THE REAL LEAN: Many working models need no reminder that thinness is still prized in many echelons of the fashion industry, but Snezana Pisar inadvertently hammered home that point via TikTok.
The Miami-based model posted a video of herself last month working out at a gym with the caption, “POV your modeling agent says you’re not skinny enough for Paris.” Convinced that she was quite skinny – at 5ft, 11in and 135lbs – and that there was no way she needed to lose weight, the model heard from a lot of people immediately afterwards. The post gained one million likes in 48 hours.
Today, with 5.2 million likes and comment streams, the video continues to draw attention. “That was what was going on in my life right now, and I was just like, ‘Why not post it?'” she explained on Tuesday, adding that she wondered so many other girls were going through the same thing, especially the models who worked in Paris.
“A lot of girls have reached out and said they definitely have eating disorders because of the industry. It’s basically because they’ve been told they need to lose weight, which is very sad. Health is wealth. I don’t think that’s the right thing to do,” Pisar said.
According to a 2017 study by researchers at Harvard University’s TH Chan School of Public Health and Northeastern University, 62% of models had been told by their agencies that they needed to lose weight. The prevalence of eating disorders is a global problem that more than doubled to 7.8% of the population in 2018 from 2000, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
From Pisar’s perspective, role models need to speak out more to raise awareness of the issue. “I feel like the industry is changing, but it’s very slow. In some countries like France, it will be harder to change. Paris is just notorious for having really skinny models to be able to work there,” she said. “As in my case, if you don’t want to have health problems, maybe Paris isn’t for you. There are other markets where you can work.
The video showcased potential deals, which the Serbian-born model has yet to commit to, except for one. Pisar hopes to walk the runways during New York Fashion Week.
She is represented in the US by the Walk Collective, but her agent there hasn’t told her to lose weight to be a more of a contender for Paris Fashion Week. Another agent, whom she declined to identify because she continues to work with them, had recommended weight loss. “As role models, it’s up to us to decide what the right decisions are. They can always give us their comments and opinions. It is perhaps a fact that for Paris, you have to look a certain way. But no one will force you to do anything. It is up to us to make these decisions. Unfortunately, there are girls who are ready to do anything to succeed. Most of the time, it’s younger girls who start. They might think it’s cool because of the lifestyle. But I hope that will change. »
The Daily Mail highlighted a similar weight-related incident experienced by Arisce Wanzer, a black trans model, in a recent article. The 25-year-old Los Angeles-based model said in a TikTok video that at 6ft and 123lbs, she was told she needed to lose 10lbs. Although Pisar doesn’t know her, she said, “It was crazy. She is even taller and weighs less than me now. But she was still told that she was too tall.
Wanzer’s manager, Max Shifrin, said she hadn’t taken any modeling gigs following the Daily Mail coverage. Her last assignment was a bridal assignment for Radleigh + Sage in partnership with Monique Lhuillier.