What started out as a simple and relaxing afternoon shopping with her mom, became a nightmarish turning point for 18-year-old French high school student Victoire Macon Dauxerre.
While they were out, Victoire was “discovered.” A modeling agency rep approached her and suddenly her dream of studying at a prestigious Paris university called Sciences Po, was sidelined, and the glamour and glitz of modeling took over. She ended up signing with the Elite modeling agency. After all, wasn’t this the dream that every teenage girl has? But things ended up going completely downhill from this point on.
It was a new world. She quickly found out that once you were in, you had to get thin. Victorie recounts how shocked she was when she realized what the game was really all about. She says, “nobody told me I had to lose weight. But I was told: in September, you’ll be doing the Fashion Weeks, the clothes are size 32-34, and you’ll have to fit in them.”
Victoire was a hard worker and devoted at what she did. So she went ahead and in 2 months she lost the 22 pounds necessary to get in the cloths. The diet she used to shed all of the weight? It was 3 apples a day and sparkling water to help her feel full. Once a week she gave herself a cheat meal which consisted of a piece of chicken or fish.
And her diet worked. Even though she was tall at 5 foot 10 inches, her weight was down to 103 pounds. She was immediately booked for back-to-back haute couture shows in Paris, Milan and New York! She was working for some of the most popular brands such as Alexander McQueen and Miu Miu. She soon became of the the 20 most in-demand models for work.
Underneath the designer clothing and behind the glamour magazine covers, existed a young woman who was severely anorexic. Victoire describes her side effects: “My pulse was very weak, I was losing my hair, I had osteoporosis, and I stopped having my period.” On top of that she was actually fainting between fashion shows.
The frustrating part to this whole game was the complete contradiction that exists within this sick world in which Victoria was embedded. It turns out, despite wanting her wafer thin, they would actually manipulate many of her photos and add a little weight where they wanted. She describes the confusing aspect of the whole ordeal: “They added weight to my thighs and cheeks. The girls working there today will probably say I’m lying. They can’t say anything if they want to continue.” One trick the models would use to silence the critics, was to openly eat snacks right in front of journalists. Of course once the journalists left the room, many of the girls would enter the bathroom, and vomit up their snacks.
What a way to enter adulthood. She suddenly felt completely lost, depressed and distressed. Bulimia set in and at this point she only saw one way out – suicide. She attempted to kill herself after 8 months of modeling hell. “Nobody understood. Everybody was telling me, ‘You have a dream life,’ but I’d never been so miserable,” she says.
She ended her modeling career and has now, at 23, published a tell-all, insider book called, “Never Skinny Enough. Diary of a Top Model.” In the book she calls out the celebrated designers who in reality are nothing more than abusive individuals who treat models like coat hangers. Here’s what she says about one such winner: “Karl Lagerfeld says, ‘a Chanel suit doesn’t fit a woman with breasts.’ But women have breasts by definition. Why doesn’t he just make a suit that fits women?!?”
And her story is making an impact. A new law was inspired because of Victoire. The law forbids models who are too skinny from working. She advises young wannabe teenage models to run in the other direction if anyone ever asks them to lose weight. Victoire survived her ordeal as a pro model and now is a more appropriate weight for her height, wearing a size 6, which she hopes to proudly display on a stage. But this time on a theatrical stage as opposed to the unforgiving modeling stage.
Very few models even dare to speak up. Many are clearly controlled and manipulated, accepting the behavior of achieving and maintaining a ridiculous weight, while never daring to reveal the actual behind the scenes which goes on in this abusive industry. Please share this young woman’s story with friends and family to spread the message so that more guidelines can be put in place to prevent this kind of abuse from happening.