The innocent yellow measuring tape

A new Instagram message: “Hey! I am a sixteen year old girl. I am 1,78 tall and I am going to sign with an agency. The only problem is that my hips are 94 centimeters, I have to lose 4 centimeters. Did you also have to lose weight for modeling? Do you have tips for me to lose weight?”

When I read this I thought it would be time for a new post about models and their measurements. Especially the month December is difficult, celebrations like Sinterklaas (a Dutch feast) and Christmas. It is the time of the year to spend quality time with friends and family, mostly this goes in hand in hand with a lot of food.

Society gap
Models need to have certain ‘measurements’ to fit the clothes. The hip size is the most important. Modeling agencies measure models with measuring tapes. Your hips can not be over 90 centimeters and you are called a curvy model from 96 centimeters. In between these sizes – what I consider more normal at least if I look around  – models can hardly work. Why would we ban these natural sizes and create a huge gap between society and perfect bodies?

First testshoot
I was seventeen years old when I had my first testshoot at an agency. They took my measurements (bust-waist-hips). I stood in front of someone I never met, in my underwear. I felt a bit weird, but it seemed to be a normal thing. Like you go to a doctor.
I flew to Milan almost one year later. It was my first trip ‘on stay’ in another country. I got measured again. But this time my agent told me I gained weight. I was a hip 91 centimeters. When I started modeling my hips were 89 cm, naturally. Now you must think: is having a 91 centimeters hipsize a problem? I thought the same, but apparently it does.

Is it justified to tell a 16 year old girl to lose weight while she is still growing?

Food adventures      
Milan was where my food adventures (read: struggles) started. I was suddenly told to eat less carbs. I did not even know what carbs were (lol). “No more pasta, potatoes and bread”, was the answer. I was shocked. No bread? Then what am I supposed to eat for breakfast and lunch? I started to travel everywhere with a measuring tape in my bag. From counting calories to avoiding carbs and having yoyo effects. It is hard to find the right balance. I hear you thinking: it is your job, so you give anything for it. But still, is it justified to tell a 16 year old girl to lose weight while she is still growing? Or to tell girls over 20 to go back to their measurements they had when they were teenagers?

Most models have these struggles. We are all a little bit obsessed with food and doing sports (understatement). There are models who have the sizes naturally, but not many. Most of the models get problems with their health, a topic which we avoid to speak about. Not only models get underfed (and this does not have to mean they are anorexic). Girls also get problems with their fertility. I heard another model who lost her fertility for around 70% because her hormons were not in balance anymore. That is something what concerns me.

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