Friday, July 11, 2008

Of Ugly Beauty And Dying Models

We’ve all seen them. Beauties strutting their stuff on high-end international catwalks. Models are considered the cream of society as far as beauty goes. They seem to lead this glamorous life which sucks young girls into the modeling world in droves every year. For those who make it, there is immense wealth and a glamorous lifestyle working with top designers and jet-setting from city to city. The allure of modeling gowns worth thousands of dollars which could then very easily land in Halle Berry’s or Catherine Zeta Jone’s body is too much for them to resist. That is the beautiful. Now the ugly.

Most models are spotted by hawkeyed model scouts at a very tender age. In the past there were mothers sending children as young as 12 to the modeling world, or to the wolves if truth be told. The message to these young girls is simple. Loose weight and you’ll join this glamorous exiting world where you’ll make lots of money. Surviving on a diet of lettuce, diet coke and laxatives for months never won anyone anything. But in the modeling world it could win you lucrative contracts with major fashion houses that need human hangers with the least amount of flesh possible.

It is this pressure to lose weight that gives rise to dangerous eating disorders, malnutrition and even death which can directly be linked to prolonged poor eating habits. The lengths to which some girls will go to for that super svelte body are bizarre. And still the agencies want them thinner. The pressure is viewed as a small price to pay for the lucrative deals that skinnier models get. Small price? When you get so thin your boobs disappear? When you look so pale, gaunt and run down? When there is the possibility of dying of malnutrition like those two model sisters who died from extreme diets? I don’t think so. I think real beauty is in natural curves.

Hollywood has not been spared the weight loss madness either, although not to the extent of models. There have been rumours that Nicole Richie once held a party and dictated beforehand that guests beyond a certain weight would not be allowed in. It is said she had a scale at the door! I wouldn’t have a hard time believing that. Last I saw her picture she looked rather malnourished herself. And Beyonce has been known to at one time cut 11/2 stone in a fortnight of drinking diluted maple syrup. The mere mention by a celebrity that she’s on a certain diet is enough to send thousands on girls clamouring for the same.

It’s not all doom and gloom though. Over the last few years, with protests from governments and women rights crusaders, the fashion world began to see the creepiness of the demands they had been making on the girls. Major modeling agencies and advertising networks are now refusing to use waif-like models and those under the age of 16. Some are requiring models to produce medical certificates of health before they can get contracts. Some like the Melbourne Fashion Week even employ nutritional experts to monitor the health of the models. There are success stories of models who have come back from the thin world in good time and still continue being successful.

Luckily, locally we do not have these extreme problems. Or do we?

See Also: Magical Kenya.


BP ONE said...

Nasty, inhuman and unacceptable act . It seems, to some people, quest for money and fame has no boundaries.

Shiko-Msa said...

Too bad BP. But our girls are ok here I've never heard of such cases.

Our Kid said...

Shiko, hope you are fine.

There is a website that usually cross checks such storos. Its called

Check this out...

Having said that, beauty really has no standards. Na sisi Waafrika, really just like the fleshy type of beauty!

Shiko-Msa said...

Thanks for the link Our Kid. If some of these pictures are modified to look that thin then that makes it ever worse that someone is working hard to glorify that bony look. And even the ones they're saying are real dont look any better they're still too skinny.

Better the healthy ones around here. It's good the too skinny trend is going.

Anonymous said...

this is sad. apart from the skinny issues, the model world is generally very frusrating for most of these gals who most of the time anyway, join this stuff whn they are very young with no one to guide them.

Shiko-Msa said...

Neema where've you been? Ama it's those issues on our end that were keeping you so quiet? Hope you have, or are sorting out. All the best.

The modeling world is a different one altogether. Even 16 years is still not enough to start this kind of job. At that age they're still not mature enough.

seinlife said...

Seeing those models made me gag! The west certainly needs to redefine beauty.
I read somewhere (sorry i don't have a link) that Paris is sticking with the ultra thin models and have ignored the calls to hire healthy models - such a shame!
I don't really understand how a designer would see his/her garment on an emanciated model as a good thing - especially since it doesn't reflect the image of those he/she is targeting marketing-wise, or is it?
Let's just hope african girls don't start to follow suit with this rubbish!

