The Perils of Fashion Modeling

We’ve all seen the girls in the Victoria’s Secret magazines and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. Who wouldn’t want to look like that? They’re slim, tan, fit, and utterly sexy – in many ways, the physically perfect woman.
But people aren’t perfect, and while looking great is a worthwhile goal, some women are starving themselves to achieve a particular measurement: size zero. Based on a set of measurements equaling 31 – 23 – 32, size zero may make complete sense if you’re a petite 5-foot-tall elfin beauty, but most fashion models are required to be 5’9″, making a 23-inch waist measurement almost obscene. Many models have died after battling eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia to achieve these measurements – not glamorous at all!
So how can we look like swimsuit models without dying like fashion models? Good question! The trick to a fit, lean, HEALTHY body has less to do with measurements and more to do with the question of body composition. Body composition essentially amounts to the ratio of body fat to muscle within the human body – in general, fat + muscle = total weight. So a person with 35% body fat is going to look a lot heavier than a person with 12% body fat, EVEN IF those two people weigh exactly the same amount. It’s entirely possible for a woman who weighs 125 and wear a size 6 at 25% body fat to drop to a size 2 and 17% body fat WITHOUT LOSING A POUND.
Especially for women, lean muscle mass does not automatically lead to a “ripped,” overly masculine physique. On the contrary, muscular women tend to be sleek and streamlined, with beautifully defined legs and abs. Because muscle burns more calories than fat, the addition of lean muscle mass will actually make it harder to gain fat in the future – which is great news for most of us!
Rather than focusing obsessively on measurements and numbers, women wishing for swimsuit model bodies should focus on strength training, lots of playful running, jumping, and outdoorsy fun, and a healthy diet that restricts carbohydrates to 150 grams per day or less. Science is showing more and more often that insulin spikes caused by carbohydrate intake lead to fluctuations in blood sugar and increased fat gain, so grab a hard-boiled egg and skip the toast!
Remember, beauty equals health, and following a fashion model’s diet of lettuce and diet coke may make you thin, but it won’t make you shine. Look to the girls at Vicky’s Secret – one of them recently got flack for showing a little bit of back fat at a runway show, but she is glowing and smiling and looks 5,000 times hotter than any anorexic size zero sweetheart. Guys around the world agree: you want to look like her, not them. Trust us.

Fashion photographer Ara Hovsepian makes his living off of beautiful girls and their clothes, so trust him when he says enough is enough! For more of his thoughts on fashion and fitness, visit

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