As Michelle Pearson lay in a hospital bed recovering from surgery, she decided to tell her story of obsession the only way she knew how — through song.

The 38-year-old’s surgery in 2022 had its origins in the singer’s childhood, when she became pre-occupied by her body image.

“I was born into a diet culture, I didn’t even realise it at the time,” she told the ABC.

“That definitely had something to do with the way I felt about my body, everyone around me was on a diet, every product in the fridge was diet.”

Pearson’s show has an underlying message against unhealthy body image.(ABC News: Che Chorley)

She was aware of how she looked by the age of six, and was told she had child bearing hips at the age of 14.

The societal pressure was too much.

“I became very obsessed with always looking slim, always looking skinny, always wanting to be skinnier than I was,” Pearson said.

By her early twenties Pearson saw no other option but to have surgery.

“I wanted to change my body and I feel like now … they sold it to me like selling a car. It was like teeth whitening.”

“It didn’t really change a lot because I didn’t really have that much weight to lose, it wasn’t necessary. But I think there’s a big industry in Australia, the world, to help people look a certain way,” she said in a break from rehearsals.

Three traumatic corrective surgeries later it was time to speak out — or sing that is.

The Glenelg-born Pearson is one of Australia’s rising stars in cabaret and has been awarded the Frank Ford Commission to produce her show Skinny for the Adelaide Cabaret Festival.

“I’m very nervous, but I’m really grateful and excited to be part of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, it’s a huge opportunity to change my career,” she said.

‘Everyone has their own Skinny’

It’s designed to be a fun show with plenty of laughs, but the underlying message against unhealthy body images is a powerful one.

“I feel really proud and I have a bit of a fire in my belly now where I feel like this needs to be told now,” she said.

“Like the more I delve into this story, the more I talk to people, the more I realise how important this message is.”

Pearson said she will feel vulnerable when the show begins.(Supplied)

Pearson said she will feel vulnerable when the show begins, but believes that by telling her life story, it will expose the dangers of unhealthy body images, especially those pushed by social media.

“I think we need to call time’s up on some of those habits, it’s that we have I think a lot of people who think other people’s bodies are our business — they’re not,” she said.

“I hope that people will listen to it and then they might actually have a bit of a healing moment for themselves in the show, I think that there’s a lot that people can relate too.”

Now its time to help others through her show.

“I want them to give themselves a break, if there’s any grief or cruelty going on within their minds, about the way they look, maybe it’s their size, maybe its their skin, everyone has their own Skinny,” she said.

Skinny is playing at the Space Theatre June 15 to 16.

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