For fear of being blacklisted, runway models don’t usually speak out about the pressures of staying thin, often dangerously so, to conform to the expectation of the fashion industry. But Swedish model Agnes Hedengardis speaking out about just how unrealistic those standards are for women.
Hedengard, who is 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs 125 pounds, recently posted a video on YouTube called “Too big for the industry.”
“I don’t get any more jobs because the industry thinks I’m too big,” says the 19-year-old, who, with a BMI of 17.5, is medically underweight. “They think my butt is too big, and they think my hips are too wide.
“According to the modeling industry, you cannot look like this. You need to be thinner,” continues the model, dressed in just her underwear. The video has over 3 million views since being posted Aug. 24, and over 2,000 comments.
Hedengard’s career began when she was scouted at a festival in 2010, at the age of 15. Though agencies still contact her for jobs, they back out when they see her measurements.
“I made this video because I wanted people to know how sick the industry is and that something has to change,” she tells Metro. “Because a big part of the model industry thinks that a body like mine is ‘too big.’”
The first time she was told to lose weight was at the age of 17. The pressure from her agent was so intense that Hedengard would experience panic attacks. Sometimes she’d stop eating after hearing feedback like that, and though she never developed an eating disorder, “I have anorexic thoughts. Thoughts where I find myself bigger than I actually am. I see a very different picture of myself in the mirror, and I guess that’s not so normal.”
Hedengard says the obsession with the too-thin “ideal” has been around the fashion industry for a long time, but no one is questioning it.
So, why do models have to be so thin? “I don’t know, actually,” Hedengard says. “The only time measurements should be taken is when clients are going to make clothes to fit your size, instead of making you change to fit into the clothes.”