Is a Ban on Super-Skinny Models Violating Their Rights?

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," September 21, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: "Back of the Book" segment tonight, there's great concern all over the world that little girls are imitating ultra-thin fashion models and starving themselves. It is quite apparent the fashion industry wants skinny models to wear their clothing. I could never figure that out, but then again, I've never been a model and I don't buy that kind of stuff.

Anyway, Spain and England have said enough, and they are banning models who are too thin. These countries actually have a height-weight chart.

With us now, Robin Hazelwood, a former model, graduate of Yale University and author of the book of "Model Student: A Tale of Coeds and Cover Girls".

You were here a few weeks ago, and we talked about your regimen when you were a model. I want to just know go over that again. But I also want to know, do the modeling agencies, the bookers as they're saying, the people who get you jobs on the runway and collect the fees and all that, do they suggest that you eat a certain way?

ROBIN HAZELWOOD, AUTHOR, "MODEL STUDENT:" Well, they do to a certain extent. I mean, they'll certainly be the first to tell you if you need to cut back and you need to lose a few pounds.

There's kind of a double standard. They won't say starve yourself but the trend now — just so people understand, to put it in perspective — the trend now in fashion models, I would say these models are 10 to 15 pounds skinnier than the Cindy Crawfords, the Claudia Schiffers, the Elle Macphersons. Those models today, they'd be told by a fashion designer, "Hey, come back when you've lost some weight."

O'REILLY: How tall are you?

HAZELWOOD: I'm 5'9" and a half.

O'REILLY: OK. So you're a pretty tall lady?


O'REILLY: At 5'9" and a half, you would weigh 135, 140 if you were a normal height-weight chart.


O'REILLY: Just a regular person, you get the chart from the doctor and you're 5'9" and a half. It's 130, 135, in that range.

HAZELWOOD: That would be a slim person. Yes.

O'REILLY: OK. But if you're a model, they want you to come in at 120.

HAZELWOOD: If you're a model, you should come in at 120. But these girls, what we're seeing with these girls, is they're well below 120.

O'REILLY: So OK. Who...

HAZELWOOD: You were talking about an eating regimen. They don't have one.

O'REILLY: Who does this, though? I mean, who thinks this is going to sell clothes?

HAZELWOOD: Well, you know, it appears to be selling clothes.

O'REILLY: Really?

HAZELWOOD: Well, you know, I don't know. You'd have to ask the designers whether or not it's working. The people that — where this is caused, in Germany, is from a few people in the fashion league.

Vogue magazine is hugely influential. Anna Wintour is notorious for liking ultra-skinny models in her pages of her magazine. They have a lot of power.

O'REILLY: She's skinny. Did you ever see her?

HAZELWOOD: She's also skinny, too.

O'REILLY: She's got cavernous cheeks. All right. So you think that the trend setters like Vogue magazine and other people...

HAZELWOOD: And the designers.

O'REILLY: ... they hire ultra-skinny models.


O'REILLY: But I don't know why. I don't think it's particularly attractive. I know guys, you know, most guys like regular-looking women. I don't get it.

HAZELWOOD: You might think that and I might think that, but the problem is that young girls are so susceptible to that.

O'REILLY: There's no question. They have bulimia. They're throwing up in high schools. They're eating lettuce 24 hours a day. And that is the danger.


O'REILLY: And that's why Spain and England acted. Should the United States do the same thing?

HAZELWOOD: Well, I think regulation like that is pretty difficult. I mean, you can imagine that there would be quite a reaction against something like that, you know, having the government impose regulations on height and weight for fashion models.

But what I do think should happen is I do think it's good we're having this conversation. I'm glad they did this. Because now there's more of a public outcry. People are asking questions about this. The people that can make the difference are the people I mentioned before. Those are the only ones that are going to make the difference.

O'REILLY: Yes, I mean, I agree with you that the Anna Wintours — is that how you say her name?

HAZELWOOD: Anna Wintour.

O'REILLY: Whatever. All of those people have got to wise up. I mean, because I'll tell you what. I don't know anything about women's clothes, thank God. I only have five pairs of shoes. That's the kind of guy I am.

But as just a human being, I don't want to see a woman who's 5'9" and 110 pounds.


O'REILLY: That's not attractive.


O'REILLY: And if Anna thinks it is, she's wrong. I'll give you the last word.

HAZELWOOD: And I think like anything else this trend is going to play itself out.

O'REILLY: All right. But it's been around a long time, and there's a lot of young girls imitating this crazy stuff.


O'REILLY: Robin, thanks very much. We appreciate it.

Read Robin's book. It's very entertaining.

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