Salt from Salt-N-Pepa had bulimia

Cheryl “Salt” James
Cheryl “Salt” James Image credit:

Any music fan around in the late 80s/ early 90s will be familiar Salt-N-Pepa, the female rap group who add a touch of flavour to our school discos.

This week the band’s biopic, Lifetime, premiered on the Lifetime channel in the US documenting how Cheryl “Salt” James, Sandra “Pepa” Denton and Dee Dee “DJ Spinderlla” dominated the charts with hits such as “Let’s Talk About Sex”, “Whatta Man” and “Push It”.

As well as her music career the film covers Cheryl’s eating disorder which she was suffering from at the peak of her success.

Behind the scene the singer was struggling with bulimia, the condition became so severe Cheryl was forced to take a break from the limelight.

She told USA Today: "It was just difficult, because I felt the pressure of being beautiful and being thin and, you know, satisfying the record company. So, I had to take a break, because fame can be traumatizing."

The first time Cheryl realised she had a problem was when she went out for pancakes, whilst in the restaurant she left her friend at the table, went to the bathroom and made herself sick.

She told “I remember feeling euphoric, satisfied and relieved afterward.”

Comparing herself with the rest of the band Cheryl said: “I felt like the least pretty one. Dee Dee was called the beautiful one, Pepa the super sexy one. What am I?”

To hide her disorder Cheryl kept her weight at 115 pounds, but she says nobody was concerned she was “too” thin.

In order to punish herself she would eat junk food such as pizza, chips and cake, but it wasn’t until she told somebody the pain she was going through when she was able to find support she needed.

That person was her then boyfriend and producer, Gavin Wray, who took Cheryl to a therapist. Eventually she was able to open up.

For me, the bulimia was about stuffing my emotions. So I stopped suppressing my feelings," she said.

For more information on Salt-N-Pepa visit their website.