Melissa Walker

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 Melissa Walker

551953556_06be6ab887_m.jpg There’s a new story that resonates with Ali Michael’s tale in the news this week. Gerren Taylor, now 17, is a former model who was discovered at age 12 on the streets of LA and thrust into fashion’s brightest spotlight on the runways for Betsey Johnson and Tommy Hilfiger and in a print campaign for Marc Jacobs (we even booked her for a solo well fashion shoot at ELLEgirl). By the time she was 14, her career was over. She’d grown a bit, and was deemed “too big to model.” Her mother even says she was called “obese” by the New York fashion world when she hit a size 4.
Size FOUR, people! And we’re talking about a 6-foot-tall teenager.
You can learn more about Gerren’s story in Darryl Roberts’ documentary, America the Beautiful, which I am definitely going to go see soon. And read the full story that inspired this blog post here, in the St. Louis Times.
I really do hope that stories like Gerren’s will help people realize how damaging our ideas of “perfection” and “beauty” can be for the young girls who sacrifice their own self-worth to create the images we like to look at. I’m guilty of admiring many things about the fashion world, but this thinness issue is its greatest shame.
Tonight at 9pm EST time (6pm Pacific), I’ll be chatting live with readers on the readergirlz forums. I’d love to discuss Gerren and Ali Michael and other issues–we’ve been having great “image” talks all month! So please join us if you can and say hi!

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  1. Alea says:

    I’ll have to look into that documentary! Thanks for sharing this. That’s really horrible about how that girl was treated. I’ve never heard a story that severe about the fashion world before! I knew they existed but this is a real person and not just a story you hear about models in general.

  2. oh my gosh, that is soo awful. way to ruin her self-esteem. it’s really said how we are always looking for the “perfect image” instead of seeing the beauty within.

  3. You are just too amazing for words. I’m eternally impressed by the ways you add dimension, integrity and conviction to the model-skinny issues. (And YES! I’m starting VIP tonight…cannot wait.)

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