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France and Spain have been the first countries to ban extremely thin models. Everything is not that black and white though. Models speak about the reality behind the ban.


The BBC wrote earlier last month that France has officially banned extremely thin models from runways. Many magazines have written about this new law even though it was first introduced by Spain ten years ago. Both Spain and France require that model’s BMI needs to be 18, if it’s not they’re not able to walk on the catwalk.
The idea behind the law is good and a lot of people have been sharing news telling how great it is. Everything is not that black and white though. It is a step towards a healthier model world but at the same time, it gives these girls even more pressure because some of them can’t reach BMI 18 easily because their body structure or metabolism don’t allow it. And these girls are the naturally skinny ones.
 Model Lyndsey Scott agrees and she told Cosmopolitan why she thinks this law doesn’t solve the problem.

“I was an All-American 400m runner at 5-foot-9 and 108 pounds during college. Perfectly healthy but still way under an 18 BMI. Bodies naturally come in all shapes and sizes, thin and otherwise. Even people with eating disorders can have a so-called healthy BMI.Perhaps they should have doctors check for signs of anorexia and bulimia instead of making assumptions based on weight. Having a bunch of tall, thin, pretty, potentially healthy teenagers cram cupcakes for two weeks and fill themselves with fat injections until they’re runway-ready might sound like a great idea for a reality show, but really, is forcing some models into a thicker body type that may not be natural for them, is that the best way to solve a health problem? There has to be a better solution. It would be great if the industry would be more representative of different ethnicities and body types in general.”

What’s the reality?

In reality, there are a lot of girls who’s BMI is under 18 walking the catwalks of Madrid and Paris fashion week. Even though the governments of France and Spain would like to change the whole industry it doesn’t happen that easily. The model industry has had its requirements for decades and models won’t gain weight just to be able to walk in a couple of the shows. Some girls might be happy to lose their diet a bit but reaching BMI 18 means a lot of kilos for some of the girls.
That’s why agencies have found another way to get over the law.
“A couple of years ago I used to walk every Madrid fashion week because they paid really well. Before we (models) went to Spain our agencies asked our mother agencies how many kilos we need to achieve BMI 18.
In Madrid, we had to go to meet the doctor who checked our weight and height. Before doctor’s checks toilets were such a mess. Agents from different agencies were helping girls to put on weight belts and some of the girls also put weights into their bra.
I wore a 5kg weight belt and a really loose shirt on top of it. I was lucky because the doctor didn’t ask me to take off my clothes and be measured wearing only underwear. My roommate wasn’t that lucky. The doctor noticed her 7kg weight belt and she was asked to come back in half an hour without that belt. She drank 7 liters of water within the next 30 minutes and almost got admitted to hospital because after her doctor check she threw up for the rest of the day.”
These stories told by the models show that the effect it’s not just a positive. Instead of staring at BMI numbers authoritative, doctors and agencies should be more interested in the models’ health. Not every skinny girl is unhealthy nor can a girl with BMI 18 be healthy.
Read Elina’s blog #SCOUTINGDIARIES and follow her on Instagram @ELINAHYVOLA