60 pound Model Dies From Anorexia

Hila weighed 60 pounds. My 7 1/2 year old daughter weighs 50.

A fashion model stricken with an all too familiar disease of anorexia. But this time, a friend was at her side. Adi Barkan documented Hila’s struggle, and sent shock waves out to the fashion world, by showing the reality of this situation in one still photograph.


Fashion photographer Adi Barkan is shown cradling Hila Elmalich in a still from a video shot when the model fell ill. (Gil Sadan/Tamar Golan Film)

There’s not much more to say here. Either the fashion industry is going to step up to the plate and make changes, or they are going to continue on their merry way in this deadly game they are playing.

You know what I thought when I saw this photograph?

How, for the love of god, can one be a part of an industry so full of themselves? How do you sit in an audience and stare up at these young women who are clearly not well, and focus on the clothing? Why do clothes, and prestige, and beauty mean this much in our society?

Bless Mr. Barkan’s heart for leading the effort in Israel to change fashion standards for the past three years. Your friend will not die in vain, she will be with you as you carry on in her name.


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23 Responses to 60 pound Model Dies From Anorexia

  1. Haris says:

    Anorexia nowadays became a standard (from what i see) many models want to be thin with ‘anorexia diet’ that’s wrong, diet means reducing amount of your meals, not reducing time of eating nor eating at all.
    Fight anorexia


  2. Michelle says:

    One glance at that photo and I didn’t think it was real. He looked so much ‘bigger’ than her. She doesn’t seem proportionately accurate to him. I wish this world could somehow change. But, I have my doubts that it will.

  3. Rachel says:

    How, for the love of everything good in this world, can the fashion industry sleep at night?

  4. Kelley says:

    I think a huge problem with the fashion industry is that most models careers are built around their ability to diet successfully (i of course do not mean successfully=healthfully, im just referring to keeping their body weight down)
    So it would seem that while theres still all these size zero models jockying for position in the fashion world, its hard to change the standard.

    Its all excuses though, i think the worst ones ive heard are “it costs more for extra fabric, so we make sample sizes for the runway as size zeros or smaller”

    One thought though, to blame the fashion industry for models, or average girls, eating disorders, is oversimplification. I think alot of the time these girls who are already have a predisposition for body image or eating issues are drawn to seek careers in the media.
    Of course thats no excuse for the sick standards there are, its just the ‘chicken or the egg’ question.

    Sometimes i wonder if western culture will ever be able to reverse this sort of brainwashing we’ve undergone.

  5. Leos Tomicek says:

    Fashion industry is like Atlantic slavery. Africa is full of black people to be sold for plantation owners and the world is full of girls willing to sell their life for fashion. In fact fashion industry is step ahead since the suffering is voluntary…

  6. sarah says:

    i sold my life for fashion. now i doubt i’ll ever get it back.

  7. Lily says:

    I looked the video up, it made me cry and very little ever makes me cry these days. This shows were eating disorders often end up. No one talks about it, no one hears about it. If family members die due to their ED or complications from it it is often not even written on the death cert. I hope that at least this girl’s death and the fact that a high profile fashion photographer is involved will highlight this problem and BURST THE BUBBLE of
    thin = glamour

    Eds are not glamourous, some ppl like to create that image,often those with EDs themselves. They are liers. And they are playing a very dangerous game.

    They are harming not only themselves, their family and friends, but society as a whole – the are perpetuating the illusion of glamour and they are spreading ED’s diseased ideas.

    Lily xxx

    Ps. Take a look at this, I hope it opens some people’s eyes


  8. apple says:

    It’s so sad to see that this keeps happening and most countries still don’t have BMI and age requirements for runway AND photo shoots.
    On the other hand it’s uplifting to see a man in the fashion industry campaigning for healthier standards.

  9. naomi says:

    the link is broken :( so i couldn’t see the story.

  10. mamavision says:

    Hi Noami: I fixed the link to the story, thank you for notifying me that it was broken.

  11. mamavision says:

    Hi Lily: Thanks for the link, I have added it to the memorial page here. I have been meaning to do this so I am glad you drew our attention there.

