Photo: AllVoices

American model Amber Valletta has opened up on her struggle with addiction which she says began from a very young age. The model has had a very successful career, but admits that during the height of her fame, she was often drunk and/or high. She says that aged 18, when she moved to Europe to follow her career, she was given as much drugs and alcohol as she wanted by those around her, which just enabled her further:

“When I was eight I started trying to get outside of myself, I sniffed markers, I sniffed glue, polish, anything that could give me a buzz. By the time I was 18 I moved to Europe and I found cocaine and alcohol and I was good to go. I was in a business where drugs and alcohol were widely acceptable, they were given to me.”

Amber admits there was a period when she was completely out of control, showing up to a very important shoot both drunk and high. She was at a point where she didn’t care about her work and didn’t realize what she was jeopardizing because of her addiction:

“I was at the top of my game, probably 20 years old, had everything in front of me and I put everything on the line for my addiction. Everything. All my friendships, my family, my job. I had a multi-million dollar deal and I showed up the first day to shoot this campaign high and drunk. I didn’t care. And that’s just to show you that addiction takes you to the worst places.”

Amber was able to seek help aged 25 and has been sober since. The model says that she does believe some elements of addiction can be genetic:

“My belief is that addiction could be in some ways environmental but I also believe that it’s genetic and I’m pre-disposed for it. Both my mum and my two grandmothers have all had breast cancer – they all survived, but I’m pre-disposed for breast cancer and I need to be vigilant. I believe it’s the same with drugs and alcohol or any kind of addiction. Once you feed the monster, there’s a switch and it takes hold.”