‘Eating disorders’ mean abnormal eating habits in the form of overeating or abstinence from eating. They do not constitute simply the breach of eating etiquette, but they are also medical conditions sometimes with severe repercussions that are fatal. Eating disorders mainly include; Anorexia nervosa, which is abstaining from food for fear of gaining weight, Bulimia nervosa, which is repeated binge eating followed by purging through induced vomiting, etc. as a corrective measure, Binge-eating disorder which is also compulsive binge eating but distinguished from Bulimia nervosa in that it is not followed by any corrective measures, and Compulsive Overeating which is simply overeating in order to get rid of stress but practically inviting more of it. Purging, Rumination, and Pica are similarly other eating disorders. The root cause of these eating disorders is traceable to idealizing a slim figure and considering it iconic to the fashion industry and a prerequisite for successful fashion modeling. Certain chemicals or biochemical reagents are causative factors. Some hormones and neurotransmitters, like serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, etc. have also been found to be the cause of abnormal eating habits.
1. Isabelle Caro
Isabelle Caro was born in Aubergenville, France on September 12, 1982 and died in Paris, France on November 17, 2010 at the young age of 28. Belonging to Marseille she was a famous French model and actress. She became more famous after being photographed by Oliver Toscani. Her photographs show the vertebrae prominently under the skin. The photographs were taken as a part of the ‘No Anorexia’ advertising campaign. Caro suffered from Anorexia nervosa and assigned her troubled childhood as the causative factor. Her mother was afraid of her growth and would not let her go outside because she had heard that fresh air promotes growth. Suffering from an acute respiratory disease, Isabelle Caro died on November 17, 2010 in France. Her mother killed herself after the death of her daughter.
2. Ana Carolina
Ana Carolina Reston Macan, better known as Ana Carolina, was born to a middle-class family in Jundiai in the suburbs of Sao Paulo, Brazil on June 4, 1985 and died on November 15, 2006. She started fashion modeling at the age of 13. She had been associated with Ford, Elite and L’Equipe. She was represented by well-known advertising agencies in countries like China, Mexico, and Turkey. She appeared in many prestigious advertising campaigns like Georgio Armani’s. She made her first overseas appearance in 2004 in Guangzhou, China. It was there that she was informed about her being too fat, and this was what promoted her to develop the eating disorders; Anorexia nervosa and Bulimia nervosa. On October 25, 2006, she was hospitalized for kidney malfunction and weighed only 40 kgs with the bio mass index of 13.4 against the required BMI of 16 for her height being 5 feet 8 inches. Her diet consisted of only apples and tomatoes for a long time. Following the death of Luisel Ramos at the age of 22 on account of Anorexia nervosa, Carolina was the second to die of the same cause in 2006.
3. Luisel Ramos
Luisel Ramos was born on April 12, 1984 and died on August 2, 2006. She was a Uruguayan model. While participating in a fashion show in Montevideo, Uruguay on August 2, 2006, she fell sick after walking the runway and fainted in a dressing room. She died at the age of 22. Her BMI was 14.5 which is below the starvation limit of BMI 16 set by WHO as the starvation limit. Her only diet for three months preceding her death comprised of only Diet Coke and lettuce. Her father informed police that she had not eaten anything for several days. Her sister, who was also a model, similarly died of Anorexia nervosa.
4. The Barbi Twins
Shane and Sia Barbi, better known as the ‘Barbi Twins,’ were identical sisters born in San Diego, California, U.S. on April 2, 1963. Cosmopolitan UK assigned the cause of their extraordinary popularity due to their record breaking Playboy magazine covers and top-selling calendars. They modeled for Chanel, Thierry Mugler, and John Galliano. The Barbi Twins battled anorexia and bulimia. Having overcome these eating disorders, the Barbi Twins wrote for the benefit of others. Their first book was, Dying to Be Healthy: A Breakthrough Diet, Nutrition, and Self Help Guide (1999).Their second book was The Eco Anti-Diet, Plus Confessions (2006).
