weighed 6st 10lbs in February.
Her BMI was 16.6, which meant she was categorised as dangerously underweight.
At Madrid Fashion Week 2012 models were banned from taking part if they had a BMI of less than 18.
On the night she died, Bethaney had gone to stay with her grandmother in Moulton, Suffolk, on the night she died.
The next morning her parents received a phone call from Bethaney’s grandmother and they rushed round to find her dead.