Model Inga Radziejewski had ambitions of walking the catwalks of Europe’s most famous fashion shows, a dream that forced her into an anorexic nightmare to meet the fashion industry’s weight demands. Now she is speaking out.
The 5-foot, 11-inch tall model starved herself down to a skeletal 98 pounds and a size 00, yet she says she was still turned down for modeling jobs because she was considered too fat.
“I was incredibly skinny but at fittings for designers like Christian Dior the clothes were so small that even though I was anorexic, I still struggled to get in them – despite my measurements being 27in chest, 21in waist and 27.5in hips,” she told the UK’s Mirror newspaper.
“At the time I never thought anything was wrong with me, but now I can see that I was dangerously underweight. When I look back I’m horrified by the lifestyle I was living,” she added.
Inga decided to give up the catwalk and battle the disease, and now she is a size 12. She’s still able to find work as a model for magazines and other media, and occasionally does runway work, mainly in Asia.
She is a hardened veteran of the fashion industry, who walk runways for Christian Dior, Miss Sixty, H&M and Benetton and had a part in the James Bond film “Quantum of Solace.”Even so, she was regularly told she was too heavy.
“At one job for a German TV channel I overheard a casting director say, ‘She has got a too-big ass.’ I was already very skinny, but it made me even more determined to stay slim and I found every reason not to eat.
“At my worst I was eating just half an apple a day and drinking lots of peppermint tea with brown sugar and I still thought I would get fat.”
Runway models across the industry tell similar tales of their efforts to meet the demands of fashion designers.
“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.
“In some ways it was very glamorous.” she says of her modeling life. “I lived in a hotel suite. But food was just not a subject anyone discussed. Not once was I asked if I’d eaten.”
The issue has long haunted the industry going back to the 1990s when the waif look swept fashion and helped launched models such as Kate Moss. But in recent years, even those standards of thinness no longer seem to apply.
The scandal erupted anew in June 2008, when Czech supermodel Karolina Kurkova was blasted by the Brazilian press for appearing on the runway in a bikini with back fat, love handles and cellulite.
Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr also caused a stir when she was photographed recently looking “shockingly” thin.
The controversy over Kerr’s emaciated look came less than a week after the fashion industry was rocked by another scandal over model Filippa Hamilton, 23.
A veteran of dozens of fashion campaigns and magazine covers, Hamilton was allegedly fired by fashion house Ralph Lauren for being too fat. She is 5’10” tall and weighs 120 pounds, measurements that she says are essentially unchanged since she was 15.