N.Y. Lawmaker Calls for Ban on Too-Thin Models

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," January 31, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: In "Big Health": skinny models. They represent what is considered beautiful in our society and what many women aspire to be. But constantly being photographed on the catwalk puts pressure on them to do whatever it takes to maintain that bony, pallid, rail-thin look. And that puts them, and those who look up to them, in danger.

OK, good so far. Nobody is for starving models.

But now a New York lawmaker is alarmed by waifish models and is calling for new laws to establish weight standards for underage models — the fist such ban in the United States. Joining me how is Sara Albert, a model, and a contestant on last year's reality series, "America's Next Top Model."

So, Sara, this is about to be law in the state of New York, that you can be actually illegally skinny. What do you think of this?

SARA ALBERT, MODEL: I think that having extremely skinny models definitely promotes an unhealthy image and lifestyle. It might promote eating disorders in young women. You know, models are role models, whether they like it or not. However, I am a little bit unsure about making that law, especially with a focus mainly on models and weight restrictions on them.

GIBSON: Didn't a model die recently from essentially starving herself to death?

ALBERT: Yes, a model from Brazil. She was 21 years old. She actually died.

GIBSON: This is her picture right now.

ALBERT: Yes, it's very sad. You know, back in September Madrid was the first to take action. I am happy that this issue is finally getting the attention that it needs in the U.S.

GIBSON: Well, look, we see these skinny models, but we don't see every runway show. I don't go. You are more involved in it, or were. Is this really the problem that this lawmaker is making it out to be?

ALBERT: Well, it is definitely a very big issue. However, you may hate them, but there really are skinny girls out there. Just having a body mass index restriction is not a tell-all for health. It can actually be employment discrimination.

GIBSON: Did you find this a hard life to keep up with, this kind of thin standard?

ALBERT: For me, in particular, I definitely felt a lot of pressure to be thinner. I am taller; I'm 6'1". I'm taller than the average model. It really is a numbers game. You need to fit the measurements of the designers. I just, with my body type it is natural for me to be a size zero. So there is definitely that pressure out there.

GIBSON: Sara Albert, formerly a model, talking about the skinny models, it may be illegal. Sara, thanks very much. We appreciate it.

ALBERT: Thank you.

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