My Uncensored Point of View

There has been quite the commotion over the recent articles about me in the New York Times and The New York Daily News. As only a few select statements of mine were printed I find it necessary to properly express my point of view, without outside editing.

I'm a 21 year old model, 6 inches taller and 10 sizes smaller than the average American woman. Yet in another parallel universe I'm considered "fat"... This was the subject of major discussion this week and the story that was spun was: "Coco Rocha is too fat for the runway".

Is that the case? No. I am still used and in demand as a model. In fact I find myself busier than ever. In the past few years I have not gained an extreme amount of weight, only an inch here and there as any young woman coming out of her teenage years would.

But this issue of model's weight is, and always has been of concern to me. There are certain moral decisions which seem like no brainers to us. For example, not employing children in sweatshops, and not increasing the addictiveness of cigarettes. When designers, stylists or agents push children to take measures that lead to anorexia or other health problems in order to remain in the business, they are asking the public to ignore their moral conscience in favor of the art.

Surely, we all see how morally wrong it is for an adult to convince an already thin 15 year old that she is actually too fat. It is unforgivable that an adult should demand that the girl unnaturally lose the weight vital to keep her body functioning properly. How can any person justify an aesthetic that reduces a woman or child to an emaciated skeleton? Is it art? Surely fashion's aesthetic should enhance and beautify the human form, not destroy it.

There is division in the industry in this regard. Although there are those who don't consider a model's wellbeing, I have had the honor and privilege to work with some of the greatest designers, editors, stylists, photographers and agents who respect both new and well established models alike.  I know there are many others out there who I haven't worked with who also agree with me on the stance on this issue.

The CFDA has tried so very hard to correct these matters. As of a few days ago at their annual meeting they found everyone in the room in agreement on changing the sample size as well as booking models over the age of 16. It's great to see how many people's hearts are in the right place because we must make these changes for the next generation of girls.

As a grown woman I can make decisions for myself. I can decide that I won't allow myself to be degraded at a casting - marching in my underwear with a group of young girls, poked, prodded and examined like cattle. I'm able to walk away from that treatment because I am established as a model and I'm an adult... but what about the young, struggling and aspiring models?

We need changes. I'd prefer that there would be no girl working under the age of 16, but if that has to be the case then I'd love to see teens escorted by a guardian to castings, shows, and shoots. The CFDA has set codes in place for their members and I'd love to see the entire industry follow. Society legislates a lot of things - no steroid use in sports is one example - its only reasonable that there be rules of conduct to keep the fashion industry healthy.

In the past, models have spoken out on this issue, only to be accused of saying something because their careers were on the brink of extinction. This is not so in my case. I actually first spoke out about this two years ago at the peak of what a model would consider the ideal career and indeed there was a reaction -  those who were the worst offenders suddenly asked me to work for them! This was a public relations ploy and I wasn't prepared to fall for that. I said "No, lets go a few seasons, lets see if you change, then I will work with you". They didn't change. I haven't worked for them.

Of my generation of models I'm exactly where I need to be in my career and I'm grateful to use my position to actively speak out against this with the support of the CFDA and Vogue. My sincere hope is that through our efforts young models will one day be spared the humiliation, the risky weight loss, the depression that comes along with anorexia and the misery of abandonment by an industry ashamed to see them turn into actual women.

There are natural human standards in how we treat one another and how we treat children. There are those who continue to trample on these standards but there are also champions of a better way. I hope that the continued efforts of the CFDA and all those who hold these values in regard will sway the opinion of those on the opposing side of the industry to ensure a true change for the better.

Coco Rocha


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Bullie named Moses said...

a billion zillion thank yous!

Julie L said...

bien dit !
on est avec toi à 100%

the girl with the satchel said...

Hi, I'm a 14 year old inspiring model, and I would like to thank you for speaking up, I really admire you for it, you have always been my faveriote model , and I didn't think I could like you more untill you spoke up, thank you for making a change xxxxxxxx

Anonymous said...

i really enjoy reading your blog and this entry is really great: smart, honest, unpretentious, self-aware, and instructive. i love following fashion and what designers are doing but i generally find the culture of that world really off-putting and repulsively self-important. it's fascinating how you manage to engage fully the fantastical aspects of your job description and yet demand an integrity within it that doesn't come off as self-righteous or hopelessly entitled. (for example i think it's critical that you state that you're "six inches taller and ten sizes smaller" than the average american woman... it's so important that you acknowledge where you're talking from)
anyway, watching you navigate all this is an inspiring "model" for people in many different professions. congrats on what you're doing and the grace and intelligence with which you're doing it!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your work Coco, and best of luck.

PS Love your strong, unique modelling style!

Anonymous said...

