Like many other Instagram influencers, Charlotte Rollin is no stranger to advertising requests from brands. But when she received multiple messages from a diet shake company called The Choco Diet, requesting a collaboration, she decided to respond.
Rollin, a 20-year-old student, felt compelled to reply after the company's third attempt to get in touch because she has suffered from an eating disorder, and found their product (and marketing) to be damaging.
On Sunday, Rollin tweeted screenshots of the message she received from The Choco Diet, as well as her subsequent response.
"I had hoped the absence of my response would prevent you from contacting me again, however seeing as you have now emailed me three times regarding this ‘collaboration,’ I feel a need to reply and hopefully prevent further correspondence," her message read. "It is quite apparent to me that you have not taken the time to look at my previous social media posts or even have an idea of the type of the content I create, as if you had, you would most likely be aware that I in fact have suffered with anorexia for the past 5 years."
Rollin wrote that products like these affect people's physical and mental health, and she wanted no part in promoting them.
"I therefore would, under no circumstances, even consider promoting a diet or detox drink on my social channels, which many follow as they also suffer from mental health issues and use as a reassurance that they are not alone in these struggles," her message continued. "I find the nature of your product to be damaging, and I know for a fact that these shakes are not a healthy way to lose weight, even for those that have a genuine, non-disordered desire to do so."
Rollin tells Refinery29 that other diet shake companies have contacted her in the past, but she hasn't always felt compelled to respond. But after multiple messages from a Choco Diet representative that she said became "more aggressive and rude in tone," she decided to reply.
"As someone with anorexia, companies that promote these sort of products are hugely triggering and I felt that they should be aware of the impact they have before contacting bloggers," she says.
Though she says she's in a much better place now in terms of her eating disorder, "I wanted to tell this company just how wrong their approach was, as I would hate for a similar email to reach someone else who was in a more difficult headspace and for it to trigger a relapse or further disordered behavior."
If you are struggling with an eating disorder and are in need of support, please call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. For a 24-hour crisis line, text “NEDA” to 741741.
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