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Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman opens up about experiencing “several bad episodes of anxiety”

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Mental health, a topic once swept under the carpet or discussed in hushed voices to avoid shame, is finally starting to be realised as a serious medical concern. Increasingly, figures in the public eye are speaking out about it and realising how prevalent it is, in order to remove the stigma and encourage societal change.

Celebrities form Cara Delevingne to Lena Dunham and Laura Mvula have all described their experiences with mental health battles.

And now, one of the most successful women in the global fashion industry, editor of British Vogue, Alexandra Shulman, has opened up about her own struggles with anxiety.


Read more: Exploring the paralysing effects of anxiety in the modern world


In a candid interview with ES magazine, to promote the launch of her upcoming book, Inside Vogue: A Diary of my 100th Year, Shulman revealed that she’s suffered from anxiety from the age of 21.

Following “several episodes of very bad anxiety,” she says she began taking medication.

Although today she says things aren’t as bad, her experience has led her to always carry an emergency Xanax with her, but she says “I haven’t used it for quite a long time.”

The editor says that many people “feel bad about admitting [to anxiety].”

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Alexandra Shulman, Victoria Beckham and Anna Wintour

Shulman believes that medication to treat mental health issues are often overlooked, saying that, actually, “anybody who thinks it is wrong is not giving themselves a chance,” because in her experience, “drugs to treat anxiety and depression are absolutely invaluable.”

Describing herself as “more Bridget Jones than Anna Wintour,” Shulman admits to an evening routine of a glass of wine and “between two to four roll-ups” every night, to help her wind down.


Read more: How to recognise anxiety and cope with it


The Vogue editor also spoke openly in the interview about her bug bears in the fashion industry – most notably that some British designers choose to show in Paris and not London – including Stella McCartney, Sarah Burton and Victoria Beckham.

“It would be so fantastic,” she says, “and I don’t’ really understand why they don’t.”

Shulman says she has broached the topic with Beckham, to no avail, going on to say that the decision is wrapped up in what she refers to as “Brand Beckham”.

“That’s a strong-worked image,” she says. “They all contribute, it’s unbelievable. It’s like the royal family: it’s a machine isn’t it? They’re all in there. Even Harper is now adding to the lustre of the Beckhams. She’s only four.”

If you struggle with anxiety, contact Mind, the mental health charity, here.

Images: Rex Features

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