5. Margaux Hemingway
Margot Louis Hemingway, better known as Margaux Hemingway, was born in Portland, Oregon, U.S. on February 16, 1954 and died in Santa Monica, California, U.S. on July 1, 1996 at the age of 42. She was granddaughter of the Nobel Laureate Ernest Hemingway. She was the older sister of the actress Mariel Hemingway. She was a successful model, and her success stories include a million-dollar contract for Faberge as the spokesmodel for Babe perfume in 1970. She appeared on the covers of Harper’s Bazzar, Vogue, Elle and Cosmopolitan. She suffered from bulimia, an eating disorder, and allowed filming of her therapy session. She was found dead in her studio apartment in Santa Monica on July 1, 1996. Consumption of an overdose of phenobarbital was considered the cause of her death at the age of 42. In a Larry King Live Session her husband agreed with its being a suicide.
6. Carre Otis
Carre Otis was born in San Francisco, California, U.S. on September 28, 1968. She attended Marin Academy in San Rafael, California and the John Woolman School in Nevada City, California. She appeared on the cover of French Elle in April 1986. She has also appeared on covers or ads of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Cosmopolitan, Allure, Mirabella, Marie Claire, Guess, Calvin Klein, Pirelli, Sports Illustrated, Playboy and many other magazines. Having recovered from the eating disorders, she said, ‘I had been on this insane diet for almost 17 years to maintain the weight that was demanded of me when I was modeling. My diet was really starvation. I am not naturally that thin.’
7. Kate Dillion
Kate Dillion started her modeling career as a size 6, but after recovering from her eating disorder of anorexia, she restarted as size 14 plus-size model. She became famous after her appearance on the covers of Mode magazine. She has also appeared on Vogue covers in many different languages. She has appeared in advertisements of famous clients like Gucci and Isabell Rossellini’s Manifesto perfume. Dillion suffered from Anorexia but became a nutritionist and gained 15 pounds to the dissatisfaction of her agency.
8. Sandra Dee
Sandra Dee was born as Alexandra Zuck to Mary and John Zuck in Bayonne, New Jersey, U.S. on April 23, 1942 and died in Thousand Oaks, California, U.S. on February 20, 2005 in an attempt to reduce weight to be as skinny as the high fashion models. Through the use of an improper diet during modeling, she spoiled her health and ruined her skin, hair, nails, and her body. After being slim, she was unable to digest anything. Suffering from Anorexia leading to kidney diseases, she died on February 20, 2005 at the Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center, Thousand Oaks, California.
9. Magali Amadei
Magali Amadei was born on November 30, 1974. She is a well-known French model living in New York City. Magali Amadei has appeared on the covers many famous magazines including; Vogue, Elle and Marie Claire. For quite a few people, her beauty was comparable with Sophia Loren’s. She had suffered from the eating disorder bulimia for seven years and, having overcome it, visited many schools to share her experience.
10. Tyra Lynn Banks
Tyra Lynn Banks was born in Inglewood, California, U.S. on December 4, 1973. She is an American model and actress. She became famous after her appearing twice on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit. She is the host of the famous talk shows; America’s Next Model and The Tyra Banks Show. Recalling the event when her agency gave her the list of designers who did not work with her for her being ‘curvy’ she said, ‘As my mom wiped away the tears from my face, she said, ‘Tyra, you know what we’re going to do about this? We are going to eat pizza.”
Whatever the causes, all the eating disorders have some common effects like: mental stress, psychological instability, depression, social isolation, physical problems like gastrointestinal problems, GERD, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disorder, abdominal pain, loss of general health, fitness, and wellness. Conditions like Anorexia nervosa culminate into life-threatening conditions like heart attacks and paralysis, etc. Many celebrities who have experienced the negative impacts of the eating disorders are actively involved in creating the awareness about the dangers of eating disorders and about the recommended corrective and preventive actions. They emphasize that the ultimate objective of eating is to get energy not to lose it.