Modeling Scouts Recruiting Patients at Anorexia Clinic for the Runway

 

Just when we though that things were turning around for the modeling industry in the fight against eating disorders comes news of modeling scouts trying to recruit patients with anorexia for the runway.

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Modeling scouts are recruiting at eating disorder clinics. We aren’t making this up.

Photo by YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images

Modeling scouts have been gathering outside of Sweden’s largest eating disorder clinic, trying to lure critically thin patients onto the runway.

Let me type that again, with annotations. Modeling scouts—known for weighing young girls in public like cattle and targeting down-and-out families, but perhaps not for exploiting the life-threatening delusions of sick teenagers—were gathering—in the plural, so more than one person thought this was okay—outside of Sweden’s largest eating disorder clinic. They were there to recruit anorexic girls to their agencies, because where else would you search for perilously skinny young women who are unlikely to put on weight? Anna-Maria af Sandeberg, chief doctor at the 1,700-bed Stockholm Center for Eating Disorders, told the Metro newspaper, “People have stood outside our clinic and tried to pick up our girls because they know they are very thin.” “It sends the wrong signals,” she added.

The Local reports that the clinic had to change when and where patients could take their daily walks around the grounds because girls kept getting approached. One 14-year-old was handed a business card; an agent interviewed another girl who was so emaciated that she had been confined to a wheelchair. When care coordinator Christina Lillman-Ringborg tried to explain to the scouts that her charges “suffered from a serious illness,” the article continues, quoting Lillman-Ringborg, “They claimed that they approach healthy, normally slim young people and that they never urge anyone to lose weight; that’s how they defended themselves.”

A remedial business ethics lesson: If you’re looking for “healthy, normally slim young people,” you may not want to start at a medical center designed to treat women whose low weights have resulted in their hospitalization. On the other hand, if you’re committed to “never [urging] anyone to lose weight,” collecting a stable of anorexic models is probably a good move. The eating disorder will do all the urging for you!

Of course, scouts are probably well aware of this, since up to 40 percent of models suffer from some kind of eating disorder. What’s shocking about the story is not so much what it reveals about definitions of beauty in the fashion industry—although the notion that agents are raiding hospitals for exemplars of contemporary loveliness is pretty disturbing—but how little people in the business seem to care about the health of the women who are making them rich. Or, indeed, of women in general. One-fifth of girls and women diagnosed with anorexia die a premature death. Sixty to 70 percent never fully get better. Can we even imagine how confusing and harmful it might be for an eating disordered teenager, trying to recover, to hear praise for her rail-thin frame? To hear that it might propel her into a glamorous career? Heartless, perverse, exploitative crap like that makes the world a more toxic place for all of us. So, Stockholm Center patients, if you’re reading this, sip a milkshake, enjoy your body as it returns to health, ignore those monsters outside. They wouldn’t know beauty if it bit them on the arsel.

Raphael Mazzucco Shoots in Vietnam 2012

A while ago I posted an article on one of my inspirational photographers Raphael Mazzucco shooting a GUESS campaign. It was an amazing shoot with stunning models and a great location. In this shoot Raphael becomes more connected with the models as it’s just him and her. He really has a way of communicating with the models that really make them feel comfortable just being around him. As a photographer you not only need to know how to take a great picture, but also how to work with your subject and have them put their trust in you. Vietnam offered a very tranquil yet exotic mood to the shoot. I can see him shooting the Pirelli calendar in the near future.

GUESS 2013 Spring/Summer Campaign Photoshoot in Bora Bora

GUESS spared no expense shooting for their 2013 Spring/Summer Campaign in the beautiful French Polynesian island of Bora Bora. I’m still waiting for the day a client fly’s me to shoot bikinis at an exotic location like this. GUESS chose Yu Tsai to shoot the campaign. This is the extended version of the video. Enjoy!