I'm just wondering why the sample size has to be changed? I know a few models who are very tall and thin without starving themselves.. Its the reason why the look became popular, some people are just naturally tall and thin, if you aren't.. Deal with it or find something else to do.. Or do the jobs that accept bigger models. What will happen to the naturally skinny girls who aren't starving or throwing up? They'll either lose their jobs or have to force themselves to eat more than usual which I'm sure is just as unhealthy as not eating. Just doesn't make sense to force girls either way. And you have to admit that it just looks better on the runway and in pictures. I like pictures of girls with boobs and butts too, I think we just need to find a place for both.

Anonymous said...

i agree ! congratulations (:

Siouxsie said...

You are an inspiration, I'm a HUGE fan of yours, and when I found about all this, I was outraged. You are a beautiful woman, and it make me support you even more that your putting your view on this serious issue out there. As a model myself I understand the pressure. Stay strong ma!

mAdi*cakes said...

I love that you have spoken out. I love that so many of these comments are from models and aspiring models. These people who think that one must be a skeleton are insane! Women scientifically have breasts! Theyre supposed to be there. Even if theyre the size of a fried egg, theyre there. They have hips. A normal person has a body. Being a model does not exclude one from normalcy. And you have done a wonderful job of standing up for what you believe in. KEEP IT UP! youre cutting up this industry, sewing it back together, and you can make such a difference. You could even host a seminar or class for models on how to be healthy and feel beautiful and still model. I know right now, you may just into blogging, but I do commend you for everything. Way to go, girl. Im gonna be praying for you.

shleyyy said...

Well spoken!
This is so refreshing to hear from a top model in the industry. You've been there, you've seen it. Keep fighting for this and there will be change!

Mandy said...

I think models in the fashion industry are lucky to have such a strong, smart and articulate representative such as yourself standing up for them right now. Bravo Coco!

Shina Park said...

coco you are amazing
i don't understand why people say size 0 is fat etc etc
way to stick up for it!

Fashion is my profession said...

Coco, you have the whole reason, unfortunately we know that nothing is going to change, the fashion industry will be still equal let's say what we should say. A pity.

"hi, i'm ginnybranch stelling and i love love." said...

this is so wonderful and i am so, so pleased you spoke out on this issue. i have a wonderful, beautiful friend who was modeling in new york, but quit when at 6 feet tall, 120 pounds they told her she was too fat for high fashion anymore and wanted to shove her into a plus-sized modeling agency (where most girls are a size 6 or 8, and the agencies lie and say they are a size 8 or 10). it is just so unfortunate what the industry demands these days.

but congratulations on having the courage to address this growing problem, and also for acknowledging that establishments like CFDA are trying to regulate and rectify this issue.

also, congratulations on your engagement- how exciting! the best is yet to come!!

Anonymous said...

I don't know you but reading this makes me so proud of you. Well said, well argued and very much well pointed out of your facts.

Keep the fighting spirit.

vla* fashion frontier said...

i'm so glad there are people in the world like you! who makes other people feel better, letting them know they are still pretty just the way they are! no need of changing, no need of losing weight, it's so insipiring to read a fashion model and to actually see her as a "model" a role model i should say, i was overwhelmed by that story as well and i wrote about you and your strenght against losing weight in vain!!! well is in spanish but i guess you can read it if you like, xoxo

Glowing Doll said...

You do Canada proud with your eloquent and thought provoking posts.

Maybe one day years from now our descendants will look back at all of this and think it impossible that the world could be so easily duped by a handful of stubborn individuals.

What I find most alarming are the numbers of 'casual' anorexics, people who only starve for special occasions etc.

It's crazy to think that they don't even realize that they have a problem.

Spam Names said...

Thanks for speaking out. Here's my own story about a famous photographer who suggested some whittlings-downs and carving-ups:


potenta said...

nice article...:)

Carolyn said...

I couldn't agree more... wow what a brilliant statement to the world.. it is about time women spoke out about this theme... ALL WOMEN ARE BEAUTIFUL... but it is the competition amongst us and the media that kills our beauty! If only we opened our hearts and teach each other how to look and feel great... the whole world would look different! A healthy woman is a beauty; but a healthy woman with a mind, class, and determination is an inspiration. That should be the new staple!
Glad finally someone dares to speak out!

Anonymous said...

The world has officially gone MAD!!? This is truly a sickness that has effected the vast consciousness of the western world. A world where children as young as six have eating disorders. Where models, the people we a raised to believe, thanks to mass media are the ideal aesthetic figure have died backstage from starvation
How wonderful would it be if the women of this world all took an official stance together and said ENOUGH! We refuse to buy into (AND BUY ANY PRODUCTS REPRESENTING THIS) this sterilized unhealthy self emaciating mass produced cookie cutter image that advocates already extremely beautiful women need to starve and manipulate themselves to fit a imagined ideal Created from a mind thats more than likely geared to the desirability of other men. Women designers and magazines mindlessly following this trend which has lead to so many deep seated issues and disorders for women of this world- For shame. If you want to check out a life affirming positive gorgeous girly website check out www.galadarling.com this is not mine but is just to good not to share-Spread the love I am on twitter though if you feel like an uplifting message for the day- follow msjjf (missfit)lots of love xox Its time to celebrate diversity!

