‘They told me I was dis­gust­ing’

Ex-model says ban of size 0 will bene t health of tal­ent

Metro Canada (Ottawa) - - Life - Genna Buck

If ma­jor French fash­ion com­pa­nies are se­ri­ous about their new prom­ise, zero will no longer be the run­way sam­ple size.

In the words of a for­mer Cana­dian model, “It’s about time.”

Oshawa, Ont., na­tive Madi­son Schill, who once wore a dou­blezero as a tal­ent with in­ter­na­tional agency Ford Mod­els, is thrilled that French fash­ion gi­ants Ker­ing and LVMH have es­tab­lished a char­ter pledg­ing not to cast mod­els who wear a size zero.

The char­ter also con­tains a whole­sale ban on un­der-16s mod­el­ling adult cloth­ing, re­stricts teenage mod­els’ work hours, and re­quires that mod­els of all ages have ac­cess to a ther­a­pist.

To­gether, the two con­glom­er­ates own the big­gest brands on the globe — Gucci, Yves Saint Lau­rent, Louis Vuit­ton and Dior, to name a hand­ful — and the char­ter will be en­forced world­wide.

Its ef­fect is bound to be felt in Canada, Schill said, be­cause our mod­el­ling and fash­ion in­dus­tries act as a feeder mar­ket for Paris and New York. And if the de­mand for scary-skinny mod­els dries up there, Canada can be ex­pected to fol­low suit.

“I’m so happy to see them cre­at­ing a char­ter that will com­pre­hen­sively ad­dress an is­sue that is threat­en­ing lives,” Schill said.

She speaks from ex­pe­ri­ence. When she was start­ing her ca­reer, at 15, her agency di­rected her to lose weight.

“They told me I was dis­gust­ing. I was mo­ti­vated in a fear- and anger-based way to lose weight to prove them wrong,” Schill said.

She dropped 20 pounds from her six-foot frame, even­tu­ally hitting a “life-threat­en­ing” dou­blezero size.

A size zero cor­re­sponds ap­prox­i­mately to a 24-inch waist; and many run­way mod­els stand six feet or taller. The av­er­age Cana­dian woman has a 33-inch waist.

“I know there are some girls who are a nat­u­ral size zero, and you never want to tell any­body what size to be,” Schill said, adding, “Size zero is not a healthy size for me. I was dy­ing.”

Erika Wark, who is a stylist for CTV’S The So­cial and Your Morn­ing, ex­plained the strong busi­ness ar­gu­ment for size di­ver­sity. When it comes to teen-tiny run­way fash­ions, “It’s hard for real women to en­vi­sion them­selves in the cloth­ing,” she said. “Fash­ion should be in­clu­sive — ev­ery­body has to get up in the morn­ing and put clothes on.

By com­mit­ting to elim­i­nate size zero, LMVH and Ker­ing are re­spond­ing to a sea change in the fash­ion and beauty world: Con­sumers are de­mand­ing to see more di­ver­sity, and mag­a­zines and mod­el­ling agen­cies have started to re­spond by por­tray­ing a greater di­ver­sity of sizes, ages and eth­nic­i­ties, Wark said — al­though there’s still a long way to go.

Schill re­tired from the in­dus­try at 19 to study at the Univer­sity Sprinter An­dre De Grasse calls for­mer Rap­tor Vince Carter — the sub­ject of a new doc­u­men­tary — “one of my in­spi­ra­tions to in­ish school and still con­tinue with sport.” of Toronto. Now, as a 23-year-old new grad, she’s back at her pre­mod­elling size: A four to six. She grew an inch last year — ap­par­ently her body re­bound­ing from


Madi­son Schill then — dur­ing her mod­el­ling days — and now.

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