    When you scroll through all the candles lit the magnitude of this problem comes to light. All the “regular” girls (not famous or not models) that dies every single day need to be recognized.


  12. Rachel says:

    Harris writes: “…that’s wrong, diet means reducing amount of your meals, not reducing time of eating nor eating at all.”

    Actually, you’re wrong, also. The term diet refers to what you eat on a daily, consistent basis. Dieting is the process by which you restrict food intake.

    And it’s also a fallacy that anorexics do not eat. While many do engage in periods of fasting, most anorectics eat; they just have extreme rules governing what and how they eat.

    We can begin to “fight anorexia” first by fully understanding the disease.

  13. sarah says:

    i guess, as a young girl who “suffers” from this, i am confused.

    I went to a casting call a couple of weeks ago. the lady told me i had the perfect body type for modeling. I, of course, was thrilled as i had been starving myself for too long just to hear that comment. today at school, a counselor called me in, saying she knew about my issue as probably did every other teacher at the school and encouraged me to get help before it was too late. if modeling makes me so happy and is my life, yet i have a school counselor calling me in and telling me this which highly embarrassed me.. i don’t know what to do. i feel extremely confused.

  14. Amber/vanity900 says:

    I feel bad abut this fact, and i know that it sounds just horrible…but no one in the fashion industry cares, and a number…not a name. Its happened before, it will keep happening. Its VERRY sad. And to Sarag…I feel your pain, life just sucks like that.

  15. Rachel says:

    Sarah – if you have to starve yourself in order to have the “perfect body type for modeling,” then maybe the profession isn’t for you. Trust me, starvation and malnutrition has serious physical risks far beyond weight. Malnutrition altered my brain chemicals so drastically that even while I was the skinniest I’d ever been, I was suicidal.

  16. Josie says:

    Sarah – Rachel’s right. Also your body type will not stay perfect if you remain ill, especially if you get refed. Body fat on anorexics redistributes so that it piles in one place (usually the stomach or love handles) and there’s all the other not-so-pretty things, like hair falling out, bruising, nails falling off… the list is endless.
    It takes quite a while usually for those kindof bad-looking things to appear though, and trust me, they will. If you want horror stories of unattractive things EDs can do, i’m sure i and the others can oblige.

  17. sarah says:

    i feel like i’m being portrayed as a “wannarexic” here. maybe it came off as sounding that i didn’t want to eat so that i could be a model. that’s not it at all, though yes it is one of the factors. i have been struggling and in and out of therapy for three years now, i just happen to be a good liar. its not as if your horror stories can all of a sudden scare me. I wish SO badly that i was still at that point. I’ve already been through them. thanks for trying to help though.

  18. Cristina says:

    Well I suffered from Anorexic since the age of 14 and currently went into treatment last year at the age of 26. So I can’t say for everyone else what it was like, but for me I know that my experience was the best yet the worst ever. And it’s not like you “choose” to have an ED, but some people disagree. Yes, you have choices, but sometimes your head is telling you to do X and you do X because it convinces you to even when X is the worst decision ever.

  19. Josie says:

    Sarah – don’t worry, you don’t come off as a wannarexic.
    Just, yknow, you KNOW you’ll look extremely unatrractive at times, and it may cost you your job, but would it be worth it?
    Like this
    not ideal for modelling!! And then, is modelling worth it? Is it such an amazing career that you’d be willing to risk your health, sanity or even your life for it?

  20. empty_girl says:

    the video link just keeps advertising a honda dealership…

  21. Rachel says:

    Sarah – Perhaps the reason you’ve been “struggling” in therapy for so many years, is because all the work you do in therapy is negated by the modeling world. I think that if you’re serious about recovery, you have to distance yourself from those factors that work to undermine your therapy, like modeling. Really, how do you expect to recover from an eating disorder while simultaneously working in a field that places such scrutiny on your body, what you weigh and how you look?

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  23. Aemilia says:

    Anorexia has been splattered across tabloid covers. America has it’s fatties, but I would rather be fat than anorexic. It kills me to watch fellow classmates at high school struggle through this. I just wanted to shove food down them!

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