Elite Model Contest Winner Incites Controversy Over Her Extremely Thin Figure

The Elite Model Look contest is the world’s most famous modeling competition: past contestants include supermodels Heidi KlumGisele BundchenAlessandra AmbrosioIsabeli FontanaLinda Evangelista, and Ana Beatriz Barros. Held by Elite Model Management, it’s widely considered one of the most prestigious platforms from which young models can launch. 2009′s winner Julia Saner has closed Dior, fronted a Valentino campaign and walked for Alexander McQueen and Chanel.

This year’s winner, though, is drawing attention for a less glamorous reason: critics are saying 15-year-old Julia Schneider‘s frame is disturbingly thin. Though the Daily Mail shows uncharacteristic restraint by simply pointing out her “extremely slight frame,” the Montreal Gazette wonders, “Why are only male models generally allowed to have an adult’s body shape?”

And here we are having this conversation again: a model is too thin, people shame her for being thin, and then there’s a backlash to the backlash in which all kinds of offensive things are said about how being extremely thin is the most/only attractive thing in the world (see the comment thread on this post, if you don’t believe me). The problem isn’t with the models–they’re only as thin as the industry tells them to be–the problem is the message it sends when extremely thin girls are the only kinds of girls winning beauty contests.

What do you say?

(Photos via HuffPo)

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    • Somnilee

      Too thin, she’s making the models behind her look “normal” sized, and I’m going to assume they’re already thin due to the whole model thing.

    • LaLa

      I don’t think the problem is being thin. The problem is starving yourself to get that way. My closest friend is high school looked exactly like this girl and she ate. She ate quite a lot, actually. And I know she had just as much of a self consciousness as I did about my more “curvy” body. But the problem lies in that fact that most girls don’t look like this naturally and in order to achieve this look they go to extreme measures. Criticizing a girls weight (or lack there of) is never good. I think the modeling industry just needs to make sure that there are lots of examples of beauty. Not just this one “thin is in” example.

      • Khloe

        TY! I couldnt have put it better myself :D

    • Khloe

      im tired of people picking on thin people. Im naturally thin myself and have been picked on my whole life. Even my own husband cracked jokes when an hour after our son was born I was right back in my leather skinny pants. People need to leave the thin alone! Its one thing to have an eating disorder but its another to be naturally thin. Just as larger people dont necessarily eat junk food all day thin people arnt all starving!

    • Nicole

      People please understand that there are people (like myself) that has always been extremely thin without starving or something… I eat like a pig, and I never gain a pound… Look at this girl’s face, she looks reaaaally healthy, we can notice when the person isn’t naturally extremely thin, but if you look at her, you will see that she is healthy, is just the way she is, is just the way I am… What yall want her to do? Self inject some fat? Wake up ppl!

    • Andy

      I think an important and undersold element here is that she’s FIFTEEN. She likely hasn’t finished growing yet, and many many girls in their mid-teens have lower BMIs than they will as adults, just because it’s hard to eat enough to keep up with their growth. At 16, my arms and chest looked just like Julia’s here, even though I ate 2000 calories a day. Now at 31, I have a healthy BMI of 21, and would have to diet insanely to get to the size I was then–which would look Rachel Zoe-ishly appalling on a 31-year-old.
      I agree with Lala, above: Julia could well be healthy, but any woman out of her teens (and many women still in them) would have to adopt very unhealthy habits to achieve this size/shape. I think as much as we worry about models with eating disorders, more of the dialogue should be about girls who are barely out of puberty as models for adult women.

    • pauline gallagher

      Too thin? That is putting it mildly. The camera supposedly adds ten pounds. Look at the bones on her chest. Look at her arms. Look at the fleshless cheeks, the face covered in heavy makeup to make her seem okay.

      She is 15. So she cannot sign a contract. Her parent(s) have to sign. What are they thinking?