SUNDAY TIMES - #DearNYFW: Models' horror stories serve as a warning against unrealistic body images
Sunday Times Lifestyle By Lucy Rahim, 2017-02-16 11:52:25.0

#DearNYFW: Models' horror stories serve as a warning against unrealistic body images

In her #DearNYFW open letter posted on Instagram, model Audra Callo wrote "I will never forget being hospitalized after a terrible bout of food poisoning that sent my body into ketosis. My bookers relished and told me I looked amazing. More than ever we need to support each other EMOTIONALLY and send a message that all shapes/sizes/ethnicities are to be celebrated!"
Image: @audracallo via Instagram

With New York Fashion Week ending today, hundreds of US models have joined a social media campaign targeting the industry's "unhealthy attitudes" towards their body shape.

Working with the Model Alliance and the National Eating Disorders Association, models are signing an open letter to the US fashion industry, encouraging them to "prioritise health and celebrate diversity" on the runway.

The campaign, which is being shared across social media platforms, refers to a recent study from the International Journal of Eating Disorders, which surveyed young models and revealed their widespread adoption of unhealthy eating practices in order to be more successful professionally.

Of the 85 models involved in the survey, 81% were underweight, and 65% said that they had been told to lose weight by their agents. More than 70% had dieted, and more than half had skipped meals or fasted.

The open letter highlights that eating disorders have the highest mortality rates of any mental illness, and can cause "irreversible damage" to sufferers.

Using the hashtag #dearNYFW, models are now sharing stories of the pressure they claim to have been put under by agencies to continually slim down, even when they are already underweight.

On Instagram, Brooklyn-based model Hartje Andresen wrote that at her most successful point in her career ("when I had my weight down to nearly 100 lbs [and] my hip circumference finally measured 34 inches") she started breaking ribs when she exercised.

She was so underweight that her bone density had been affected.

Others speak of impossible diets and the detrimental impact their work had on their mental health.

#DearNYFW follows previous campaigns led by plus-sized models and others in a bid to create a healthier working environment for women on the catwalk, and to change attitudes towards female body image. - The Daily Telegraph

This article was originally published in The Times.