The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show & The Size Zero Situation


Victoria’s Secret Diets and the Size Zero Situation

Not surprisingly, 7 out of 10 girls in grades 5-12 said they get their idea of a “perfect body” from models in magazines.


As last year’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show closed its curtains, Adriana Lima revealed that walking down the runway as an Angel takes hefty preparation. For five months prior to the show, she went on a strict diet and ramped up her intense workouts with a trainer to seven days a week, and then for the full two months before the show, she did her trainer-assisted workouts twice a day. On top of that, for nine days prior to the show, Lima lived on a protein-shake-only diet. For twelve hours prior to the show, she ate and drank nothing. “No liquids at all, so you dry out. Sometimes you can lose up to eight pounds just from that,” she said.

7 out of 10 girls in grades 5-12 said they get their idea of a “perfect body” from models in magazines.

Victoria’s Secret Diets and the Size Zero Situation

Victoria’s Secret Diets and the Size Zero SituationStarvation among models is no longer surprising. In fact, most people are aware that eating disorders are quite common in this profession. According to the Model Health Inquiry, over 40% of models are victims of eating disorders. While the most talked about eating disorder among models is Anorexia, the most common is Bulimia. These eating disorders have taken a toll not only in models’ health, but also their lives.

The modeling industry has encountered death after death. Brazilian model Ana Carolina Reston passed away in Sao Paolo after battling anorexia and bulimia. She weighed only 88 pounds then. Uruguayan Luisel Ramos died during a fashion show in Montevideo, Uruguay. She was anorexic and weighed 97 pounds. Reston and Ramos are only two of several models who met death because of eating disorders. They are only two of the many women around the world who have starved themselves due to distorted standards of beauty.

Victoria’s Secret Diets and the Size Zero Situation“Models are under increasing pressure to be thinner and thinner, and younger and younger.”

Women’s magazines provide the definition of beauty, ultimately influencing young girls’ self-esteem. In fact, the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorder stated that 7 out of 10 girls in grades 5-12 said they get their idea of a “perfect body” from magazines. While self-esteem and perfectionism are only two of the many factors causing eating disorders, these are highly cultural factors that are shaped by key influencers of society.

Victoria’s Secret Diets and the Size Zero SituationThe Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), led by influential designer Diane von Furstenberg, addressed this issue when they wrote a letter to the fashion community on the issue of unhealthy fashion models. Released prior to the opening of New York Fashion Week, the letter articulates the gravity of the situation and provides concrete guidelines to help alleviate the problem. Some of these are providing healthy snacks backstage during shoots and shows, providing health education, and implementing an age limit for runway shows.

Victoria’s Secret Diets and the Size Zero SituationIn their letter, Diane von Furstenberg admitted that the demands of the fashion industry influence fashion models’ self-esteem. It stated: “Designers generally produce only one sample size for the runway, and in the last decade there has been a dramatic downward shift in the sample size of some of the top design houses. As a result, models are under increasing pressure to be thinner and thinner, and younger and younger.”

While this letter is a start in addressing the problem, there is a long, long way to go for the fashion industry. After all, runway modeling is just one aspect of modeling. There are also the magazine shoots, advertisements, and catalogues. These involve not only designers but also corporate executives, advertising agencies, and magazine editors. In the big intertwined web of influence within the fashion sphere, how can the size 0 situation really be solved?

Sarah enlightens us on a daily basis with the newest trends as (and often before) they transpire. She is the consummate globe trotter. Having traveled to over 70 countries, she earns her living writing, blogging and modeling while on the road. In her spare time she gets manicures, suntans on yachts in Greece, shops for even more shoes, and lives in the limelight. She loves photography, elephants, sailboats, bangles and ballet flats.

Reader Discussion: 42 Comments

  1. Evelyn Morris

    Being thin should not be the only basis to be a model. Just for women to achieve the “perfect body” they had to slowly kill themselves by not eating and exercising until they drop. Why should the modeling industry be like this? I just wish this can still be changed.

  2. Shirley Flores

    It is scary to go through this kind of food deprivation just to be accepted in the fashion industry that you love. Many young people now especially the girls dream of being a model, but it would be pitiful if they need to go through this kind of hardship just to be accepted.

    • Beverly Price

      All kinds of work have struggles you have to overcome, but being physically damaged is out of the line. It is just too much!

  3. Molly Kaawirm

    I have a 12-year-old daughter and I do not want her to be exposed to this kind of industry. It is heartbreaking to know that these magazines, ads and the media instill to the young women what a “great body” should be. We should be entitled to feel sexy no matter our size and color.

  4. Jeannie Hernandez

    This is the sad reality especially for women nowadays. Since the society set an image of what sexy is, a lot of women go through a lot of struggle just to be accepted and categorized as beautiful. It is sad that being beautiful is being measured by face and body measure.

  5. Cecelia Stephens

    Wow! You might really be a true angel when you starve yourself to death just to be part of this modeling industry. I know that models need to look sexy in all angles but this preparation just for a fashion can really put one’s life at risk. Now I understand why VS models are all paper thin, yeah they are sexy but the preparation is just too much.

  6. Anne Robinson

    Being that skinny is not healthy. Unless It’s genetics, no one should be like that. I repeat! NOBODY! fuck them VS standards.

  7. Corinna Dobrik

    Being a size 0? Oh helllll no! I will 100% still stick to my fats and all my favorite foods rather than be a size 0.

  8. Sarah Parker

    Thank you very much for this very good article! Being a model is one of my dreams — I want to have their body, fame, and money. But after reading this, I realized that, I am way luckier than them. I want to eat everything I want, then I’ll just burn it in the gym.

  9. Carla Peters

    There should be no standard on beauty. Beauty should not depend on a person’s size. People right now are so superficial. In fact, the show promotes the sexual objectification of women, so it should be cancelled!!

  10. I was doing research on model’s diets and I read that Victoria Secret models try to stick to 5 smaller meals per day, eating every 3 hours. They also eat the majority of their carbs earlier in the day, rather than at night. This is because our body can metabolize carbs better in the morning (and post workout), and is less likely to store carbs as fat at these times. I’m going to try to follow the same routine!

    • Okkkk… just make sure you eat lots of fruit and veggies, and get enough calories in the day. No starving yourself!

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