Countries like France, Israel, and Italy have banned too-skinny models from walking the runway, claiming they promote eating disorders in the general public. Companies that hire models who go under a certain body mass index have to pay hefty fines.
But it seems like some models are going to extremes to get around the new laws. Nowadays, they’re almost like boxers or wrestlers, who sometimes drink lots of water or run around the block a few times to squeak into certain weight classes.
The New York Observer spoke with a model whom they call Lauren, who worked during Spain’s Fashion Week. Spain has a similar law mandating models weigh a minimum amount. “They gave us Spanx underwear to stuff with weighted sandbags so the thinnest of girls had a ‘healthy’ weight on the scales,” Lauren said. “I even saw them put weights in their hair.”
Some models say the pressure to weigh a certain amount is unfair, as many of them are naturally thin and young, with fast metabolisms. Plus, the BMI measurement can sometimes backfire, since you can be technically overweight or underweight on that scale and still be healthy. “Bodies naturally come in all shapes and sizes, thin and otherwise,” model Lyndsey Scott told Cosmopolitan.com. “Even people with eating disorders can have a so-called healthy BMI.”
Lauren, for one, says she thinks a better solution would be to ban models under 18. That way, working conditions would get better and, perhaps, adult women would stop looking at teenagers as a beauty ideal. But wouldn’t a few craftier models get around that, too?