If Sunday night’s episode of Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes taught us anything, it’s that “being beautiful can be very bad for your health”.
A segment about the real life of a runway model cast a light on the insidious eating disorders that are tearing young women apart, one by one.
French model Victoire Macon Dauxerre, 24, was once listed in the top 20 models worldwide. After being discovered window shopping on a street in Paris some seven years ago, the 5 ft 10 teen was dubbed the “next Claudia Schiffer”. A size 8, she weighed a tiny 58 kilograms, but was still told to trim down.
"They never old me 'You're too fat', or 'You're overweight'," she told host Tara Brown. "They took the measurements around my hips and I was 92 centimetres, and they told me 'You have to be under 90'. Then they wrote 87cms on my comp card, so I had to lose two sizes of clothes in two months."
Desperate to meet her agent's ludicrous demands, Dauxerre deprived her body of food almost completely. In her own words: "I actually literally stopped eating... I ate three apples a day."
"I had osteoporosis, a skeleton of a 70-year-old woman. I lost my hair, some girls actually lose their teeth. You don’t have menstruations anymore. Some of my friends can’t have babies now," she said.
By the time she reached her agent's goal measurement - an American size zero, or an Australian size four, Dauxerre was in the throes of anorexia. Within eight months of being in the industry, she attempted to take her own life.
"I just wanted to kill the loneliness and I didn't want to suffer anymore, and I woke up in the hospital the day after," she said.
So, why is such extreme thinness championed by fashion designers? Dauxerre, who has since written a novel about her time as a model, believes it's because fashion is dominated by male designers and agents, who want to "kill femininity" and "hate women".