Nairobi News


Joey: I starved myself to maintain that great image on TV

By Amina Wako August 10th, 2020 2 min read

Former Citizen TV presenter Joey Muthengi has for the first time opened up about her battle with an eating disorder that she silently experienced for many years.

In a series of tweets aimed at helping young girls feel comfortable in their bodies, Joey revealed how she would deliberately starve herself to become skinny.


Joey further revealed that while in high school, she suffered bulimia, which is defined as an emotional disorder characterised by a distorted body image and an obsessive desire to lose weight.

Those suffering from the condition experience bouts of extreme overeating followed by fasting or self-induced vomiting or purging.

“I went to Caucasian schools for a majority of my teen/high school/college life and being thin was the in thing. If you couldn’t show a bit of your hip bones and flat tummy, then go to the gym. So I grew up conditioned not to accept anything other than being a skinny Becky,” Joey wrote.

“I then developed an eating disorder. In High School, I would eat all the food and throw up in the bathroom later. What they don’t tell you about bulimia is that you end up consuming more,” she said.


The situation got worse because when she landed a job on TV she stopped eating.

“I got it under control for a few years after then somehow I landed on TV. Then I stopped eating at all. I looked great in those dresses they gave me but underneath I was suffering. I felt so much pressure to maintain this image that I just stopped eating. Girls in the hallway would ask me… ‘My God Joey how do you stay so thin?’ And I would just laugh and keep it moving,” she wrote.

She says she was so skinny to a point her pants were falling off and that caught the attention of her mother.

“I remember walking into my mom’s kitchen with sweatpants falling off of my waist and her saying… ‘I don’t like this job for you’. I had never told her about my anorexia/bulimia but it was like she knew. She told me I looked like I was sick.” Joey wrote.

Her saving grace came when someone sent her a before and after photo of her. That’s when she decided to put her health first.

“Someone might look great on the outside but feel awful inside. I was in so much pain when this pic was taken. It’s been 2 decades for me. I’m still fighting this demon that is rarely spoken about in African culture. But I’m fighting every day,” she said.