Feature

Isabelle Caro, 1982-2010

The model who warned that you can be too thin

Fashion model Isabelle Caro wanted the shocking images of her wasted body to serve as a warning to young women about the dangers of anorexia. Her gaunt frame, images of which have circulated widely on the Internet, “is everything but beauty, the complete opposite,” she said. But not everyone heeded her message. After news of her death became public, her photo appeared on an Internet forum beside the caption, “Die young, stay pretty.”

Caro, whose Nov. 17 death at age 28 was announced in late December, “struggled with anorexia since she was 13,” said the London Independent. Her low point came in 2006, when she was hospitalized in a coma, her 5-foot-4-inch frame weighing only 55 pounds. Born in Marseille, France, she began modeling during high school and was told by her agency to lose 20 pounds. “Despite her obviously frail physique,” she was never told to gain weight.

Following the death of a young Brazilian model in 2006, Caro agreed to pose for an anti-anorexia advertising campaign, sponsored by the fashion house Nolita, said The New York Times. Posters of Caro, her face “emaciated, her arms and legs mere sticks,” appeared on billboards in Milan as its 2007 Fashion Week commenced. The billboards provoked an international outcry and were banned by an Italian advertising watchdog agency. But Caro remained unapologetic. “The idea was to shock people into awareness,” she said.

Caro served as a judge on a French version of America’s Next Top Model and wrote a memoir, The Little Girl Who Didn’t Want to Get Fat, published in 2008.

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