Model Ulrikke Hoyer told ‘only to drink water for 24 hours’.

Have a read through of model Ulrikke Hoyer’s experience modelling for Loui Vuitton in Tokyo. Scroll down for my thoughts at the end:
When I tell people I work as a model, I always get a very positive responds as people have this idea that modeling is so easy and amazing and everything about being a model is glamorous. They are right, but far from all the time.

The flip side of the coin is very different and anything but glamorous. With my background since I was 6 as an elite tennis player I’ve been used to high expectations and also to gain a good understanding of nutrition and hard training and therefore I also know that the demands and expectations that is given to the high end fashion models in the industry are often completely unattainable and directly damaging to the human body.

When returning home from many of my trips I have often told my family that I think I look big compared to the other girls and that they are a lot skinnier than myself. As good and understanding parents, well off course they didn’t believe me as they could see that I was very skinny and sometimes worried that I was even unnaturally thin. But when my mom followed me around for show castings, she experienced it first hand. She was shocked to see how unhealthy and sad the majority of the young girls appeared. Many of the girls don’t have their periods, and/or changes the color of their skin because of bad and incorrect nutrition and almost everyone have a completely distorted relationship with food. Sadly enough this is the truth, I can say this because I see and hear this all the time on jobs and shows.

I just returned from Tokyo/Japan, where Louis Vuitton held a beautiful cruise show in Kyoto (the 14th of May), I just never made it to Kyoto cause I was canceled for the show due to being ‘too big’. (I’m a size 34-36) [UK 8-10].

Months before the show, Louis Vuitton had shown interest in using me and put in an option.
23rd April comes along and I’m measured at my Danish agency and my hips are 92 cm. Knowing the sizes of the clothes, the rigidity of the casters, we decide to tell the caster that I’m under the weather (yes a little white lie) and can’t come to Paris for the fitting the 25th of April and therefor can’t do the show in Japan. Alexia Cheval from Ashley Brokaw Casting asks my French agent if this is the truth and what we can do. We decided to tell them the truth and LV insisted on flying me straight to Paris the next day. I went to the fitting (tried on a dress and a coat) and before I even got back into my own clothes they confirmed me to the show.
I was excited to go to Japan and happy to know that even though I wasn’t in my skinniest ‘show-shape’ Louis Vuitton would still have me in their show. Meanwhile I was working very hard to get my measurements back to “right” (it gets harder and harder each time, it is like my body is working against my hard work, doesn’t respond like it used to).

The day before leaving I did updated measurements at the agency and now I was 91,5 cm on my hips so I had lost 0,5 cm. At least I was smaller than when they confirmed me, I was relieved.

After a 23 hour journey I arrived in Tokyo Wednesday night (10th of April). Thursday at 3:30pm I had my fitting. That day I ate a very small breakfast and had just water and tea before the fitting, because that’s how we do it… I tried my dress and the coat which I was confirmed fitted in Paris. I changed shoes and trousers a couple of times, (also very normal procedure as they want to find the best look). Afterwards I tried on a puffy dress with a semi bare back and then I was done. Right after I had a call from my French agent who told me that I had a refitting the day after (Friday) at 12am (my Danish agent tells me afterwards that Alexia had told my French agent that I needed to take this serious.) Later that night my french agent called me and told me that Alexia had said that there had been some problems during the fitting. According to her I had “a very bloated stomach”, “bloated face”, and urged me to starve myself with this statement “Ulrikke needs to drink only water for the next 24 hours”. I was shocked when I heard it. This was exactly what we have wanted to avoid when we tried to cancel because I was ‘bigger’.

That same evening Louis Vuitton had arranged a nice dinner and karaoke for all the models. I stayed home hungry in bed, because I didn’t want to sit and eat in front of a women who had just expressed that I did not need food.

I woke up at 2am and was extremely hungry. The breakfast started at 6:30am – I had the absolute minimum. I was afraid to meet Alexia so my luck she didn’t arrive until 8am, when my plate was taken off the table. She said good morning to me and the other girls and then looked at me, then down on my non-existent plate and up at me again. She was checking if I had been eating food.

Just before 12am my fitting got rescheduled to an unknown time later that day. It didn’t happen because at 7pm my mother agent from Denmark called my to tell the sad news that Louis Vuitton had chosen to cancel me from the show without the refitting and that I was going to be sent back home. Not only did I have a belly, my face was puffy now also my back was a problem, they now thought that I fitted the dress on my back differently than in Paris… (also saw this on an email at my agency when I came back) I didn’t know whether I should cry or laugh.

I went to dinner with the others models and consciously put my back to the room as I would not be confronted with the people who had just humiliated me on the most ridiculous and unfair basis – I had only done what I’ve been told. 3 hours later I was on a plane going back home.

What should have been a truly amazing and unique experience ended up being a very humiliating experience.

