Dying to Walk Fashion Week Catwalks

Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-Chief
Last Modified: 18:03 PM EDT, 7 September 2012

Skeletal ModelNEW YORK CITY, New York – Once again attention is being focused on professional models and their struggles with body dysmorphia, bulimia, and anorexia. To be fair the initial push for models to strive to become ever thinner was driven by an industry that desired to use them in the truest sense as mannequins versus actual human beings.

The women in the modeling industry are no longer emblematic of anything that most American women, indeed most women globally, could hope or want to achieve. The industry has strayed so far from functional fashion as to inhabit the milieu of performance art. The complicit victims of this macabre dance are the girls and women who model in a fiercely competitive industry which demands that they achieve a size “0” in order to grace the runways of the fashions centers of the world.

Unfortunately, the diet methods used by women who are 5’8” to 6’0” ft. (176 cm to 183 cm) tall is appalling and extreme by any measure. Diet regimes include excessive use of laxatives; self-induced vomiting (bulimia), extreme caloric restrictive diets including those that eliminate all forms of carbohydrates which sometimes leads to (anorexia), and using medication prescribed for ADD/ADHD because it is an amphetamine that also suppresses the appetite.

Then, there are some who try more drastic measures such as consuming illegal street drugs such as speed and cocaine, and more recently hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), a hormone found in the urine of pregnant women. This product has not been approved by the FDA which has issued warning to manufacturers against its sale and use.

There have been a number of high-profile deaths over the years. In 2006, Brazilian model Ana Carolina Reston, 21, died of anorexia on the eve of a Paris photo shoot after existing on a diet of apples and tomatoes.’ (Source: Daily Mail UK).  In 2007 ‘Uruguanian model Luisel Ramos, 20, died of complications from anorexia. ‘Her sister Eliana Ramos, 18, also an anorexic model, died three months later from malnutrition.

All three had a  Body Mass Index (BMI) under 18, which is severely underweight, though this has been set by the industry as a minimum threshold. The World Health Organization considers a BMI of 16 to be starvation. Most recently, British model Bethany Wallace, 19, suffered heart failure in May 2012 after succumbing to anorexia and bulimia. (Source: The Sun UK)

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About Ayanna Nahmias

Ayanna Nahmias was interviewed on Radio Netherlands Worldwide program titled 'The State We’re In,' about her life in Africa and her determination to transcend her past. She started the Nahmias Cipher Report to provide information to readers about life in emerging economies, and to provide alternative insight into the challenges faced by women and children living in these countries. The blog features stories from around the world to inspire other people to persevere and triumph in the face of great adversity. She blogs about current events in emerging economies, international politics, human rights abuses, women’s rights and child advocacy.

View all posts by Ayanna Nahmias

11 Comments on “Dying to Walk Fashion Week Catwalks”

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