18-year-old model Ali Michael was on the Today show this morning, talking about her experience at the Paris shows this past February, where she was told that her legs were too fat for the runways. Last year she was a promising up-and-comer, having appeared on the cover of Teen Vogue and opened for Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel, Dior, Christian Lacroix and Galliano.
So what happened? When she was discovered, she was five-foot-nine and weighed 130 pounds. Her agent told her to lose weight and she dropped to a total of 102 pounds. After she lost that weight, she started getting noticed in the fashion industry and found runway success.
But her success came with a price.
"I was on a plane from Paris to Texas, and I ran my fingers through my hair, and when I took my hand away there was a dry brittle clump of hair in my hand. And that's kind of when I realized that this wasn't worth it anymore, and it had completely taken over."
She also said that many models suffer in the same way she does. When Ann Curry asked her if other models were sick, Ali said:
"Absolutely. I remember one instance when I was backstage at a show in Paris, and I was sitting in a group of four girls. I had mentioned to them that I hadn't had a period in over a year, and one by one all of them said, "Oh, me too."
After getting a bit healthier, she gained five pounds. When she went to Paris in February, she still was skinny enough (something is wrong with that sentence right?) to model but only Yohji Yamamoto cast her (walking with three other girls mind you, not by herself.)Five pounds and she is cast out just like that. Ali said:
"It has to change. The fashion industry affects everyone."
But who is to blame? There have been countless stories tackling these issues ever since the death of a couple of models from anorexia. Ali says:
"It's the designers."
It is very rare that a model (especially one so young who has just started her career) has come out and spoken against the fashion industry and admitted that models are sick. I hope that this encourages other models and people in the industry to speak out about these issues. (Photo: Imaxtree)