I’m going to forgive New York magazine’s lazy title tag (The Unbearable Thinness of Being a Model) because the story is a compelling read.
Writer Emily Nussbaum jumps into the skinny-model debate, and for much of the story, it’s more of the same (Natalia Vodianova’s panel speech, models dying, etc.). Her approach gets more compelling, though, when she touches on the class issues involved for many of the Eastern European models:
“And [the pressure to be thin] goes double for the new breed of models, many of whom come, like Vodianova, from the poorest regions of Eastern Europe. For these girls, pressures to stay thin may be a small price to pay for escaping the small towns they came from.”
The teenage girls who come from these poor areas have very few prospects back home. Without adequate education or job opportunities, let’s face it, modeling is their only potential way out of poverty.
Put yourself in the place of one of these girls. You are 15 years old and you have the opportunity to get yourself out of a sorry situation, travel the world and maybe send some money to help your family back home. So if losing ten pounds is the difference between you being booked or not getting a dime, what are you going to do? You’re probably going to do whatever it takes to stay employed.
Outside of the fashion business, people look at these emaciated girls and condemn them for encouraging eating disorders. And yes, there are many women and girls who look at Iekeliene Stange and think, “I need to look like her.” But what they don’t see is that within the industry, these girls aren’t trying to be thin so they can turn some Iowan farmgirl into an anorexic; they’re trying to be thin to keep getting work.
The whole idea of taking a stage name or a nom de plume is to have anonymity, right? So it’s a little perplexing that Marie de Villepin (daughter of French PM Dominique de Villepin) would agree to be interviewed by the Times just to talk about… her fake name. “Nobody knows my real name,” she says. Right. Nobody but anybody who can read a newspaper. Marie Steiss, you are the Tori Spelling of modeling!
America’s Next Top Model is such a fun, stupid show. It’s alternately hilarious and sad to see how these girls–all too old to begin a career in modeling–seem to believe that participating in reality TV will launch their stardom. Part of my job involves hiring models, and these girls? Would not work for my shoots.
But just when I thought ANTM was amazing enough, I discover this: Livejournal’s Next Top Model. How meta. For LJNTM, would-be models have to do a photo shoot each week, submit it to the judges, and then survive the critique. And then they win fabulous prizes such as jpeg banners.
My favorite part of all of this is not the photographs, which are sometimes creative and generally kind of endearing/sad. No, I love the judges, who clearly take their duties seriously:
- “Before your shoot, I’d never heard of breast cancer detecting dogs.”
- “Show some emotion, and losen up a bit. This is all in fun, right? Also, please get off that bed.”
- “Remember to be mindfull of your nostrils.”
- “It’s not flattering when your mouth is hanging wide open.”
- “These are supposed to be beauty shots, not emo shots.”
So much fun!
The Telegraph reports that Ukraine-born Milla Jovovich may design a collection for Spanish fashion chain Mango. This is great news for those of us who dig Milla’s excellent Jovovich-Hawk collection but can’t afford the crazy prices. Considering that Milla and Kate Moss are now designing their own cheap-chic lines, can other models be far off? And how will their look translate to women who aren’t, say, reed-thin and intimidatingly beautiful? We shall see.