“Scouted” on the New York Times

The New York Times OpDoc on model scouts, “Scouted,” is now available to watch! Watch below and read more here:

In Memorium

by Rachel Blais for RQASF. For this post in French, click here.

Sometimes, it is only through suffering that one becomes conscious of the extant of existing issues. These 30 beautiful young people have all passed away between 2001 and the present day, either from an eating disorder, a drug overdose or suicide.

These deceased models have three commonalities; death at an early age, cause of death being self-destruction and they were all models. The deaths of famous models don’t go unannounced. For others, their families decided to speak out to the press. But how many of these tragic deaths have gone unnoticed?

I have experience in the modeling industry and have seen its destructive nature on models. Throughout my 10 years as an international fashion model I have witnessed and heard terrible stories from my fellow models. However, there are always two sides to a story. I would not write about the positive aspects of the fashion industry because it is what goes on behind closed doors that must be exposed.

The fashion industry is very good at solely flaunting its glamorous side. While the media constantly glamorizes one side, the other side is kept in the dark. This dark side needs to be brought to light out of respect for those who have perished, for those who are currently immersed in the fashion industry and for those who dream of becoming a model. Those who defend the fashion industry claim that there are numerous problems within it, just as there are problems in every industry.

True, however I am talking about a business that hires young females to work and travel abroad. The vast majority of these young females are thrown into a fast paced lifestyle before even reaching adulthood. The fashion industry defends itself by saying fashion is art and that one should not impede on an artist’s creativity. Nevertheless, art as it may be, is it really up to these young female models to pay the price? And if the work in centered on selling a product, can it really be called art?

Young models, many under the age of 18, are sent all around the world and find themselves in unfamiliar territory. Of course they make many new acquaintances, some that develop into friendships but do these new relationships provide the support they need to go through adolescence? My experience has told me no. Without the support of their families, young models can only do their best. When confronted with different choices many models fall into situations that cause a lot of pain. There are many evident risks for models who start modeling at a young age.

Natasha Duncan, United States, 2001, 21, Suicide
Elisa Bridges, United States, 2002, 28, Drug overdose
Nafisa Joseph, India, 2004, 25, Suicide
Brian Bianchini, United States, 2004, 25, Suicide
Luisel Ramos,Uruguay, 2006, 22, Anorexia nervosa
Kuljeet Randhawa, India, 2006, 30, Suicide
Ana Carolina Reston, Brazil, 2006, 21, Anorexia nervosa
Katy French, Ireland, 2007, 24, Drug overdose
Hila Elmalich, Israel, 2007, 33, Anorexia nervosa
Eliana Ramos, Uruguay, 2007, 18, Anorexia nervosa
Randy Johnston, United States, 2008, 20, Drug overdose
Hayley Marie Kohle, Canada, 2008, 26, Suicide
Ruslana Korshunova, Kazakhstan, 2008, 20, Suicide
Erin Spanevello, Canada, 2008, 21, Drug overdose
Lucy Gordon, United Kingdom, 2009, 28, Suicide
Daul Kim, South Korea, 2009, 20, Suicide
Woo Seung-yeon, South Korea, 2009, 25, Suicide
Tiffany Simelane, Swaziland, 2009, 21, Suicide
Viveka Babajee, Mauritius, 2010, 37, Suicide
Isabelle Caro, France, 2010, 28, Anorexia related
Filip Kapisoda, Montenegro, 2010, 22, Suicide
Lina Marulanda, Colombia, 2010, 29, Suicide
Tom Nicon, France, 2010, 22, Suicide
Ambrose Olsen, United States, 2010, 24, Suicide
Cibele Dorsa, Brazil, 2011, 36, Suicide
Gabby Joseph, United Kingdom, 2011, 16, Suicide
Yu-ri Kim, South Korea, 2011, 22, Suicide
Miyu Uehara, Japan, 2011, 24, Suicide
Jeniffer Viturino, Brazil, 2011, 17, Suicide
Claudia Boerner, Germany, 2012, 32, Suicide
Brittany Wallace, United Kingdom, 2012, 19, Anorexia related