The Australian Women’s Weekly interview Belle Gibson
FRESH-FACED. Earnest. Naive. When Belle Gibson speaks, she cries easily and muddles her words. She’s passionate about avoiding gluten, dairy and coffee, but doesn’t really understand how cancer works. All of which begs the question: is this young woman really capable of masterminding one of the biggest hoaxes in recent history?
This is the pretty 23-year-old who convinced millions of people she was miraculously healing her terminal brain cancer through healthy eating and natural therapies. The mother-of-one’s “inspirational” story was going global – with her wellness app, The Whole Pantry, handpicked by US giant Apple for its new smartwatch and her cookbook scheduled for release in America and the UK – when it all began to unravel.
Surely, you might assume, this is evidence of someone with street smarts? Former friends take it further, dubbing her “manipulative”, “a sociopath” and “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”. The truth, however, is more complicated.
In two lengthy interviews with The Weekly this month, it seems that sometimes even Belle is unsure where the truth ends and the fantasy begins.
“I am still jumping between what I think I know and what is reality,” she tells The Weekly. “I have lived it and I’m not really there yet.”
There is no question that Belle Gibson is troubled, but this is not about cancer. Talking to medical specialists, The Weekly acknowledges Belle could be a vulnerable woman dealing with a psychological disorder such as Munchausen syndrome or factitious disorder.
Without downplaying the culpability of Belle, she is not the only one to blame. Big business quickly cashed in on her sorry story. In truth, this is the tale of a girl who tapped into the flourishing yet unregulated world of alternative wellness, where beautiful people with glossy hair sip on green smoothies, and relished the limelight. One of the most troubling aspects of Belle’s response is that she appears to have little empathy. When Belle cries, her tears appear to be mostly for herself.