Category Archives: Modeling

The Sea Horse Is Named Bubbles [Mermaids]

Thanks so much to everyone who has emailed, commented, or Tweeted about The Last Mermaid Show! I spent the holiday weekend at a friend’s wedding, so I’m behind on replies but I so appreciate every note. (Except the dude who wrote in to argue that “real mermaids don’t wear bikini tops!” Sort of making my point, thanks.)

And since a lot of you asked nicely…

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Girl Model: Scouted

Girl Model

Regular readers, forgive me: I know I’ve already told you about why you need to see the documentary Girl Model (like when I said that here and also here). But New York-area readers, attention: The film is currently playing at the IFC Center through next Thursday, so you should totally go. It’s provocative, heart-breaking and beautifully made, and if you don’t believe me, go read this lovely post by Kate on Eat The Damn Cake.

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Concerns From a Fitness Professional

Last month, in Why Fit is the New Thin, I explored how the “fitspiration” phenomenon can be uncomfortably reminiscent of the “thinspiration” phenomenon. They aren’t entirely identical; thinspiration is pretty much always about collecting pictures that glorify an unhealthy and unattainable standard of beauty (skinny). Fitspiration can be about motivating and empowering yourself to try rock climbing, do a handstand, run a marathon or reach some other kick-ass physical fitness goal. But it can also be about glorifying an unhealthy and unattainable standard of beauty… and because it all gets dressed up as “fitness,” the unhealthy parts can be a lot harder to pick out. I offered some guidelines that help me separate the “this makes me want to run outside and be sweaty and awesome!” stuff from the “this makes me feel like dog poo if  I can only go to the gym for 35 minutes instead of 45 minutes today.”

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Israel Bans Underweight Models — So Who’s Hiring Them? [Slate / XXfactor]

Slate XXfactor Israel Bans Underweight Models by Virginia Sole-Smith

I’m back on Slate’s XXfactor blog, with a piece about what these bans on underweight models might do to the models themselves. Of course the hope is: Allow them to keep working, now at a healthy weight. But that assumes the fashion industry will all fall neatly in line and start championing the health of their young workforce — which is pretty much the opposite of what’s happened so far anytime anyone has attempted industry reform thus far. (See Marc Jacobs refusing to check for underage models last month for the case in point.)

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Girl Model: The Prettiest (Exploited, Underage) Workforce [Slate's XX Factor]]

Slate XXfactor Girl Model Virginia Sole-SmithI already showed you the trailer, but today I’m on Slate’s XXfactor blog, talking more in-depth about Girl Model, the haunting and thought-provoking documentary premiering around the country this month. (List of screenings here.)

I’m interested to see that so far, the comment thread on that post zeroes in, yet again, on the age-old question: “Why are models so gosh-darn skinny?” There are a lot of theories about fashion being created by gay men and gay men liking a lithe, boy-like silhouette… Meh.

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Girl Model

Girl Model Trailer from Ashley Sabin on Vimeo.

As there always is during and immediately following New York Fashion Week, there’s been a lot of talk about how tough it is to be a model lately. But this year, I’m so pleased to see that the conversation seems to be pushing beyond the “OMG, eat more sandwiches!” horse that is dead and beaten. See: Leah Chernoff’s great Fashionista piece about the Model Alliance and also: Sociologist/former model Ashley Mears’ analysis of why modeling is a bad job.

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[Beauty Overheard] This Gisele Business

Gisele Perfume Ad

So last week, this happened:

[Brazilian supermodel] Gisele claims she refuses to use the product because of all the chemicals they contain to absorb UVA and UVB light.

‘I cannot put this poison on my skin,’ the 30-year-old said. ‘I do not use anything synthetic.’

As a compromise, Bundchen claims she only exposes herself to the sun before 8am when it is still too weak to do any damage.

Dermatologists and sunscreen manufacturers everywhere went wild and Gisele’s publicist scurried to do damage control.

Gisele would never say not to use sunscreen because she has had family members who have had skin cancer. She simply stated that her all-natural skin-care line does not have SPF because there is not an all natural SPF available.

But then, No More Dirty Looks noticed that over on Gisele’s blog, she’s still telling it like it is. Well, sorta. Read more…

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[Beauty Overheard] Whitney Thompson is Over Modeling.

Photo of Whitney Thomspon, Love Your Body Day

The first-ever “plus size” winner of “America’s Next Top Model” had a lot to say about modeling when my friend Sunny Gold (creator of the incredibly awesome HealthyGirl.org) interviewed her last week. Read more…

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Picture Day


Virginia Beauty U picture

It took me a few weeks to figure out about Picture Day, even though we were surrounded by evidence of it every night at Beauty U. The walls of the school’s break room and back hallways are lined with the class photos of previous years, these poster-sized grids of student headshots set against swirly blue backgrounds like spreads from a yearbook.

Maybe it was all the big hair. Maybe it was all of the feather boas and motorcycle jackets. But we just assumed that these class photos were relics from the 1980s, strange artifacts of Beauty U’s history, displayed perhaps as cautionary tales for future students against blue eyeshadow and too much cleavage.

Then Meg and I looked closer one day, and noticed that one group photo had the words, “Class of 2008.” Read more…

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[Beauty Overheard] Mario Testino is Cool With Your Eating Disorder

photo of Mario Testino

Via The Cut, here is a little loveliness from fashion photography legend Mario Testino.

I think the world has greater problems than anorexia. Fashion uses young models, it always has, and of course they’re skinny. I was skinny too at their age. Read more…

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