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France passed a law that required models to be above a certain BMI in order to work. And models responded by putting weights in their hair to make themselves heavier. One British brand is having absolutely none of this chicanery. Instead, it is forcing its models to eat a meal. On set. While being watched the entire time.
Quartz reports that UK clothing brand Rose & Willard is including a "non-negotiable" clause in models' contracts that requires them to eat. And "not just eat a meal but eat it in our presence," brand founder Heidy Rehman tells the Sunday Times, according to Quartz. "She's not going to get away with eating a slice of cucumber or throwing it away."
Models who fail to eat will not be compensated for their time.
In an essay for Huffington Post, Rehman says that she is doing this to protect young and vulnerable models. "Yes, it's a form of nannying but we feel we have a responsibility to protect these young women from an industry which we believe can leave them exploited and puts them under pressure to starve themselves and damage their health and well-being," she writes.
Rehman cites instances when models have become so overwhelmed by hungry that they were "delirious and started talking gibberish," she says. During test shoots, Rehman explains that all the models she was working with refused to eat "despite our protestations."
She provided several reasons for instituting this rule, including reports of models eating tissues before shoots and castings in order to stop their stomachs from rumbling.
Quartz points out that Rehman didn't specify whether these would be group meals or if models would be forced to eat alone while everyone watched.
While we're all for a healthier modeling industry, this seems more Orwellian than just encouraging positive eating habits.
Update: Rose & Willard reached out to Racked to clear up some details about how this contractual obligation will be enforced. "The models who shoot with us will join us at lunch in an informal and friendly social setting," the brand says.
The models will also have their pick of what they'd like to eat. "It need only be a small, simple meal or it can be a pizza - whatever they choose to eat will be the model's choice."
The brand continued that since the clause is mutually agreed upon, if the model doesn't want to work with them, that is also their pergoative.