This morning, I’m appearing on the Today Show, where we’re breaking the story that Ralph Lauren model Filippa Hamilton, whose body was so ridiculously Photoshopped that it made headlines internationally, was actually fired months ago for being too heavy.
Hamilton, 23, spoke with the Today Show and the New York Daily News exclusively, saying, “They fired me because they said I was overweight and I couldn't fit in their clothes anymore.”
She stands nearly six feet tall and weighs about 115 pounds.
In the Today segment, she appeared calm but obviously hurt, calling RL her "second family" (she has worked for them since she was 15). According to Geoffrey Menin, Hamilton's lawyer, the altered drastically image, in which the model’s head is significantly larger than her waist or pelvis, is a "gross distortion of how she really looks and which we fear will be extremely damaging to her," not to mention the average woman at home reading a magazine and happening upon the pic.
Ralph Lauren has issued a statement in which that state they were forced to terminate Hamilton's contract because she no longer was able to fulfill her obligations, which include fitting into sample size clothing. I'm all for employees fulfilling their job obligations but those obligations have to be physically possible and not to the detriment of the worker's physical and mental health. I'm a writer, and if an editor hires me to write a story and turn it in on deadline, then I need to do that. But if an editor says, "I need you to type at 398 words per minute with zero mistakes," well, that just ain't gonna happen, no matter how speedy and talented I may be. Filippa Hamilton wears a size four, so I'm wondering just how microscopic RL's sample sizes are.
As I've said, I’d actually rather see an obviously and impossibly distorted lollipop-head photo like this than the far more subtle airbrushing catastrophes that invade our subconscious on a daily basis. At least with this pic, we can look at it and realize, “Well, duh, of course that’s been altered – it’s simply not even possible for a waist to be the size of a wrist.”
Dangerously poor editing aside, though, ads like the Ralph Lauren model represent the one step forward, two steps back cycle we seem to be caught in when it comes to body image: Just when something positive happens, like the proposed French law that any airbrushed image come with a warning sign, we get knocked down a few rungs on the ladder with the news that a 5’11”, 115-lb model was terminated for being too fat.
This certainly isn’t the first time a model has been fired for being overweight. In May of last year, I was interviewed on Today about runway model Ali Michael who was all but banned from the Paris Fashion Week runways for her “fat” legs, after she gained five pounds during recovery from an eating disorder. More recently, model Paulina Porizkova alleged she was fired from America’s Next Top Model for being too heavy, and there was speculation that Saturday Night Live actress Casey Wilson got the axe for the same reason.
PS I did my makeup all by myself, as they shot me at my health club in Chicago. Golf claps!