On a rainy Wednesday evening in the middle of June, Sunshine Cinemas was bright with flashing bulbs as photographers snapped pictures of a gaggle of impossibly tall, impossibly beautiful women. The angelic onslaught was not a coincidence: they were all there to see a special screening of Girl Model, a documentary by Ashley Sabin and David Redmon that was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Girl Model follows a 13-year-old Siberian girl who wins a modeling competition and is whisked off to Tokyo, where a modeling agency has promised her fame and fortune.
The documentary paints a grim, Dickensian portrait of the unpleasant, exploitative working conditions endured by some the world’s most attractive people; the situation depicted is not at all uncommon, and the audience, made up of dozens of models—blondes, brunettes, the occasional redhead—was rapt.
After the credits, French model Rachel Blais addressed the room. Her struggles are featured in the film, and she has become a spokesperson for better treatment for fashion models, traveling to screenings and other speaking engagements. Because of her outspokenness, she noted, she is now treated like a pariah. Read More