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.



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Reaction to criminal charges filed against Harvey Weinsten

    Entertainment CTV News
    "I hope this gives hope to victims and survivors everywhere, that we are one step closer to justice. Because one win is a win for all of us." -- Weinstein accuser Rose McGowan, to The Associated Press. Source
  • Weinstein turns himself in holding 2 entertainment biographies

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Harvey Weinstein's choice of reading material for his surrender to New York authorities on Friday drew attention to a pair of entertainment biographies. Weinstein arrived at a New York police precinct holding Richard Schickel's biography of the stage and film director Elia Kazan and Todd Purdum's "Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein's Broadway Revolution. Source
  • Prize-winning children's author Richard Peck dies at 84

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK - Prize-winning children's author Richard Peck, who drew upon his Illinois roots for such favourites as "A Long Way from Chicago" and "A Year Down Yonder," has died. Peck died on Wednesday at his home in New York City at age 84. Source
  • At 79, Ian McKellen says he has no plans to give up acting

    Entertainment CTV News
    LONDON -- Sir Ian McKellen says his upcoming role as King Lear in an upcoming London production may be his last major Shakespeare role but he has no plans on retiring, as long as his knees and memory hold out. Source
  • Seth Rogen in talks to replace Morgan Freeman as voice of Vancouver transit

    Entertainment CTV News
    Vancouver's transit system has announced plans to pull a public announcement campaign that used Morgan Freeman's voice following allegations of sexual assault which surfaced Thursday. But Vancouverites won't be left in the lurch: looks like homegrown Hollywood star Seth Rogen could fill the silence. Source
  • Rose McGowan on Weinstein: 'One win is a win for all of us'

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- She was one of the earliest Harvey Weinstein accusers, and she thought the mogul might never face justice in a court of law. Now, actress Rose McGowan, who has accused Weinstein of raping her 20 years ago, is gratified but "still in shock" at the news that he is expected to surrender on Friday and finally face charges of sexual assault, in one of the scores of cases in which he's accused. Source
  • Harvey Weinstein arrives at police station to surrender in assault probe

    Entertainment CTV News
    Harvey Weinstein has arrived at a police station in New York where he is expected to surrender himself to face criminal charges in a sexual assault probe. Weinstein stepped from a black SUV and walked slowly into a Manhattan police station before a crowd of news cameras. Source
  • Harvey Weinstein arrested on rape and other charges

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Police say Harvey Weinstein has been arrested on rape, criminal sex act, sex abuse and sexual misconduct charges for encounters with two women. The New York Police Department disclosed the charges Friday after the movie mogul turned himself in. Source
  • Weinstein arraigned on rape, criminal sex act charges

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Flinching when he heard himself described as a man who used power to prey on women, Harvey Weinstein was arraigned Friday on charges of rape and a criminal sex act in the first criminal prosecution to result from the wave of allegations against him that sparked a national reckoning over sexual misconduct. Source
  • Weinstein faces charges in prosecution amid #MeToo

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Flinching when he heard himself described as a man who used power to prey on women, Harvey Weinstein was arraigned Friday on charges of rape and a criminal sex act in the first criminal prosecution to result from the wave of allegations against him that sparked a national reckoning over sexual misconduct. Source