Kylie Bisutti made headlines last year when she decided to hand in her Victoria's Secret Angel wings to pursue a more Christian lifestyle. In her new tell-all book I'm No Angel, however, she reveals another dark side of the modeling industry: the pressure to stay thin at any cost.
After winning a Victoria's Secret model search in 2009, the 23-year-old gained entry to the exclusive world of fashion, but she soon discovered the harsh reality when she was expected to shed even more weight from her already-thin frame. In an interview with the New York Post, she reveals:
I pretty much restricted my diet to oatmeal, fruits and vegetables to meet runway expectations. I’m 5-foot-10, and I got down to 115 pounds with measurements of 34-24-34. In February 2007, New York Fashion Week was approaching, and while everyone I knew was being sent out to auditions, I wasn’t. "Why am I still going on test shoots?" I asked my agent. "It’s because you look like a fat cow right now, Kylie. You need to lose 2 inches off of your hips," the agent said. After cutting my diet even further to just pineapples, watermelon and liters of water while exercising two hours a day, six days a week, I finally dropped down to 108 pounds, which satisfied my agent, and the gigs started rolling in.
As horrifying as this sounds, this type of behavior isn't abnormal for models. In fact, some women like Crystal Renn and Robyn Lawley leave the cutthroat world of straight-size modeling to become healthy, successful plus-size models. But not everyone breaks free so easily. Bisutti's description of a fellow model tells a darker story:
I moved in with four other models on the Lower East Side. One of my roommates was so bulimic she would involuntarily throw up when she ate. She would go to sleep crying every night and just look at herself in the mirror thinking that she was so fat. And she was so thin.
The fashion industry has tried to rectify these damaging standards by signing on to efforts like Vogue's Health Initiative and the Equity Model Code Of Conduct and by banning underweight models and excessive airbrushing. But it appears there hasn't been a considerable shift in the prevailing beauty ideal. In fact, many fashion designers like Karl Lagerfeld deny that the problem even exists.
Do Bisutti's anecdotes come as a surprise to you? And do you think something needs to be done about the rampant weight loss issues in the modeling industry? Sound off in the comments!
I'm No Angel will be available for purchase in May 2013.
Some inspirational ladies:
Want more? Be sure to check out HuffPost Style on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram at @HuffPostStyle.
Do you have a style story idea or tip? Email us at email@example.com. (PR pitches sent to this address will be ignored.)