The pressure to be thin
“There were bags of vomit everywhere” – Joni Harbeck, Model
As a woman, the pressure to be thin is intense; as a model, the pressure is overwhelming. The fact of the matter is that in the modeling world “thin is in.” Designers do not make clothes to fit the model; models are forced to fit the designer. What exactly does the perfect model look like? According to most modeling agencies, she has no larger than a 34-inch hip and is 5-foot- 10 or 5-foot- 11. According to Jennifer Mangan, president of Exposure modeling agency, girls that fit these measurements may have a “skeletal” build. However, “skeletal” does not do justice to the condition some of these girls are in. After two South African models recently died of complications related to anorexia, the consequences of being too thin are being realized by the international modeling community. The fact is that eating disorders can be fatal, if nothing else, “extremely harmful” with “long-term effects.” If you or someone that you know is suffering from an eating disorder seek professional help before it is too late. The following is an excerpt of an article that outlines the current dilemma of eating disorders in the world of modeling:
When Joni Harbeck left Kansas to pursue a modeling career in New York she was 18 years old, 5-foot-11 tall and weighed 145 pounds.
She quickly got a strong message: Lose weight.
Once she was down 20 pounds, she was mainstreamed into the usual budding model routine. She was sent to Milan to build up her photo book before returning to New York and living in an East Village apartment with other models.
There she saw signs of a disturbing reality of the modeling industry. She found evidence that two models suffered bulimia, an eating disorder in which people binge on food and purge.
“There were bags of vomit everywhere,” says Harbeck, who now does New York fashion runway and photography work.
Harbeck’s experience points to a tragic side of a glamorous profession. Catwalk models are thin. Some, of course, are naturally small because they are young, 15 or 16 years old, and not yet developed.