A 14-year-old Russian model, Vlada Dzyuba, reportedly died of utter exhaustion and chronic meningitis following a gruelling 13-hour Asian fashion show in Shanghai. However, recently, ESEE – the Chinese modelling agency that was representing her – has came out and denied all allegations of them overworking the teen model.
After the Shanghai Fashion Week, Dzyuba travelled to Yiwu, a city south of Shanghai, but her modelling shoot was cancelled because she began feeling dizzy and unwell. Upon returning to Shanghai, she was taken into a hospital but her condition quickly deteriorated. She died only two days after. The Siberian Times alleged that Dzyuba died of meningitis compounded by severe exhaustion.
ESEE Chief Executive Zheng Yi stated that she had worked a legal eight hours a day during her two months in China before her death and continued by saying, “Dzyuba had 16 different jobs during her two-month stay in China, she had regular breaks while working. Most of her work was completed within eight hours. Her workload was moderate compared with other models.” However, sources have claimed that Dzyuba only earns approximately RM35.20 a day after paying all expenses on her own.
This is just a reminder on how toxic the fashion industry can be, and how it’s disguised by its perceived cool and glamour. The whole situation is also giving us flashbacks on the 2012 documentary Girl Model.
The documentary is an exposé on the industry’s practice of scouting and employing young European teen girls and sending them off to Asia. Most of these girls are sent far from home for the first time and upon arriving, language immediately becomes a problem. Even though they live with other teen models, the agency will foster up a competitive climate that causes them to be so reluctant to talk to each other. This also results in them normalising things that are not normal all in the name of being a legendary supermodel with lots of money. Which usually is not the case, as the unfortunate passing of Dzyuba has proven.
On another serious note, here’s why you need to stop eating meat and dairy products