Entertainment: Corrie star Harriet Bibby reveals social media impact on Summer's body image crisis

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‘Social media makes it so easy to access other people’s lives and what they do’ (Picture: ITV) © Provided by Metro ‘Social media makes it so easy to access other people’s lives and what they do’ (Picture: ITV)

‘It’s so easy to open up Instagram and see tons of different people living a life that you find yourself wanting or desiring.’

It is something we have all been able to relate to at some point; not least of all teenage girls who are confronted by edited social media posts.

And Coronation Street star Harriet Bibby is by no means a stranger to it, like anyone her age.

The actress is currently in the midst of a body image story involving her character Summer Spellman, who over the years has developed feelings of inadequacy and self loathing.

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And while the story comes to a head in a collapse next week, her descent into the grips of diabulima – a condition which involves a diabetic abusing their insulin along with taking steps of bingeing and purging to try and control their weight – is by no means sudden.

‘In a soap when things are needed to progress a story, sometimes very shocking things can happen. But this wasn’t something that could happen quickly,’ Harriet reflected during a chat with Metro.co.uk.

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Summer’s condition is secretive but this is not a new thing for the character, who has been suffering for months and even years (Picture: ITV) © Provided by Metro Summer’s condition is secretive but this is not a new thing for the character, who has been suffering for months and even years (Picture: ITV) Summer’s battle with food leaves her in situations where she feels out of control (Picture: ITV) © Provided by Metro Summer’s battle with food leaves her in situations where she feels out of control (Picture: ITV)

‘It needs to be a gradual build up of all sorts of different things piling up on top of Summer. It’s been really important to know that we’ve seen Summer when she had a crush on Daniel, we’ve seen her compare herself to Daisy which made her very conscious of her body’

She added: ‘It’s not something that’s just happened in a week. All these small, subtle hints of Summer pushing away a sandwich she doesn’t want one week, then in a couple of weeks we see her react to a comment, in a couple of weeks she compares herself to Daisy. It’s been a slow build up of these hits that she’s taking that all contribute to what’s happening.’

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The scenes have been heartbreaking and it is devastating to know that much of Summer’s state of mind has been exacerbated by the toxicity and dishonesty on social media.

‘Social media makes it so easy to access other people’s lives and what they do,’ sighed Harriet as she continued so speak honestly and passionate about the story Coronation Street is telling.

‘The thing for me is knowing that it will help someone,’ she said. ‘There’ll be a girl of Summer’s age watching the telly.

‘When I’ve spoken to people about the condition a lot of people have said that it’s very rare that you see a diabetic character represented and if you do, more often than not they get things wrong.

‘A lot of people I’ve spoken to have said they’re glad to see the representation on such a well-known show. It means a lot to a lot of people.’

You can find help and information by contacting the eating disorder charity and support network BEAT.

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