Lioness Alessia Russo opens up about her 'low point with food'
‘Now I don’t want to be skinny, I want to be strong’: Lioness Alessia Russo opens up about her ‘low point with food and her weight’ as she graces the cover of Women’s Health UK
- READ MORE: Lioness Alessia Russo scores a fashion goal as she wows in a plunging blazer as she is named player of the year at the first ever Women’s Football Awards
England Lioness Alessia Russo is as striking on the cover of the July/August edition of Women’s Health UK as she is on the pitch.
Russo, 24, swapped her football kit for fashionable sportswear to grace the cover of the glossy magazine — and she’s never looked better.
With her toned figure and long blond hair, she looks as comfortable in front of the camera as she does showing off her skills for thousands of cheering fans, but, speaking to Women’s Health UK, Russo revealed she hasn’t always felt at ease in her body.
‘There’s a bit of a stigma because, of course, you want to compete and be the best on the pitch, but you want to look a certain way as well. As a lot of young girls [do], I wanted to be skinny and compete at that kind of level,’ she said.
At one time, Russo was tracking everything food-related on an app, but she talks freely now about how such a strategy didn’t work for her.
England Lioness Alessia Russo is as striking on the cover of the July/August edition of Women’s Health UK as she is on the pitch
‘I know some people still use [it], but…I was at a low point with my food and with my weight. I wasn’t strong enough; I wasn’t robust. I thought I looked great… but really, on the football pitch, I wasn’t strong enough to compete,’ admitted the footballer.
Focused on her sport and fully prepared to give her body all the nutrients it needs to allow her to perform as an elite athlete, Russo added: ‘[Now] my body is still a huge priority.
‘But I understand I need to eat a lot more than I thought I did at the start, and now I don’t want to be skinny, I want to be strong. Food plays a huge part in how you feel and how your body reacts.’
Photographed in Adidas’s brightly-coloured sportswear Russo revealed that she isn’t afraid of letting her girly personality show when she’s off the pitch.
‘I’m into make-up, I like getting my nails done, my hair done…you could ask male footballers the same thing: they like to get dressed up and, get their hair cut all the time,’ she said.
‘Just because we play a sport that’s aggressive and contact [that] doesn’t mean we don’t like to pamper ourselves…[I’m] an athlete, but I’m also a young girl who likes to engage in that side of it as well.
Russo, 24, swapped her football kit for fashionable sportswear to grace the cover of the glossy magazine — and she’s never looked better
With her toned figure and long blond hair, Russo looks as comfortable in front of the camera as she does on the pitch
‘Some girls do it with their clothes…everyone has their own little ways to express yourself outside of football.’
Part of the England team that won the UEFA Women’s Championship last summer, Russo, 24, was named player of the year at the first ever Women’s Football Awards last month, prompting some commentators to ask if she’s going to pursue the captaincy next season.
Russo, however, isn’t making any promises: ‘I don’t know if I’m ever going to be a leader in the sense of a captain.
‘But I think I can lead in other ways, whether that’s leading from the front, leading in my actions, in how I train, how I play, I’m not the most vocal person; I like to just do things instead.’
Russo is excited for the upcoming World Cup but refuses to be complacent, instead insisting that the current high standard of the women’s game will only make it more interesting
When it comes to achieving gender equality in football, Russo has no doubts about working together with other players and teams
Russo’s interview with Women’s Health UK is wide-ranging, spanning the country’s chances at the World Cup, the importance of working together to achieve gender equality in football and the progress that has already been made in raising the profile of the women’s game.
When it comes to the state of women’s football, she isn’t shy about saying she feels optimistic, especially since more money is now going into the women’s game.
England Lioness and star striker Alessia Russo, 24, graces the cover of the July/August edition of Women’s Health UK
That’s not to say there isn’t still some distance to travel though. And, ultimate success, Russo says, depends on people within the sport showing solidarity with each other.
‘We’ll always back other teams when they’re going through struggles like that; it’s not okay and it wouldn’t happen in the men’s game – so we don’t like to see it in the women’s.’
Excited about the World Cup next month, Russo is thrilled by the opportunity ‘to create more history,’ but, since ‘the [standard of the] women’s game is higher than ever’ she’s certainly not complacent
‘So, there will be lots of teams going there with that same ambition…I think that’s what’s going to make it such a great tournament,’ the top striker said.
- The full Alessia Russo interview can be read in the July/Aug issue of Women’s Health UK, on sale now.
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