Former runway model Inga Radziejewski is speaking out about the deadly standards of high fashion. At her thinnest, 5'11" tall Inga weighed just 98 pounds and was still rejected from a fashion audition for being too fat.
At the time, Inga was so skinny that she was just weeks away from complete organ failure due to anorexia. She was subsisting on half an apple a day and peppermint tea with brown sugar. Her body mass index was only 14 (anything under 18.5 is considered underweight, according to the World Health Organization). Inga also heard other models regularly discuss their extreme methods for staying rail thin.
She explained, "I heard one girl say that she started throwing up her food three days before a casting and another said she was taking epilepsy medication to help her concentrate because she was so delirious from hunger. When I looked shocked all the other girls said they did it too."
Inga says that although models were often friends with each other, there was definitely a sense of rivalry, and ever-present pressure from designers and photographers to measure up to an impossible standard. Even at size 00, Inga feared she would be passed over at auditions for being too big.
She said, "It was very competitive and I dreaded being bigger than the girl next to me. We were all friends but there was definitely a rivalry between agencies. If you didn't fit in your clothes they would be taken from you and given to another girl. I was so scared of losing out at castings, I would starve myself."
Inga finally received eating disorder treatment after she agreed to go home and see her parents. Her parents, who saw a photograph of their daughter and became alarmed, begged her to come home for a visit. While home, she agreed to receive outpatient eating disorder treatment at a local clinic. However, when the doctors at the clinic examined her they informed her that she was probably days away from total organ failure and said that they would not let her leave until she began to recover.
Inga says even at that time she didn't see anything wrong with her habits. She looked at other patients at the clinic who were recovering and thought of them as "fat cows," while she was envious of those patients who were even skinnier than she was.
After going through eating disorder treatment, Inga now has a healthy BMI of 20 and weighs about 149 pounds. She is working as a model in mainstream fashion, and has come to terms with leaving the world of high fashion.
"I know that my career in high fashion is now over and part of me is sad about that, but if I hadn't gone into rehab, the cost would have been a lot higher. I could have died," she said.
Posted By: Aspen Education Group