I am a writer and guest blogger for Ryerson’s unofficial newspaper, “The Eyeopener” and I continue to write features and profiles on Torontonian events and personalities. Feel free to peruse the links below, and check out my old Blogspot - http://natalieast.blogspot.com/
News Article: “Get Laid not Screwed”
News Article: “Staying Awake Without the Bull”
“Fashion Blogs Killed the Magazine Star”
“Feed The Models”
by Natalie Ast
Models are running around, sometimes barely clothed, as dressers help them get into creative and conceptual garments. The girls spend hours in the makeup chair while their hair is teased and hair sprayed into elaborate styles. They finally get their high-heel shoes on, and are sent onto the runway, where they must ignore the flashbulbs of photographers and present the clothing to potential buyers and critics. After their last pose, they must return backstage and repeat the process over again, sometimes numerous times a day. This is LG Fashion Week, and like any show, the atmosphere backstage is draining and demands a lot of energy. To function, we need food. This staple was overlooked at LG Fashion Week and prompted a petition to “Feed the Models”.
The Fashion Design Council of Canada oversees LG Fashion week in Toronto. Two weeks ago, starting on Mar. 28, Canada’s top talent in fashion design presented their collections at the Allstream Centre at the exhibition grounds. During the five day event, the organizers did not provide food for the models. Three models from different agencies, Oksana Orel, Leah Christ and Elyse Saunders collaborated and decided to bring this issue to the forefront in creating a petition that protests the lack of food. The petition was signed by over 400 people in the fashion industry, including fashion journalist, Jeanne Beker.
“Our goal is to get the FDCC to include feeding the models into their fashion week budget, and to be assured that every model will have food accessible to him or her during future fashion weeks,” says Orel, 20. Orel is a collaborator on the petition, and creator of the Facebook group, which currently has over 600 members.
For years, Fashion Week in Toronto hasn’t been catered. Food was provided for volunteers at Fashion Week, and the hair and makeup team from L’Oreal Paris had food as well. Certain designers like David Dixon, Comrags and Pink Tartan provided food for their models at Fashion Week. Stacey McKenzie, one of Canada’s most famous models, heard about the petition and donated food for the models as well. This was the eighth Toronto fashion week Orel has walked for, and she has been meaning to raise awareness on the issue for a while. Orel says, “I do not tolerate any mistreatment of models, as I have been in this industry long enough to experience some [bad treatment], and I know that it is both not right and not necessary.”
In response to the petition, the FDCC released a general statement on their blog, stating that they will look into the issue and will try to resolve it for the future. The president of the FDCC, Robin Kay has been the target of a lot of flak from the Canadian fashion industry. The statement on the FDCC blog was vague, and didn’t directly address the issue. Deirdre Buryk, 21, is a model and an intern for the FDCC during LG Fashion Week. She says, “It definitely wasn’t intentional. It was a new building and they were unaware of the fact that models weren’t getting any food because food wasn’t accessible.” The new venue was isolated from areas to grab a quick bite, and many models were stuck backstage for hours, day after day. Buryk says that many models brought their own food and water to the shows.
Public opinion tends to propagate the stereotype that “models don’t eat”; therefore, a shortage of food backstage does not seem to be a problem. “I think it’s a joke. Every single model I’ve met does eat. For myself, I’m a very healthy eater, but some models eat junk food like crazy,” adds Buryk.
Nutrition is important for everyone, including a fashion model. Beth Gould, 44 is a registered dietician and says, “The best way to keep energized throughout the day is to eat every three to four hours, three of the four food groups: milk products, meats and alternatives, fruits and vegetables, and grains at every meal, and healthy snacks between meals.”
Orel is active and likes to jog, swim and do Bikram yoga. She tries to maintain a healthy diet which includes Indian chickpea curry and lentil soup, but she does admit to indulging once in a while. “I also love watermelon and mangos. In junk food, I have a sweet tooth and love all sorts of cookies,” says Orel. There are rumours that supermodel, Chanel Iman is also into sweets and cookies, and is further proof that models do eat, and occasionally indulge.
Breeyn McCarney, the Starving Artist in a Hard Boiled Wonderland
by Natalie Ast
Profile: Annie Clark