An Open Letter to Sarah Hyland

DIRTY DANCING – Abigail Breslin, Debra Messing, Bruce Greenwood, Nicole Scherzinger, Sarah Hyland, Tony Roberts, Katey Sagal and Billy Dee Williams, along with rising stars Colt Prattes and J. Quinton Johnson, headline the stellar cast in a new adaptation of the global pop-cultural phenomenon “Dirty Dancing,” premiering WEDNESDAY, MAY 24 (8:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Guy D’Alema) via ABC Press Site

Sarah Hyland addresses the negativity surrounding her personal struggle and we can’t thank her enough!

Sarah Hyland is most well-known as Haley the eldest Dunphy daughter on ABC’s Modern Family. She can also be seen in ABC’s re-imaging of Dirty Dancing as Lisa Houseman. Preceding tonight’s much-anticipated premiere, Hyland took to her social media to address the increasingly negative comments she has received surrounding her weight.

While she does ask for privacy as she continues to navigate through her current health issues, Hyland offers a candid take on her struggle and the negative comments that precede it. For me, reading through her post, I felt like I was reading a part of my own story and I commend Hyland for her courage and candor.

On a more personal level, thank you, Sarah. From the bottom of my heart. Thank you for speaking to those who cannot fathom your struggle and for speaking up for those of us who share a similar experience. I have been there too. Thin as a wisp, bed ridden, emotionally drained and stronger than anyone could ever comprehend. I learned to smile through comments like “eat a hamburger” as if that will somehow fix all the pain and frustration that was completely out of my control.

I was judged and dismissed just as you described. And I fought against every insult, joke, and accusation of anorexia to own what I knew to be true about my own body. The obvious difference between us is that your struggle exists on a much more prolific scale whereas I could have hidden if I had wanted to. I didn’t. But I also don’t interact with half as many anonymous people as you do on an hourly basis.

So thank you for shining some much-needed light on a topic that is far too often confused and repossessed by the physical characteristics of more dominant health issues. Or even in some cases – as you also mentioned – completely mischaracterized through the adverse side effects of life-saving drugs.

I want you to know that while I know the intent of your post was to answer all the negativity in as diplomatic a way as possible, it also speaks to a small group of women who are shunted and silenced because of the assumption that the only issue that women face when it comes to weight loss is that of an eating disorder. That’s not to say that stamping out any kind of pro-anorexia rhetoric isn’t important. It’s just that, no one can ever truly know the full extent of someone’s struggle and to assume that you were promoting destructive behavior diminishes your intent to make the best of what is already a difficult situation. I hope your post inspires people to pause a moment and consider their words more carefully.

Sarah, sending lots of virtual love in your quest for wellness!



ABC’s Dirty Dancing airs tonight at 8/7 on ABC.