POP INTERVIEW: Brian Cuban Talks To Katie Couric About Being A Man With An Eating Disorder

With his appearance on a national US TV show, he will no longer be the "brother of..." someone or the guy who was picked on in school. Cuban will be a role model to other men who have the same problems right now. His book is one of the rare reads where you really relate to the person no matter what walk of life you come from.

Shattered Image author Brian Cuban just appeared on Katie Couric’s talk program, Katie. Appearing on a special themed episode with Demi Lovato, Cuban talked about being a man with an eating disorder.

With his appearance on a national US TV show, he will no longer be the “brother of…” someone or the guy who was picked on in school. Cuban will be a role model to other men who have the same problems right now. His book is one of the rare reads where you really relate to the person no matter what walk of life you come from.

brian runway

How did the audience react to you? Did you talk with them between filming?
It was great! Katie was very professional and a great interview. She let me talk and gave me free range to elaborate when needed. She is a class act. I never really even focused in on the audience so I don’t know how they reacted. I was looking at Katie focused in on the questions she was asking me. I had a sense that there was an audience but totally zoned that out when I sat down. There was really no opportunity to speak with them. It was three segments shot back to back so it was very busy.

Did you get to do anything else exciting or meet interesting people on your last trip to NYC? Demi Lovato, right?
Demi Lovato was part of the eating disorder series but was not at my shoot. I was told she was shooting the next day due to scheduling issues. I met very interesting people. Author Susan Barry, who lost her son to anorexia, as well as Dr. Theodore E. Weltzin, who is a renowned expert on male eating disorders. I did not get to do anything else. It was a really quick trip. They bring you in the evening before, you pack up your luggage and head over with it to the studio the next morning. When it’s over your luggage is there waiting and a driver takes you back to the airport. Other than going to the shoot, I never left my hotel. I travel pretty regularly to NYC, so not getting to do anything that trip was no big deal.

Are people still surprised that men can suffer from eating disorders and self esteem issues? And who is more in denial of this: men or women?
Not suprised at all. Our society places so much emphasis on body image and physical perfection. Men are not immune. I suspect even Clint Eastwood has fat days. The pressure is much more intense media wise than when I was growing up way before Al Gore invented the Internet. (That’s a joke.) There were no airbrushed digital images back then There were only three television stations.

Have you spoken at any schools since your book came out?
Yes, I speak regularly to high schools about the effects of bullying.

brian cuban

How are you going to inspire young people by telling your true story beyond the book? I hate to say this…not everyone in high school reads outside of class.
Just word of mouth. All I can do is just keep spreading the word that those suffering are not alone and there is hope for recovery through speaking, media and my book. It’s one person at a time. Hopefully, as more an more people realize that there is no shame in stepping forward and admitting these issues publicly or privately in treatment, we will one day reach a critical mass where men’s body image issues and eating disorders will be as mainstream as women’s. This will result in more realistic media portrayal, better insurance coverage and a more extensive national conversation .

Do you have to make an effort every day to be healthy?
Absoutely. I still have unthealthy thoughts. I just process them differently. It took many hours in a shrink’s office and dealing with the shame of my childhood to get there. Recovery is a process even now. there is good days and bad days. I just try to keep the forward motion going. :o)

What is the best way to cope with bullying?
By addressing it proactively and not simply coping with it. Our children have to be taught by example how to respond appropriate to bullies within their genetic/psychological predispositions. Two of the keys are compassion and voice. We should teach our children to have compassion for others and have a voice for those who are bullied. It’s ok to say that’s not ok. It all starts at home.

How can someone prevent becoming a bully or bullying back the person who is mean to you?
I’m not sure what that means but I will take a stab. I don’t think children make conscious choices to “become bullies” There can be many reasons for it. I became a terrible bully at a point in my life. In my case it was a self defense mechanism from being bullied severely as a child over my weight and as a means of acceptance in my mind. If I became the bully first then not only would I not get bullied again but I would be accepted by the cool kids who bullied me. It of course does not work like that. I wasn’t accepted and it made me only feel worse about myself. I think that instilling compassion and voice as well as a good sense of self in our children is a good start in providing them the framework to not become a bully.

Since I met you, you’ve gotten on a national daytime talk show and received plenty of positive reviews on your book. What next? Are you hitting up Rodeo Drive with Paris Hilton, as seen in People Magazine? Are you still going to talk to me when you get a Hollywood Walk of Fame star?
Nah. I am a homebody. Most days are spent hanging out at home with my girlfriend, my dog Peanut and cat Useless. I left all that party and “be-seen” stuff behind when I left the drugs and alcohol behind. I’ve learned to be who I really am: Boring Brian hanging out at home. You seem cool. I’d hang out at Starbucks. :o)

Nicole Russin aka. Richárde

Nicole Russin, also known as her alter ego Richárde, is a bestselling chef, experienced print journalist and beauty/editorial model. You may visit her official website at NicoleRussin.com.

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