In a week full of depressing news about models’ rights as workers (or lack thereof), here’s a bright spot.
2008 Holland’s Next Top Model winner Ananda Marchildon has been awarded 65,000 Euros in a lawsuit against her former agency, Elite. After winning the popular televised contest, she was awarded a contract with Modelmasters The Agency guaranteed to be worth 75,000 Euros. Elite subsequently took over her contract (75,000 Euro guarantee in tact), but subsequently dropped her for (allegedly) gaining a few centimeters (centimeters!) around her hips.
According to The Telegraph, a lawyer for Elite told Marchildon that she was dropped because “although she has a nice face, she has a fat arse” and that “she never had it in her to become a top model because she was unsuitable for catwalk work.” Elite claimed that she had put on several centimeters around her hips since starting with them, while Marchildon countered that she had not, and in fact, they’d tried to force her to retroactively fit their 90 cm (35.4″) requirement. At the time she was dropped, Marchildon says her hips were 92 cm (36.2″). (The average European woman has hips of about 103 cm, or 40.6.”) Ananda Marchildon looks like this:
Are you depressed about the world in which we live yet?
The Dutch court that heard the case was not impressed with any of this, and ordered Elite to pay her the remaining 65,000 Euro balance they contractually owed her. (I’m guessing there was no “90 cm” clause in the contract, otherwise Elite might have won.) This may be a landmark case for models’ rights, as agencies are rarely challenged to stick to minimum earnings clauses in their models’ contracts, when they are present at all. I’m guessing agencies will respond by ceasing the use of those clauses immediately, but it will be interesting to see if any other models who already have them in place will follow in Ananda’s “too fat” footsteps.