Models don’t eat?

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This post is one I would have been pretty curious to read a few years ago.
The fashion industry and modelling has been something I’ve been interested in since I was little, but the topic of food is always a tricky one to combine with it. Especially in the nineties when the thin and petite Kate-Moss-like frame was all the rage, the question  ‘Do models actually eat?’ began to come up a lot more frequently.

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On set for Mimpikita, with the beautiful Nina Kashuk (@nina_kashuk)

I mentioned it in previous posts, but since earlier this year I’ve been more actively involved in modelling than before. I used to just have a job every now and then if I was asked directly, but I didn’t go to castings and never met other models. I had little insight into the ‘real’ modelling industry. That has changed and I’ve witnessed a lot more, specifically regarding food and models.
I never believed those interviews with models who claim to eat pizza and chocolate all the time. Surely there’s no way that’s possible, I thought.
My opinion now?
Models don’t eat. They nibble.
I’ll explain what I mean, since I’ve become guilty of it too.

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Me with lovely Anna Shirokova (@anyashirokova)

 I’ve had my own issues with eating in the past, but I like to think I’m pretty healthy now. I eat good food and I work out, although I do admit that some days I drink a little too much coffee. However, I don’t punish myself like I used to and I can look at my body and see that I’m not big. It also helps that I’m more into modelling that doesn’t require me to be a clothes hanger, so I don’t feel the same pressure to have a certain hip measurement like other girls do.

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Backstage at Gaya Koleksi Raya 2017, with Carol Andrade (@macarolandrade)

So what do I mean by models nibble?
The thing is, on days when I know I have work I am very aware of my body. I train a little extra and during photoshoots I portion out my meals throughout the day so I don’t get any bloating that looks strange in pictures. Hence; I nibble.
I eat little things that keep me from getting too hungry and I’ll have a coffee to boost my energy. Is that healthy? Probably not, if you do that every day.
On a set I won’t really eat much, since I’m busy. You go into hair and make-up, so no chance to eat there, and then you go into styling. During the photoshoot there is no eating either. If I get a break, I’ll make sure to eat something light and healthy that keeps me going.
I do always end a photoshoot with a good meal, or I’ll eat a larger breakfast the next day to compensate. To me, that doesn’t really scream ‘eating disorder’, it’s just taking my job seriously. It’s not exactly professional to turn up to a shoot all bloated from a big meal.

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Backstage for KLFW promotion, make-up by Bobbi Brown

Then there’s the shows.
I’ve been doing a few more of these recently, and I noticed a couple of interesting things. A lot of the time, people involved in these shows have the assumption that models don’t eat. Therefore, there’s no food provided for us anyway. Yay.
In Europe, they would get food in large quantities for all the crew and staff involved. This would usually be pizza, the disgusting kind, and when the models had a chance to grab something to eat it was already cold.
Not to mention; a lot of it would be gone anyway by the time we had a break. The staff and crew involved all ate the same food, and they would get breaks earlier than most of the models did. I’d be so hungry I didn’t even care, and we would just share whatever was left. These shows would also be in super remote areas, with no stores or restaurants around to get something quick.

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Rehearsals for Madwalk 2017, Athens

In Malaysia, I have to say we were much better prepared. My booker gives me a heads up before every show to pack snacks and extra water just in case, and at our last show she brought us extra food we could eat on the go.

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Thank you Candy

With the shows, you’re also on a pretty tight schedule. You have timeslots for hair and makeup, rehearsals and of course the shows itself. If you run late for whatever reason, whether that’s people wanting to take a photo with you or a designer requesting an extra fitting, that time gets taken out of your break.
And you wonder why some models get a little cranky.
When your makeup is being done, again, you can’t really eat. The MUA’s also have their job to do, just like you do.  I’d usually get a protein shake or juice to sip on, to keep my energy up and stay hydrated. I learned the hard way that what really gets you is lack of water. I’m prone to migraines when I’m dehydrated, and that is no fun when you have to walk 6 shows in one day.
Trust me.

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Don’t even. I know what I have on my head. 

I’ve also learned to befriend kitchen staff at every event. At shows, guests are very well taken care of. They either paid for a ticket or were invited to be there, so it’s expected they are well looked after.
There’s always a kitchen around somewhere with food and drinks for the guests, and I’d politely ask if they had some extra food for the models. Every single time I’ve asked so far they would give me a plate, or tell me to just take whatever I wanted from the snack table. At the last show I did there was no water provided, but the kitchen had a filtered iced water dispenser. They filled up my water bottle about ten times a day, and I’m eternally grateful to them for it.

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Sweet baby Jesus these were good. Mariott Hotel Kuala Lumpur, during Revolusi Aidilfitri 2017.

I also stuffed napkins with little snacks into my bag, so I’d have something to eat in case I felt faint.
I’ve never been prone to fainting in my life, but after standing in high heels for 3-4 hours waiting to get started in a non-air-conditioned room I’d say I got pretty damn close.


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Incredible hairdo by team Miko at Gaya Koleksi Raya 2017. Make-up by tean Laura Mercier.

So do all models have eating disorders? Absolutely not.
There is also most definitely truth to the statement that models eat pizza and chocolate all the time. It’s the food that’s easiest to get, it’s usually provided at shows and you have to share. You’re so busy working, rushing from one place to another, you just eat whatever and whenever you can.
By the end of the day around 10 or 11PM, we were all starving and exhausted.
I’d be so tired I would just head over to 7/11 for a sandwich or I’d just go straight to bed. I’ve definitely noticed that on my work days, I eat a lot less than I normally would.


Elle Malaysia at Gaya Koleksi Raya. Walking for Studio 133 Biyan (@studio133biyan)

The nibbling is not intentional; it’s just something that comes with the schedule. Another thing to keep in mind is that a lot of the young girls don’t have any real income and will rely on pocket money from their agency or their parents to buy food.
It gets expensive real quick to buy healthy things like fruits and nuts in a decent portion size, so chocolate bars are just the better option for less money.

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Make-up ready, thanks to Shiyo Joo (@Shiyojoo)

I hope this post gave you a little insight into what and how models actually eat during work hours.
This post isn’t meant as hate towards the modelling industry, by the way. I might have some bad experiences, but I’m not about to bite the hand that feeds me –pun intended-
I do like my job, a lot. I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t, and in order to do it a strange eating schedule is sometimes part of what I do. I can tell you I ate a lot unhealthier at my last job, where I could go up to six hours without having a bite to eat or a sip to drink. People just care a lot less about the diet of hospital workers than the diet of fashion models.

And honestly, I can’t blame you. It is intriguing.

Speak again soon.

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Much love,



Proof I eat:

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(Credit goes to Faliq, @faliqfahmie)

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