Ex-top model holds fashion world to account on anorexia

PARIS - It was the stuff of dreams: walking down a Paris street one day to walking the runway as a top 20 model in the world's fashion capital.

See Full Article

That's exactly what happened to Victoire Macon Dauxerre at 18 as she prepared to graduate from high school in 2011.

But that dream was short-lived.

In just a few months Dauxerre was battling anorexia, eating three apples a day and sipping diet colas in an effort to maintain her elite model status.

"No one actually told me you have to lose weight," she remembered. "But they said to me, 'In September, you're starting Fashion Week. Sizes will be 32-34 (2-4 US) and you'll have to be able to fit into them.'"

"That's when I should have left," Dauxerre said.

As Paris plays host to the spring summer haute couture shows, Dauxerre is warning the world about how insidious a disorder anorexia really is.

In her memoir, "Never Skinny Enough: the Diary of a Top Model" ("Jamais assez maigre: Journal d'un top model") she recounts the pressures of such high-stakes dieting.

This is not the first time that a French model has sounded the alarm on the pressure to be thin on the catwalk. After writing her own book highly critical of the fashion industry, Isabelle Caro posed for a shocking anti-anorexia billboard campaign during Milan fashion week in 2007 before dying from the disease three years later at the age of 28.

For Dauxerre, besides apples and Diet Cokes, she allowed herself one small piece of fish or chicken once a week.

A healthy 56 kilos (123 lbs) at 1.78 metres (5 feet 9 inches) when she was spotted, Dauxerre went down four dress sizes to 47 kilos (103 lbs) in just a couple of months.

She then embarked on her whirlwind career, modelling for such famed houses as Alexander McQueen, Celine and Miu Miu in Paris, New York and Milan.

Bulimic and suicidal

With her flowing brown hair and electric blue eyes, she became one of the most sought-after faces.

Eight months later, bulimic and suicidal, she quit.

"No one understood," Dauxerre said, now 23. "Everybody was telling me I had a dream life, but I had never been so miserable."

In the book, she tells of life backstage where models would nibble on food in front of cameras then race to the bathroom to throw it all up once journalists were gone.

She recalls shoots where only the photographers had catering. Dauxerre was so starved and exhausted at one point she fainted in the streets of New York during one fashion week.

"The models, they're nothing, they're just clothes hangers," Dauxerre said. "In the 1980s, elite models were real people. Today, you have to fade behind the labels."

Dauxerre's memoir comes a month after French MPs voted through a law banning ultra-thin models.

A letter by Dauxerre was read out in parliament and helped sway the vote.

The ban is only the second of its kind in the world after Israel passed similar legislation, while Spain, Italy, the UK and Denmark all have looser regulations against the practice.

Attempts at regulation have so far failed, however, in the United States and Belgium.

If the French law passes its final hurdles, models who want to work there will have to be cleared first by doctors.

Agencies who violate the law could face six months in jail and a EUR75,000 fine ($81,000).

Dauxerre applauds the ban, even though she feels it is "10 years too late." Such a measure, she said, would have clearly barred her from the runway.

"A doctor would have detected my weak pulse rate," she said. "He would have noticed that I was losing my hair, that I had osteoporosis, that I no longer had my period."

"When your complexion turns sallow, borderline green, it's pretty clear there's a problem," Dauxerre added.

Five years later, the former model still resents fashion houses and their "thin mandate".

"Creators only want androgynous body shapes. They don't want to rejoice in a woman's body," she claimed.


Latest Entertainment News

  • Charlize Theron calls idea of arming US teachers 'so outrageous'

    Entertainment CBC News
    Actress Charlize Theron says the idea of arming teachers after recent U.S. school shootings or "adding more guns" to the situation is "so outrageous." The South African says: "I have a very personal experience with gun violence. Source
  • 'Lord of Butt': China's weird names for Western celebs

    Entertainment CTV News
    When it comes to Chinese names for Western celebrities, "Sweet Tea" is definitely hot, "Fruit Sister" is off the menu, and an ample posterior can have you anointed "Lord of Butt". Chinese is expressed using idiomatic characters rather than an alphabet, making it difficult to use the language to transliterate foreign names, and opening the door for a range of creative and often bizarre appellations for well-known stars. Source
  • Aretha Franklin cancels concerts due to doctor's orders

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK - Aretha Franklin is cancelling two upcoming concerts on doctor's orders. The Queen of Soul's management team says in a statement Friday that Franklin will not perform March 25 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, New Jersey. Source
  • Hedley singer Jacob Hoggard investigated by Toronto police

    Entertainment CTV News
    Toronto police are investigating Hedley frontman Jacob Hoggard after a series of sexual misconduct allegations surfaced. No charges have been laid and police will not reveal what allegations they are probing. Toronto police spokeswoman Meaghan Gray confirmed that the Sex Crimes Unit is involved in the ongoing investigation. Source
  • Canadian DJ Datsik cancels tour amid sexual misconduct allegations

    Entertainment CTV News
    TORONTO -- Electronic musician Datsik has cancelled his upcoming shows after multiple sexual misconduct allegations were levelled against him by anonymous users on social media. The Kelowna, B.C., native issued a statement on Facebook saying he planned to back out of his scheduled performances, which included stops in Toronto and Laval, Que. Source
  • 'I hope to be back with more stories to tell:' actor Irrfan Khan diagnosed with neuroendocrine tumour

    Entertainment CBC News
    Indian actor Irrfan Khan, whose roles in Hollywood films such as Slumdog Millionaire, The Amazing Spider-Man and Life of Pi have brought him fame, has been diagnosed with a tumour and is travelling overseas for treatment, he said on Friday. Source
  • Bollywood singer Daler Mehndi sentenced to jail after human trafficking conviction

    Entertainment CBC News
    A popular Indian pop singer was convicted of human trafficking and cheating Friday by a court that found he took money to pretend people were in his performance troupe so they could get jobs in North America. Source
  • Sean Bean on his many deaths and 'Game of Thrones' legacy

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Sean Bean is as famous for his rugged looks and thick northern British accent as the many creative ways in which he dies onscreen. He's been stabbed, shot, chased off a cliff, tossed off a satellite dish, beheaded, exploded, killed by arrows, and drawn and quartered in everything from the Bond movie "Goldeneye" to "Game of Thrones" and "The Lord of the Rings. Source
  • Neil Young is writing a sci-fi novel called 'Canary'

    Entertainment CTV News
    The Canadian musician, who currently stars in the film "Paradox," told Rolling Stone magazine that he is working on a science-fiction novel called "Canary." The novel is about a power company worker who discovers corruption in his firm and wants to expose it. Source
  • Popular Indian singer convicted of trafficking jobseekers to America

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW DELHI -- A popular Indian pop singer was convicted of human trafficking and cheating Friday by a court that found he took money to pretend people were in his performance troupe so they could get jobs in North America. Source