Coco Rocha is one of the fashion industry’s most successful models. Born in Toronto and raised in British Columbia, this Canadian model has appeared in hundreds of fashion magazines around the world. She has graced the covers of Vogue, Elle and Bazaar just to name a few. Rocha is one of the few models who has been very outspoken on the issue of eating disorders in the modelling industry. She spoke on her blog two years ago about the pressures models face in the fashion industry to stay thin.
She wrote, “How can any person justify an aesthetic that reduces a woman or child to an emaciated skeleton? Is it art? Surely fashion’s aesthetic should enhance and beautify the human form, not destroy it.”
She’s appeared in hundreds of magazines around the world and despite being very thin herself, she recognizes that a change needs to happen in the industry.
” I’m a 21-year-old model, 6 inches taller and 10 sizes smaller than the average American woman. Yet in another parallel universe I’m considered “fat”.
She goes on to criticize what happens in the business regarding losing weight.
“Surely, we all see how morally wrong it is for an adult to convince an already thin 15-year-old that she is actually too fat. It is unforgivable that an adult should demand that the girl unnaturally lose the weight vital to keep her body functioning properly. How can any person justify an aesthetic that reduces a woman or child to an emaciated skeleton? Is it art? Surely fashion’s aesthetic should enhance and beautify the human form, not destroy it.”
This is an issue I have talked about many times when I speak to young girls about body image. I usually share my own personal story of pursuing a career in the modelling industry and being told that I was “fat” all the time. Imagine that, I was told I was fat and to hear that Coco Rocha, who is so much smaller than I ever was when modelling, can be considered “fat” in some circles is just insane.
The Council of Fashion Designers of America held a “Beauty of Health” event four years ago where Rocha was on hand with a number of other industry people including Michael Kors and Diane von Furstenberg. Rocha revealed that there was a point in her career where she was down to 108 pounds (at 5’10” tall). At that weight she was warned,
“….you need to lose more weight. The look this year is anorexic. We don’t want you to be anorexic, we just want you to look like it.”
The pressure to get thinner was so strong that Rocha actually gave in, as many models often do. She admitted to taking diuretic pills in order to lose the weight.
“Once I took so many on an empty stomach that I was doubled over for hours. That’s the last time I ever did something terrible to my body,” she said.
Women and young women need to start realizing how the industry is putting so much pressure on models. The result is people looking at the images feel pressure to try to look like these models. Not even knowing that they are often struggling to stay thin.
We as women need to start loving and embracing ourselves and focus on getting healthy over getting stick thin. There are women who can be fuller figured and in much better health than a woman who is super skinny. Health is what’s most important at the end of the day. When we can be healthy individuals we become much happier and when we are happy the beauty we have inside stands a much better chance of shining through.