Solenn Heussaff opens up about being bullied in the past, crash diets, and body image

MANILA, Philippines – In between photos of her friends, projects, and food, Solenn Heussaff's social media accounts are peppered with videos and photos of her working out.

It's no surprise – aside from acting, modeling, and hosting, Solenn is known for her great figure and healthy lifestyle.

But it wasn't always that way, she said, and at 31, she's come a long way from being bullied for her weight and getting hospitalized for crash dieting when she was 13.

At the launch of her book, Hot Sos, Solenn told some members of the press about her struggles with weight in her early years.

With my fitspos :) @nicobolzico @erwanheussaff #MiloEveryday #MiloNutriUpYourGame #BuildChampions #HotSosFitClub A photo posted by Solenn Heussaff (@solennheussaff) on Jul 30, 2016 at 5:09pm PDT


She and her brother, Erwan, didn't start getting into unhealthy habits until they went to a camp at around 8 years old. "They were forcing us to finish our food kasi (because) it's not polite to leave your food on the table. So 'di ko alam, nasanay na ko nang kumain nang marami (I don't know, I just got used to eating a lot)," she recounted.

Soon, Solenn would get bullied in school: "They were calling me Free Willy in school... because I used to be very big and the boys would make fun of me, even the girls.

"So there, my parents were gone for a while, so I did a really stupid diet which I don't recommend and which kids shouldn't do but I was on eating half an apple a day."

The diet led to her getting hospitalized, and it was after that when she lost more weight and started eating smaller meals.

In her book, Solenn shared that she developed unhealthy eating habits again when she moved to Paris. It was only when she moved back to Manila that she began to excercise, thanks to her mom, who invited her to take up yoga.

Crash diets and body image

Dirty gym sesh with this annoying ab monster#HotSosFitClub A photo posted by Solenn Heussaff (@solennheussaff) on Aug 12, 2016 at 7:55pm PDT


Solenn's job also makes maintaining a healthy lifestyle difficult, because of the long hours and locations. Some shoots for movies or TV shows can last 24 hours, so Solenn finds herself snacking to keep awake or bringing chips because there's no microwave to heat up her food.

Fornthos who havent watched it yet, FLOTSAM is showing tonight at 9pm at CCP theater for Cinemalaya 12 :) #Flotsam A photo posted by Solenn Heussaff (@solennheussaff) on Aug 8, 2016 at 9:23pm PDT


She isn't perfect, and Solenn points that out in her book. Speaking to the press, she said, "[The book is] for them [the readers] to know that it's a struggle everyday. I mean, even a wrestler, there are days when they just don't want to do anything. But it's just about having that mindset of doing it [excercise] even for just 15 minutes."

Aside from her husband Nico Bolzico, feeling fit and healthy also motivates Solenn to workout regularly. Later, she added, "I've been thinner before, but I feel fitter now."

In her book, Hot Sos, Solenn also emphasized that even though she initially started being healthy and working out to look good, it's feeling good that kept her going. 

"If looking hot is what drives you to start working out, that's okay. But that can't be the only thing that keeps you going, because it's very hard to sustain. I love getting inspiration from my parents, who make me want to be as fit as they are when I'm in my 60s, and I like prioritizing how I feel on the inside. I know that if I stop exercising, I'll feel sluggish and weak, and to me, feeling strong has become more important than having abs," she wrote.

House of pain with @nicobolzico before taping! #houseofpain @cjaplyo2 #HotSosFitClub A video posted by Solenn Heussaff (@solennheussaff) on Aug 25, 2016 at 5:08pm PDT


Solenn's views on body image have changed since she was bullied as a kid, which she credits to getting older and more mature. But Solenn still gets her fair share of bashers on social media.

On fat shaming online, she says, "It's just so easy because [the critics are] behind a screen and you can't confront them. And then they're always comparing to magazine covers and they aren't real."

Her advice: "Live your own life and don't compare yourself to anyone else. Cos I could be doing the same workout as someone else and baka (maybe) it will change her body, but not mine." –

Vernise Tantuco

Vernise Tantuco is on Rappler's Research Team, fact checking suspicious claims, wrangling data, and telling stories that need to be heard.