Nairobian Perspective said...

those photos are scary, i wouldnt date a skinny stick figure no matter what the enticement!!!!!wanjiku- where did you get the photos from?

pilato said...

Eish those photos!

Love this site..nice posts

Mcheku said...

Fashion houses may just be looking for the models who can use the least amount of material for their attire. I dont know how someone would want to emaciate themselves to such an extent! Now that third model in the picture wajameni?! I dont want to be rude but surely what does her spouse shikaa when they engage in bedroom affairs? Si he must feel bones poking (and injuring him!) all over the place aaaah hiyo wacha ikae!

I hate the fact that the west wants to dictate everything from trade policies to democratic process to clothes we wear and even define beauty! I think big is beautiful(of course not obese)and I have been trying to gain weight for the longest time and now I think its coming....even if its polepole.

I dont know whether this beauty thing we shall ever agree. They tell us how big bottoms (very african) are not ideal yet they all envy Beyonce and J-Lo, even though J-Lo bottom is just a big fuss for nothing. They talk about how thin is beautiful yet they run to have boob jobs!

You can never win with those people. Let the western model houses define their things kwanza with those live skeletons of theirs and we shall define ours the way we want.

I hope to see that health certificate requirement catch on.

Shiko-Msa said...

Thanks Pilato. You're most welcome here in Wanjikuville. Do you have a blog? If you do si you leave a link we pay you a visit?

Yeah Seinlife I read too that Paris is still trying to stick to the waif-like model. I guess because the girls are all bones and look like a hanger in a closet. But they also wont be able to carry on like that if there's enough pressure from the rest of the world. At least other countries are changing that. Israel, Russia, India, Brazil and many more.

Mcheku hahahaha. The bedroom affairs let the guys tell us that one. I don't understand the western obsession with J-Lo's butt either. That size of butt is the order of the day here!!

I don't think the African girls are going that route although they're also told what to eat and what not to eat.

Nairobian someone sent me those photos on E-mail some time back. But according to, they've been modified to look thinner than they actually are.

Bong (JB) said...

Amazing what people would do for fame and money. Who are those last 3 girls girls modeling for? A funeral home?

It's even more amazing that they can still sell clothes. I mean, they don't look like vibrant specimens of womanhood to me, somebody I would like our girls to emulate.

Shiko-Msa said...

Bong peer pressure can really do bad things to young girls.

Our girls I doubt will go there. Look at Ajuma. She's still healthy after all this time.

tnk said...


as they say, the best form of flattery is imitation and i add the best form of defense is an outstanding rival/competing product so rather than bash these skeletal postures, why not link us (provide links not dating service please) to our very own healthy beauty pageants and catwalk supremos

kenyans ni wetu, wonder what went wrong

Osita Ibekwe said...

I will like to know what happened to those models on the post.

Are they still with us in the land of the living?

Shiko-Msa said...

Osita Hi! How is Nigeria?

They're still very much with us and there's a massive campaign to make them eat properly with some companies employing nutritionists. Save for a few modeling agencies that are still keen on the stick figure, many of them are now saying no.

But a few models who are not in these pictures have unfortunately passed away as a direct result of malnutrition. There's a link in the post to a sad story of two sisters who died of heart attacks occasioned by malnutrition. Can you imagine that?

Shiko-Msa said...

tnk thanks for the link. Our models are most definitely healthy and chubby. Real African woman. How would an African woman look all bones? And will the African guys accept them if they got to size 0?

Mcheku said...

Bong(jb) that was really funny ati funeral homes? hehehehehehe!

tnk said...


its not just that our models are healthy, even the posture/pose and fashions are quite appealing and decent, dont you think?

yeah i too liked that comment by bong hehehe

Shiko-Msa said...

yeah tnk our fashion is decent appealing. But there is one there made of guards I wonder how it's worn hehehehe.

Bong the funeral home idea lol. See even Osita is asking whether these girls are still with us in the land of the living Lol.