In case we need more reasons to keep pre-pubescent girls off high fashion runways, the new film “Girl Model” exposes how far recruiters go to pick the youngest, most impressionable specimens to groom into the potential Next Big Thing.
“Girl Model” goes behind the scenes of a model search in Siberia, where scout (and former runway walker) Ashley Arbaugh leads a team of inspectors through a lineup of impossibly skinny, pale hopefuls. She sets her sights on 13-year-old Nadya Vall, who gets shipped off to Japan to start her career. “They love skinny girls in Japan,” Arbaugh says. “She has a fresh, young, face, she looks young, almost like a prepubescent girl.”
Alone in a country whose language she does not know, Vall is told to say she’s 15 when she goes on casting calls. The trailer closes with Vall sobbing, crying out for her mother.
“Girl Model” premiered at the South by Southwest festival last week; it screened at the Toronto Film Festival as well. It’s due for wide release in the U.S. later this year.