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October 25, 1991 - Image 26

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-10-25

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

by Daniel Poux
Daily Food Columnist
Fashion models: they're ev-
erywhere you look, in magazines,
newspapers, even auto shows.
They have great smiles, beau-
tiful hair, and bodies that defy
gravity and the imagination.
How can they maintain those
fantastic bodies, you wonder,
and still eat, let alone eat
That was the question in my
mind when I began this story.
What kind of diet must a model
follow to maintain a "look that
I spent hours on the phone
and fax machine, begging mod-
eling executives to let me talk to
a model - any model.
After trying unsuccessfully to
arrange an interview with one of
the "supermodels" working for a
big-name modeling firm in New
York City, I decided to take a
more local slant, and called
Trudy Zelazny, the fashion direc-
tor for Saks Fifth Avenue-Fairlane
in Dearborn. She put me in
touch with a prominent Detroit
area model, Gina Dellicolli.
Gina has been modeling for
15 years, mostly in print adver-
tisements for Saks and other
Detroit-area department stores.
She explained that she has
horrible eating habits, and rarely
eats three meals a day. The day
before I spoke to her, she had
not eaten all day. For dinner, she
had chicken and rice, and a cin-
namon bun for desert. "I love
chocolate and sweets, especially
cinnamon buns," she said.
"When I eat them, I don't eat
anything else."

She was quick to point out
that this was not a normal day's
diet for her. Her boyfriend is a
personal fitness trainer, she ex-
plained, and has encouraged her
to eat healthier, stop smoking,
and exercise for ninety minutes
three to four times a week.
Still trying to nail down an in-
terview with a famous model, I
called the Wilhelmina Modeling
Agency in New York. I was able
to speak with Holly Hammond, a
model who has worked for
441 0R T
Andrew Levy - Daniel Poux
Wilhelmina for more than a
decade doing shows and photo
shoots in New York, Germany,
Italy and Switzerland.
Describing an "average day"
in her diet, she said she never
eats breakfast - only coffee with
cream - and is frequently too
busy to have a balanced lunch,
usually stopping at a sidewalk
fruit stand for bananas or apples.
Sometimes she fills up on a big
salad, with pine nuts, avocados
(both big sources of fat) or hard
boiled eggs. For dinner, she fre-
quently eats whitefish - like hal-
ibut or sole - broiled with
lemon, herbs and butter. While
she doesn't like chocolate, Holly
explained that she has devel-
oped a taste for sweet candies,
and has been eating a lot of
gummi bears lately.
She stressed that she has to
be vigilant about what she puts

into her body, because she is vi-
olently allergic to sodium; even
in small quantities, salt makes
her face swell up, and this condi-
tion has resulted in cancelled
shoots on several occasions. "It's
tough when I go out to restau-
rants, because you can request
no salt on an entree, but you
never know how careful the chef
is," she said. "With me, it's not
just a matter of personal discom-
fort - it's a matter of working or
not working."
The models' comments were
interesting, but I wanted to get a
better idea of how good - or
bad - their eating habits were. I
took my information to Anita
Sandretto, a lecturer in Human
Nutrition in the University's
School of Public health.
Together, we fed the models' vi-
tal statistics and food intakes
into a computer program to find
the strong points and weak
points in each woman's diet.
The models gave me their
height, weight, and age, and
Sandretto and I assigned each an
"activity level," based upon their
lifestyle and amount of exercise.
The program used this informa-
tion to compute Recommended
Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for
each model - the amounts of
protein, carbohydrates and vari-
ous nutrients they need to con-
sume every day to maintain a
healthy body weight and
Looking at the data, Sandretto
had several important concerns.
If these models really do eat like
this on a regular basis, they
could face several serious health
problems down the road, if they

are not dealing with them
Calcium. The diets of both
models were severely lacking in
calcium, especially Gina's, whose
meager dinner supplied only

enough calcium in their diets.
Carbohydrates. Gina and
Holly came up very short on
their RDA of carbohydrates, and
none of the three were getting
enough of their total calories



B&. aa: £U aB YV £ 1

Nutrient levels are followed by percentages of how much
each model fulfilled her individual RDAs
Name: Gina Dellicolli
Age: 35 Weight: 118 lbs.
Heights 5'8" Activity level: high (4 out of 5)
Oane-day diet:
3 oz. chicken - roasted
1 cup white rice - boiled
1 cinnamon bun
Calories: 528 (24%) Carbohydrates: 70.1 grams (22%)
Protein: 32.1 grams (75%) Calcium: 66 milligrams (8%)
Food Philosophy:
"1 have horrible eating habits. I love chocolate and sweets - especially
cinnamon buns. When I eat them, I don't eat anything else."

