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Models, unnatural body expectations, and the modeling industry have been in highlight during the last couple weeks. Models tell me what the life really is like as a size 0.
Danish Ulrikke Hoyer, one of the most booked models at the moment, stand against casting directors and blue chip label Louis Vuitton couple weeks ago after they canceled her appearance from brand’s cruise show. Long story short, Alexia Cheval from Ashley Brokaw Casting told Ulrikke that she is too big to walk in the show and asked her agent to tell her to drink only water during the next 24 hours. That was something Ulrikke resisted to do and Louis Vuitton sent her back to Europe from Japan where the show was held.
Even though Ulrikke’s case has been noticed in different medias around the world and there have been a lot of shocked comments people tend to forget that this is the reality for a lot of the models working in New York, Paris, Milan, and London. And has been for years or decades. Modeling is not for everyone. There are a lot of beautiful girls who don’t have what it takes to be a model. Being on a diet for years because of a job is unhealthy, everyone knows that. Measurements which models need to fit are as small as bust 80 cm, waist 64 cm, and 90 cm.
One of the models I interviewed wondered if a career as a model is worth constant dieting.
“I have been working as a model for several years and I have never had problems with my measurements. I don’t have to look after what I eat, I can say that I’m lucky but so are many other girls in this industry. It’s not like every model would struggle with their measurements, there are a lot of naturally really skinny girls. If I would be in a situation that I would have to be on a diet all the time I would consider it if it’s something I really want to do.”
PARIS IS THE WORST
From all the fashion cities Paris, home of the most prestigious fashion labels, has a reputation of being the most challenging. France has been the first country to ban extremely skinny models but according to models who work in Paris, it still requires more than other fashion capitals.
“A couple of years ago I had really bad problems with my stomach due to bacteria. Everything came out as soon as I ate. I tried to eat as much as usual but because it didn’t stay in for a long I lost some centimeters, in my smallest my hips were only 86cm. My mother agency and agency in Milan told me that I’m too skinny but when I went to Paris my agent took measurements and told me that my measurements were excellent and they encouraged me to keep it like they were.”
Another model has similar stories to tell from the city of love.
“I remember that my agent once told me in Paris that I was overweight. That time my BMI was 16. Because of “extra weight” I wasn’t sent to castings. After this I the next couple weeks only ate 500kcal a day and most of the time I just had five eggs and that was all I ate in one day. Not only was my diet extreme but to make it back to the measurements I walked at least 10 kilometers every day.”
WHO IS IN RESPONSE?
Sample sizes have been the same for decades, there’s nothing new and there have always been girls who can fit them, naturally or not. It’s not agencies or model agents who decide what’s small enough. It’s the brands, customers of agencies. Ultimately it’s in the hands of models. There are a lot of girls who don’t have to fight against their body to keep their measurements but there are a lot of girls who have to.
As a part of this industry, I want to do my part and be responsible when it comes to bringing new girls in. If you’re not in measurements when you’re fifteen it won’t get easier. There are a lot of agencies which take responsibility when it comes to building modeling industry’s reputation better but unfortunately, there are a lot of agencies which don’t. That’s where individual’s decisions become more important.
Personally, I haven’t met many girls who would complain about their profession. Modeling as any other job has its requirements. I find it really annoying that mass media concentrates on telling only the negative side of the modeling industry and ignores all the positive benefits which modeling has. I don’t know that many other jobs where young girls and boys are able to travel around the world, work with legendary names from the beginning of their careers and if a models are successful they can make a lot of money before they have even turned 20 years. Modeling is so much more than just watching everything you eat and losing weight. That’s something I hope that people outside of this industry would realize.
Read Elina’s blog #SCOUTINGDIARIES and follow her on Instagram @ELINAHYVOLA