TRIGGER WARNING: Eating disorders, dieting adriana_limaIt’s not an easy gig. The annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show (televised Dec 1) is watched by approximately 8 million people, with its supermodels strutting around in tiny lingerie. A 10 million dollar production, the pressure is on. They’re under a microscope and are expected to look absolutely flawless. When some models are asked how they meet these standards, some models just say they have good genes. However, the truth may be far from that. Brazilian Victoria’s Secret model Adriana Lima has opened up about the vigorous routine she goes through, which starts weeks before the actual fashion show or any other major event. Her routine includes a vigorous exercise schedule with a trainer and working with a nutritionist who measures things such as muscle and fat mass and water retention levels and gives her vitamins and supplements. There is also a period where the model will not consume any solids and a shorter period where not even liquids are consumed. Sophia Neophitou, a British fashion editor who is chief stylist for this year’s Victoria’s Secret fashion show, says, “It’s harder to be a Victoria’s Secret model because no one can just chuck an outfit on you, and hide your lumps and bumps.” I respect Adriana for speaking about her routine, as I’m sure she’s received some criticism. And I respect that she shows that it is very hard work – instead of claiming that it is effortless. She is being honest about how demanding the industry is and the scrutiny the models are under. However, I wish she would talk about the dangers of it and advise against it as well. Like any career, there are expectations that you have to live up to. However, just because it is part of a job does not make it something to aspire to or most importantly, safe or healthy. The techniques ARE dangerous – models can (and have) pass out from hunger, exhaustion or dizziness. Nowadays, there are many runway designers that won’t even allow models to walk unless they have eaten beforehand, for their safety. It seems strange that a company as high-profile as Victoria’s Secret would not have such practices in place to protect their models, or at least see that their models are using healthier and more balanced routines before the events. As a company, I would think that association with this routine would be very negative press. Perhaps Adriana coming forward about her routine will get the public going and force the company to watch their models more closely. Perhaps even to use larger models, as some designers have started doing. There is also a danger in models coming forward about their habits. It is possible that exposing extreme dieting tricks might inspire women instead of scaring them. Models such as Adriana are fortunate because they have the resources to work with specialists to oversee their health and make sure that they are getting vitamins and nutrients to compensate for their dieting. However, the average person does not have access to these resources. Even with the help of a professional nutritionist, these techniques are hazardous to one’s health. But when implemented without medical supervision, they can be deadly. Special thanks to Lauren Bersaglio, founder of Libero (an eating disorder, depression and addiction help website) for pointing out some of the concerns associated with this routine! We do hope that this exposes the danger of the modeling industry and what goes on behind the scenes. It’s not all glamour and it can be life-threatening. Dieting and exercising of any sort should be done with a well-rounded, healthy routine as part of a balanced lifestyle.