Actress Alexa Penavega spent years struggling with an eating disorder as she attempted to slim down for movie roles.
The Spy Kids star was given the task of learning a routine to accompany Ed Sheeran's Make It Rain, a track about getting through a difficult personal struggle, for a performance on TV series Dancing with the Stars.
Her dance partner and choreographer Mark Ballas decided to use Alexa's personal experiences as the basis for the routine after hearing her speak about her eating disorder for the first time.
"The song kinda hit home for me because it reminded me a lot of something I went through," Alexa says. "I remember I was shooting this movie, and the producers kept telling me, 'You are too fat.' As a child you don't really know how to handle that kind of pressure. So from that moment for the next six years of my life, I had an eating disorder. I struggled with bulimia for so long.
"Even though I got through it, I feel like a lot of my insecurities still with my body are from that."
Alexa goes on to reveal she spent a long time hiding her secret, but now feels it is the right time to be honest as she hopes her admission with help others struggling with similar conditions.
"This was a part of my life that I was always so afraid of people finding out. But I knew that at some point I would talk about it because I wanted to help people."
The dance routine, which Alexa called "very vulnerable and intense," won over the judges during Monday night's (09Nov15) episode, but her perfect score of 30 was not enough to put her through to next week's (16Nov15) semi-finals, as she was eliminated from competition.