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Lily Collins: Fashion Industry Needs Reality Check on 'Too Thin' Catwalk Models

Lily Collins Grazia magazine

Actress and model Lily Collins says the fashion industry still hasn’t kicked its obsession with ultra-thin models. (Photo: Grazia mag)

Lily Collins has had a front-row seat at fashion shows around the world and does not like what she sees. She says the fashion industry is still fixated on “extremely small girls” and needs another reality check on encouraging health weight models.

France led the way two years ago when it passed a law banning “too thin” models on fashion runways.


The law was designed to combat anorexia and targets both the fashion and media industries with strict penalties for promoting excessive dieting.

Lily Collins To the Bone

Lily Collins was criticized for losing weight rapidly to play her character, an anorexic girl, in her latest movie, “To the Bone.’ (Photo: ScreenCap)

Even so, size-zero models are still the most sought after.

The fashion industry became obsessed with ultra-thin models during the 1990s when “heroin-chic” became the hot new trend personified by the “waif look.”

It has yet to kick the habit, says Collins, daughter of UK musician Phil Collins.

Collins, 28, who worked as a model before becoming an actress, called France’s law a “really important” step.

Models must have a body mass index, or BMI, of at least 18 to walk in fashion shows. In a swipe at fashion publishing, lawmakers also decreed that magazines must include a statement that an image has been manipulated when it is published.

Despite all that, it’s clear the industry still hasn’t gotten the message, she says.

“You do watch fashion shows and you do see extremely small girls walking down the runway, and a lot of them are really young and haven’t become women yet,” she told The Hollywood Reporter.

It’s like their body shape hasn’t changed. Some girls look like they’re about to pass out. I think there’s still a conversation to be had there about runway sizes,” she added.

The controversy hit home with Collins after she starred in her latest movie, “To the Bone,” about a woman who battles anorexia, an eating disorder that causes people to starve themselves.

She was criticized for her rapidly losing weight to play the role. Anorexia victims, she says, have been unfairly stigmatized.

“I hate that because you just don’t know if someone is struggling. I was a victim of that when I was losing the weight for this movie,” she says. “I was photographed looking a certain way, and all of a sudden it was like plastered everywhere, and I wasn’t allowed to talk about the movie yet.”

Anorexia and its sister eating disorder, bulimia, are rampant in the modeling and acting professions, but also prevalent among young girls, according to reports.

Experts say between 5 percent and 20 percent of people who develop anorexia eventually die from it.

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