Isabelle CaroIn 2007, anorexic French model Isabelle Caro famously posed for an anti-anorexia billboard for a shock awareness campaign of the dangers of eating disorders in Milan during fashion week. Today, various media outlets are reporting that Caro has died in Japan, after a two-week hospitalization for a lung infection. Her age was listed as 28. Isabelle Caro stood 1.64 metres, but weighed only 31 kilograms, when she disrobed and allowed herself to be photographed by celebrity photographer Oliviero Toscani in 2007. The ad campaign highlighting her emaciated figure drew immediate worldwide attention. After her 2007 photo session, Caro told German magazine Stern that she felt like ‘an ambassador for anorexia.’ The photo session provided her with heightened media awareness. She first suffered symptoms of anorexia when she was 12 and endured several hospital visits after nearly starving herself to death. ‘You’re stuffed with awful food like a fattened goose. You’re forced to gain weight,’ she said once. ‘And as soon as you’re released, you lose all the weight again. At least that’s the way it was with me.’ In a 2007 interview with CBS’ The Early Show, Caro talked about her struggle to gain weight, and the fact that she would often draw freckles on her face: "If they’re looking at my eyes… they’re not looking at the rest of me," she said. She also told of the time she’d been in a coma, and how she’d once weighed as little as 55 pounds. Isabelle CaroTwo years ago, she released an autobiography titled The Little Girl Who Didn’t Want To Get Fat. The thought-provoking photos of Caro were simultaneously an awareness campaign, but also advertising for an Italian fashion line, Toscani, who also photographed AIDS patients and dead soldiers for the campaign.

In March of this year, Caro appeared on Jessica Simpson’s The Price Of Beauty. She told Jessica and her friends that she started modeling as a teenager, but a casting director told her to lose weight. (You can watch that clip here.) Caro may not have been a professional fashion model, but she did end up being an important figure in the fashion world, and put a face, a real body, on eating disorders. So much of eating disordered behavior is about secrets and hiding, and Isabelle Caro made a deliberate choice to be extremely visible. And she was. Sometimes we throw around the word "anorexic" without realizing what we’re really dealing with and talking about; Isabelle Caro made it painfully clear. Article excerpts by Celebuzz and Jezebel. Celebuzz article referred by Lauren Johnson. *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      *      * I’m shocked by Isabelle’s death – just a few days ago I was reading about her wonderful work in bringing awareness to eating disorders. Isabelle was brave, open and honest with the world in showing the struggles of an anorexic woman trying to recover. Although it was a lung infection that Isabelle died from, her eating disorder may have contributed by hampering her body’s strength, ability to heal and immune system. She will remain an important figure and symbol of how complex eating disorders are and how fatal they can become. Eating disorders are extremely misunderstood by the general public, which is seldom exposed to the harsh reality that sufferers endure. Hopefully, in her absence, there will be more people willing to come forward about their struggles so that we can continue to push for awareness of these diseases. Isabelle will truly be missed.