Last week, we posted the first two installments of filmmakers Sara Ziff and Ole Schell’s Cut-exclusive, three-part mini-series about the modeling industry. Each webisode takes on a topic Ziff and Schell tackle in their documentary, Picture Me, which opened Friday at Angelika Film Center. Youth, money, and exploitation are common threads both in the feature-length film and parts one and two of the mini-series; the third and final segment, not surprisingly, investigates issues of weight, body image, and racial diversity (specifically, the lack thereof). Says Ziff, “At BCBG, I was struck by the homogeneity of the cast of rail-thin, tall, blond models. When I was one of the models walking in the shows, I saw the subtle differences between us, but it’s eerie how similar the models look from a distance. En masse, they look like interchangeable, disposable clothes hangers — not memorable individuals.”
Models Vanessa Perron and Amy Lemons and journalists Derek Blasberg and Elizabeth Wellington all weigh in on the topics, which the tall, Caucasian Ziff admits she never gave much thought before now: “Nobody talked about it, and only recently have model friends opened up about the pressure from their agencies to prevent their young bodies from developing naturally.”
Her big hope? That agents, casting directors, and other industry types who actually can make a difference will. “When I went on castings, sometimes I would see notes on my schedule specifying ‘no ethnic girls.’ If this happened in any other business, it would be grounds for a lawsuit,” says Ziff. “But in fashion, it’s considered a matter of taste.”
There’s more where this came from!
• Exclusive Video: Model Sara Ziff’s Picture Me Trailer
• Picture Me Mini-series, Part One: Youth
• Picture Me Mini-series, Part Two: Abuse