Entries in Models (3)


Thai Airline Calendar with "Maxim" Models Has Officials Steaming

Nok Air(BANGKOK) -- The low-cost Thai airline Nok Air is bringing new meaning to the phrase, "Fly the Friendly Skies" by hiring scantily clad Maxim models to show off its fleet of planes in a series of photos in a promotional calendar. But the Thai Ministry of Culture is speaking out against the calendar, saying it tarnishes Thailand's image.

The models are dressed as flight attendants posing in front of the planes as part of a promotion on the company's Facebook page. In one of the pictures, the models are in yellow bikinis, yellow being the official color of the airline.

Those who participate in the promotion will receive the 2013 calendar, which the airline hopes will boost ticket sales.

The airline is known for its unconventional marketing tactics to promote its flights throughout Thailand. In 2011, Nok Air admitted to hiring only flight attendants who were young in order to rejuvenate the brand.

Nok Air CEO Patee Sarasin defended the calendar in an interview to news media, saying the women used in the photos were not actual Nok Air staff.

"It was supposed to be a gift to our customers, and so far the campaign has received positive feedback, increasing the number of passengers. There were so many viewers that the webpage crashed," he told a Bangkok newspaper.

"The airline business has always been seen as sexy globally," Sarasin told a travel web site. "That is why our planes...appropriately become the background of these models."

Sarasin also said, "given what the public is exposed to on a daily basis, we believe that we have not crossed the line."

But, the Ministry of Culture is trying to diminish that exposure, and change the nation's image in a society where prostitution is accepted and the ministry has lodged a complaint.

"The campaign focuses on the country's bad reputation regarding sex services, and an image that other organizations have been trying to change," said the ministry.

A 2004 estimate by Dr. Nitet Tinnakul from Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University found that Thailand had 2.8 million sex workers.

Although they're not happy with the message it sends, the ministry admits they can't take any action against Nok Air because the company hasn't broken laws by producing the calendar.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Israeli Law Bans Skinny, BMI-Challenged Models

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(JERUSALEM) -- A law that regulates people's body weight would probably get little traction in Congress, not to mention U.S. courts.  But not so in Israel, where a new law took effect on Jan. 1 that aims to prevent fashion models from losing weight to the detriment of their health and the well-being of others inclined to follow in their footsteps.

Israeli lawmakers adopted the legislation in March 2012, stipulating that fashion and commercial models should have a body-mass index of at least 18.5.  A 5-foot-8 adult weighing 120 pounds, for instance, has a BMI of 18.2, disqualifying her -- or him -- from pursuing a modeling career in the country of nearly eight million people.

It is also called the "Photoshop law" because it demands that computer-generated changes to make models appear thinner be noted along with the images.  Although the law targets adults in general, it is clearly aimed at female models.  Eating disorders mostly affect young women.

Images of thin fashion models are not the only factors contributing to eating disorders, but one doctor specializing in treating them says they do nothing to help her patients get better.

Dr. Adi Enoch-Levy, a psychiatrist who treats people with eating disorders at the Safra children's hospital in Tel Aviv, cites the perception that "thin is beautiful" and its influence on impressionable young females.

"It is a known fact that there is a genetically inherited cause to eating disorders," Enoch-Levy said.  "In spite of that, observations show that eating disorders have spiked in number together with the exposure to the modern media, the same media which brings to many homes the fashion shows and commercials.  It is also a fact that mainly anorexia cases have appeared in societies not previously exposed to images of the 'ideal physique.'"

Israeli fashion photographer Adi Barkan initiated the legislation to regulate fashion models' body weight.  His inspiration: Hila Elmaliah, an anorexic friend and model who weighed 60 pounds when she died in 2007.  His subsequent campaign against the fashion industry culminated with the passage of this law by the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, early last year.

Not everyone was on board, however.  Shai Avital, owner and CEO of Elite Israel, one of the most successful fashion model agencies in Israel, says the law is unnecessary.

He says that many of the most successful models he represents in Israel have a BMI higher than the legal requirement.  He says he will abide by the law and is prepared to present medical proof of his models' BMI.  But he also defends thin models whose careers he says could be over through no fault of their own

"The law disregards the fact that some models are thin due to genetics and nothing they would do would increase their BMI to the legally accepted level," Avital said.  "This law ends now their careers.  Israel is today the only country where a body weight legal control is in effect and this is not necessarily something to be proud of. "

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Asian Models All the Rage in Fashion World

Fernanda Calfat/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- From the top designer shows in New York to ads for the all-American brand J. Crew, a new group of supermodels is taking center stage. Move over, Heidi, Gisele and Naomi, and make way for Du Juan, Shu Pei and rising star Liu Wen.

Wen was a ubiquitous presence at New York Fashion Week this fall and was the most-booked model of color at this year's Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.

She was the first Chinese model to walk a Victoria's Secret runway show, which is usually dominated by blond bombshells.

Wen, 23, was among a group of models recently featured in a Vogue article heralding the rise of Asian models. The headline -- "Redefining Traditional Concepts of Beauty" -- quickly spawned controversy.

"They said a new crop of Asian models from China, South Korea and Japan is redefining traditional concepts of beauty," said blogger Jen Wang. "That's a little bit like Vogue saying, 'It's 2011 and we finally think Asian women are beautiful.'"

Wang is cynical about the trend and said it is driven not by a new appreciation of Asian beauty, but by a pure profit motive -- the booming buying power of the Chinese consumer.

"I think the fashion industry is starting to take note and starting to put people who represent that market into their pages," she said.

In cosmetics alone, the Asian market is poised to become the world's largest, growing to $85 billion a year.

Estee Lauder recently jumped on the bandwagon, signing Wen as its first Asian "brand ambassador," joining the ranks of Elizabeth Hurley and Gwyneth Paltrow. A native daughter like Wen might unlock the door to China's enormous market.

"I think Estee Lauder should be celebrated for signing someone like Liu Wen to be their first Asian spokes model," said Joe Zee, creative director of Elle magazine. "A modeling contract is a holy grail for any model. To have an Asian face represent that, a whole 100 percent Asian born and bred face represent that, that's amazing."

Liu Wen has come a long way from her home village in China's Hunan Province. After winning a modeling contest, she was discovered by French stylist Joseph Carle.

"When I saw her I thought she's a Chinese Evangelista," said Carle. "She can do so much with such excellence and she can create an intimacy with the readers, too, because the readers want to identify with the girls."

Wen demurred when asked if she thought she had ever been passed over for work because she was Asian, and the barriers loom large. Critics say all-Asian castings -- as in Givenchy's haute couture show last fall -- reek of exoticism. It was the same criticism leveled at Vogue Italia for its so-called "all-black" issue.

"Unfortunately, it plays into the stereotypes that Asians all look alike," Jen Wang said of the Vogue spread. "Because the models did all kind of look alike."

Indeed, British Vogue's recent article about the rise of Asian models misidentified Liu Wen as a different Chinese model.

Zee said this line of criticism was justified.

"There's something to be said about grouping a bunch of Asian models together," Zee said. "I think that it feels almost like a fad or a trend, versus something that just feels like a melting pot of beauty."

Wen thinks the widening lens of beauty is more than an "it bag," and added that she doesn't care whether the trend was about diversity or the market.

"I feel the world is smaller, and the fashion world is getting bigger for any girl," she said. "Before you have black girl, white girl. Now you have kind of yellow-skinned girl. So it's Western meets Eastern."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio