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Countries consider banning models who are 'too skinny'

3:16 PM, Feb 18, 2013   |    comments
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LONDON - Israel has officially outlawed models under a certain BMI. Now, other countries and agencies are thinking of following suit.

Every photo shoot is a personal victory for Israeli model Margaux Stelman. Her sister, also a model, died from anorexia - the eating disorder. But Stelman, 21, found out that she can work at the highest level and not starve herself.

"I thought modeling had a very sad thing to it, but now we're brining the healthy models back," Stelman said.

Israeli law bans them from working if their Body Mass Index - a combination of height and weight - is less than 18.5. That is, less than 118 pounds if you're 5 feet 7 inches. It also prohibits advertisers from publishing digitally-manipulated images without a clear, written warning that the pictures you are seeing are PhotoShop'd.

"A child who looks at the TV and wants to be skinny without any reason, just because they saw beautiful and skinny girls - that we can change," Adi Barkan, a fashion photographer, said.

Barkan was an iconic fashion photographer until one of his models died in his arms from anorexia. Shocked, he put down his cameras and reached out to hundreds of sick, young models, offering help.

"I know 60 girls that, without me, they are not here," Barkan said.

Barkan eventually pressed politicians to pass the world's only law that protects the vulnerable from fashion's dark side. Now, some Israelis leading the charge say they're coming to New York in April to try to persuade top fashion companies to ban super-thin models there as well.

(Copyright © 2013 NBC Universal, All Rights Reserved)

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