If it was just because they canceled my look (as I didn’t see it on the catwalk) then why the need of harassing me.. saying/writing these things to my agents. Such lack of respect and decency have let me to decide that I will never work under such conditions again.

I arrived back home in Copenhagen Saturday the 13th and my agency asked me to come in first thing Monday morning to see if there was any truth to the reason of the cancelation.
They measured me and took digitals and I was 91,5 cm on my hips (see picture) so again 0,5 cm from the 92cm I was in Paris for the fitting.

(My Danish agency had expressed a wish to my French agency that they would like to have me back in the fitting and have a picture taken, so we could see for ourselves but Alexia had said that there was no way that they would send a picture of a dress that had not been on the catwalk yet, so we got an email instead explaining the cancelation without a picture.)

This is not about me being canceled from a show, I’ve tried that before (all girls on my level have) you win some and you loose some that’s the game. But I cannot accept the ‘normality’ in the behavior of people like this. They find pleasure in power over young girls and will go to the extreme to force an eating disorder on you. If this comes from them or some of the fashion houses I don’t know as I’ve only been dealing with the casters (Alexia and Ashley on cc). Nicholas is super nice and treats everybody with respect and even remembers all the girls names etc. but these sizes of the show pieces are made for women to have eating disorders. Go watch the show and see for yourself, even the smallest tightest pants are loose on the models they book.

I am aware that I’m a product, I can separate that but I have seen way too many girls who are sooo skinny that I don’t even understand how they even walk or talk. It’s so obvious that these girls are in desperate need of help. It’s funny how you can be 0,5 or 1 cm ‘too big’ but never 1-6 cm ‘too small’.

I am glad I am a 20 and not a 15 years old girl, who is new to this and unsure about herself, because I have no doubt that I would then have ended up very sick and scarred long into my adult life.

I have worked/and work with so many wonderful people as well and have great experiences, so a big up to all of you amazing clients with human hearts.

Wow. So much of this resonated with me. The fact that Ulrikke has a healthy relationship with her parents, who provide her with love and support and some concern and a basis of reality when it comes to food and health. The fact that, deep down, Ulrikke knows about nutrition and ‘food as fuel’ thanks to her sports background. A supportive mother agency who seem to be on her side.

But that, ultimately, the words of one or two insecure and angry people can insidiously work their way into that self-knowledge, stir it up and leave her doubting her appearance, her healthy habits and her confidence.

I know all too-well that immediate fear upon booking a great job (the product of hard work, great tests in your book, running around on castings all over the world, making good impressions on clients through tough, long, often unpaid days, maintaining that self-belief whilst living in messy model apartments, and being constantly cognizant of diet and beauty). The fear that you just ate a bit of a muffin whilst catching up with a friend and SURELY IT’S GONNA BLOAT YOU UNCONTROLLABLY AND YOU WISH YOU HADN’T EATEN IT. That YOUR MEASUREMENTS ARE ALL WRONG AND NO ZIPS WILL FASTEN ON YOUR HUGE HIPS. That you were looking AMAZING LAST WEEK BUT THIS WEEK NOT SO MUCH. That YOU JUST HAD A SUNDAY ROAST WITH YOUR FAMILY AND OH GOD IF I’D KNOW I WOULDN’T HAVE INDULGED! That you’re just not good enough, on every level, and your heart races and you are filled with regret at all the fun, enjoyable life experiences you’ve had in the past month.

I also know, all to well, that one stupid idiot telling you not to eat and that you’re bloated can cancel out every other person in your life telling you look amazing. And that, in our industry, it’s completely normal to hear advice like ‘only drink water for 24 hours.’ I remember, in Tokyo, being taken into the toilet each morning to have every single part of me measured each day until I met the measurements on my contract, with absolutely zero advice on how to eat a balanced diet in such a foreign city (this was the days before internet being so readily available). I’ve been told that maybe, “I should just go a bit Ana [anorexic] for a few months,” by someone who had just told me she could never have kids because she messed up her fertility through eating disorders. I had a stylist analyse my meals in front of the whole team every single day on a trip because she said I was far too fat for the swimsuits I was modelling. Sophie Bolton spoke very honestly about her battles with poor advice – how many hours of running up and down stairs and ‘zero fat’ diets did our generation of models share between us?

What stands out most to me about Ulrikke’s post, however, is that she calls out people by their name and brand. She could literally never work again now. But if we keep totally silent and don’t do this, then the same people will continue to operate. Ulrikke, James Scully, Charli Howard – they’re naming names and it’s probably the only way to really combat this issues, and I applaud them because it’s incredibly brave.

 

I hope Ulrikke goes on to have a career she deserves, being treated with respect as a human being rather than a pliable mannequin fulfilling the vision of a minutia of skewed, messed up individuals with power complexes. Not only is she beautiful but she’s cool and stylish and clever and strong and those should be enough to get her jobs, regardless of a puny and irrelevant 0.5 cm here or there.

Rebecca
xx

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