Katie-la said...

All I have Ever wanted was to be in the industry. Either as a model or photographer...or both. Who knows. I have lost over 100lbs in the past two years. I have applied to model several time with people or companies looking for "plus size" girls (though I've lost 100+ lbs I'm still a size 8. Well into the "plus sized" range.) I continue to loose weight and know that I am more than average looking, I don't know where to start. This is all new to me, but I thought I'd start with asking you since you're, well you..lol..and I used to help Pam house sit when you were on your early shoots. Probably have no idea who I am though, it's alright. Plus sized shoots or audition information in the Vancouver area whould be More than appreciative :p Anyways g'night

Katie-la said...

In response to "Anonymous" on 2/27/10 at 7:02 PM
I met Coco when she was 14. I have Never met anyone female who was taller or anyone who was naturally skinnier than her. If she is "too big" to model there is seriously something very very wrong. If size 6 is Fat what is skinny? Seriously! I spent my life trying to get to 6...I FINALLY did and found out I'm still "fat". When is it enough? And enough for who? Makes your head spind when you think on it. SO I won't, g'night.

Unknown said...

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The article of this blog very informative and useful also.It resolves many problems of mine.
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my_name_is_coco said...

Coco..I don't care if they say you are fat or a has-been (which I think are nutty ideas).once I become a fashion designer,I will start a revolution of having models with minimum of size 6 and with curves.I am tired of seeing too skinny girls in the runway.some dresses will look realistic and lively with a model who has ample bust or butt,but a skinny girl is chosen to wear it for the sake of marketability.fashion people,please!let's be real here.I prefer livelier bodies who can really "carry" the clothes.I still love and adore you,coco....I am very happy with your engagement. XOXO

NYtoSF said...

I have no idea if you will ever read this but I am writing an essay for school on the topic of child modeling and it would be great if maybe I could interview you in some way but I have no idea how to do that, and I understand you are really very busy. I plan to use this blog entry for background information in my essay but I would really love to hear more of your thoughts on this issue. Thank you!

{ aggie } said...

"The leading cause of death among fashion models is falling through street grates."
— Dave Barry

Tabatha said...

This is easily the most considered and intelligent argument I've ever read concerning the weight debate. Kudos Coco- and all the best to you and your beau.

Ashley Owens said...

Wow, I have so much respect for you. It's been apparent from the beginning that you were different and I applaud you for being who you are. It's an incredible thing to see someone stand up for what is right and be independent in an industry that is so tough. I chose to stay away from modeling because I couldn't handle the poking and prodding at 15, and since have felt the need for the industry to change. I hope that you continue in your beliefs and that many will follow. Now in my twenties I hope to help the industry change from the stance as a designer and stylist. It's so refreshing to see someone like you out there as a model.

Specially love the truth of the statement "the misery of abandonment by an industry ashamed to see them turn into actual women." How true.

You are a very intelligent inspiring woman, all the best.

Anonymous said...

I have just been signed with an agency and already feel the pressure to lose. I'm only 14. I would be considered up to 10 pounds overweight for a model. But I'm not going to lose anything. You're awesome Coco :)

Clare Sutton said...

I just read your blog, alone, with a full heart and tears streaming down my cheeks. I am 37, and a mother of two little girls. I started dieting at nine, and recovered from a rampant eating disorder at around 27. I dabbled in some modelling when young, and I am afraid for my daughters of the pressures they will face in the future.

Thank you for your strength and intelligence. Your beauty is in every pore of your being, and I offer you my heartfelt thanks.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Coco for your honest and reasonable opinion on the issue... I'm happy to hear there are some bright minds in the industry. God bless.

Zarine said...

Hi, I'm so impressed with what you have said and, more importantly, I'm glad that you have made your views on this topic known.

It's important for people to realize that models are NOT just clothes hangers (nor should they look like them), and that they are not bodies to be whittled away at.

Like so many others, I think you are a stunningly beautiful woman and I love seeing your picture in magazines.

It's great that you have not let the opinions of a few ignorant, superficial people deter you from doing what you love (and are so good at).

Best of luck!

Mar said...

Coco - you are such an inspiration. You speak so eloquently and I find it so refreshing to hear such a strong, intelligent voice coming from within the fashion industry. I would like to think that change is possible, and I hope that isn't naive of me.

Keep doing what you're doing because it definitely isn't going unnoticed - never change, you're perfect the way you are :)

All the best,

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