Name: Holly Hammond
Age: 29 Weight: 125 lbs.
Height: 5'9° Activity level: high (4 out of 5)
One-day diet:
1 cup coffee with cream
1 apple 1banana
4 oz. whitefish - broiled with butter and lemon juice
1 medium salad:
2 cups green lettuce 1/2 carrot
1/2 cup celery I oz. pine nuts
1/2 green pepper I hard boiled egg
I Tbs. Vinegar and oil dressing
2 oz. gummi bears
Calories: 1032(48%) Carbohydrates: 126 grams (4
Protein: 51.8 grams (114%) Calcium: 486 milligrams (61%
Food Philosophy:
"With me, it's not just a matter of personal discomfort - It's a matter
of working or not working.




only eight percent of her RDA of
Calcium is an vital nutrient in
every person's diet, and lack of it
can lead to osteoporosis, a bone
disease that frequently affects ag-
ing women who did not have

from carbohydrates. This is ex-
tremely important, because it
means that their bodies are be-
ing forced to burn off precious
protein reserves for energy.
The body can easily burn
carbohydrates for calories, but

mal- ,orn to
col .eqe can save on

protein is a very inefficient en-
ergy source. Consequently, their
bodies must work harder to keep
their metabolism going, and
protein that should be used
repair and maintain muscle t
sue is being wasted.
Calories. Both models ate
less than one-half the number of
calories their bodies need
(based upon their height, weight,
age, and activity level) to main-
tain their current weight.
Sandretto pointed out that this
could seriously affect their
metabolism. "Either the
women have been deprivini1
their bodies for so long that
their metabolisms have slowed
down to deal with it," she said,
"or they're constantly losing
weight, which is hard to believe."
So on calcium, carbohydrates,
and calories, these models came
up very short. It is hard for me
to believe that any person cou
live on such a meager diet, ev,
if their livelihood depended on
it. Eventually, these bad eating
habits will catch up to them.
Sandretto cautioned me, how-
ever, not to put too much stock
in my data, since collecting food
intake for only one day does not
give a very accurate picture of a
person's eating habits.
"Ideally, you would do
multi-day food diary that c
lected food intake information
on both weekdays and week-
ends," she pointed out. "You
could also repeat this diary pro-
cess several times over the
course of a year, to see if the
person's eating habits changed
with the seasons - especially
with these women, who model
swimwear during certain seaso
and may be trying to lose some
extra pounds."
In fact, the eating habits of
most models are probably worse
than the two that I interviewed.
Gina and Holly have been
modeling for years, and have
settled into relatively stable
eating patterns, after realizing
that, if they want to continue
modeling, they have to stO
healthy. According to them,
many of the younger models are
eating even less.
"When I first got started, I
thought, 'oh, I'm a model, I have
to be really skinny,"' Holly ex-
plained. "Most girls just starting
out don't know any better.
"They start doing shows, and
then somebody tells them
watch what they're eating. Th
freak out, and start starving
I asked Gina and Holly if they
considered themselves good
role models for young women
today. Holly's response shed
some light on what she saw as an
encouraging new trend in the
"You have to realize that i
not just a matter of being real y
skinny - if you're too thin,
you're not going to look good in
a bathing suit, and you're not
going to get booked," she said.
"A lot of clierts today are
complaining that the models
look too skinny. The whole
'Twiggy' period is definitely
I asked my nutritionist frier

Anita Sandretto, the same
question, and received a much
different answer. She said that,
while these women may be con-
sidered role models, anyone-as-
piring to their fashionable
physiques must realize their own
physical limitations.
"To be a model, a person
must have the bone structure t"
photograph well," she explaineP
"She's got to have the right
shape legs, the right ratio of hip
size to shoulder size, and a great
face. These are all inborn fac-
"Frequent exercise and a
good diet will support all these
features, but if all the women in
your family' are 5'2" and well-
rounded, let's be realistic."
So what did I learn? Two
fashion models did not eat very
well one day last week. If these
women eat like this all the time,
they could seriously harm their
bodies. And most fashion mod-
els were, probably born with
great bodies, which renders this
column irrelevant.
Next time you're flipping
through a magazine, munchi9
on a candy bar, and you come


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