Fashion model Kim Noorda braved a year of emotional, mental and physical ups and downs and journaled her experiences for Vogue magazine. This is a story that can't help but tear at the heartstrings.
When the beautiful dutch model began this process, she was, at five-feet-ten-inches tall, 110 pounds.
In January 2009, 22-year-old Kim Noorda visited the office of Vogue's Sally Singer to discuss her relationship with food. Kim had been identified by her agent at DNA as a worthy candidate for an intervention underwritten by the CFDA Health Initiative.
The CFDA Health Initiative was founded in 2007 to combat anorexia and bulimia in the fashion industry, to provide information and resources to models in the throes of these diseases, and, more generally, to change the aesthetic on the New York runways from extreme skinniness to a more realistic, fit ideal.
What appears below are excerpts from the article appearing now in the April 2010 issue of Vogue and also available online at Vogue.com.
~Sally Singer (Vogue)
She has a soulful grace to her, a certain introspective elegance that has endeared her to such houses as Balenciaga, Prada, and Chanel. But what was apparent by fall of 2008 was that Kim was now very thin—very thin for a statuesque Amsterdam beauty who should have been coming into her own as a woman instead of shrinking to the proportions of a naturally scrawny fourteen-year-old. Our goal, I told her, was to help her see how she could diminish the centrality of food in her thinking to ultimately have a richer and more fulfilling adult life, in and out of fashion—to, in a sense, learn to be “a little more.” Kim agreed ... off she went to a four-week outpatient program at the Renfrew Center, a facility in New York (among other locales) that has for 25 years been treating patients with eating disorders through a multipronged therapeutic approach. This was the start of Kim Noorda’s journey of self-discovery and wellness.
Extracts from Noorda's Journals
Kim Noorda - Lanvin Fall RTW 2009 L and R
Yesterday I went to see my doctor for medical clearance. I told him that I did not have an eating disorder, but that I also believe that I do not take care of myself well enough and that I will learn something through the treatment. I am actually afraid of telling people that I am about to do this. I do not want people to see me as someone with an eating disorder. I want them to see the underlying reasons why I do not take good enough care of myself ... my BMI is too low.
I told her (the Renfrew nutritionist) I would try to agree to (gain one pound per week) because my agents have also told me that they would like me to gain an extra five pounds. She told me that five pounds is not that much, and probably no one would even see it. I told her that people in the fashion industry see every gram of fat. . . .
I have an appointment with the nutritionist and learn that I had lost weight. I was convinced that I had gained. That was the reason I had consciously started to eat less. Surreptitiously I felt somewhat relieved. According to the rules, she had to do a weight-gain contract with me with sanctions if I had not gained at least one pound per week. I was slightly upset.
Every season I gained a little weight, and every time it felt like I was doing fewer shows. During the shows the pressure caused me to lose weight, and people complimented me on that.... Not a single person has told me that I have gained weight since the start of the shows. Not during the castings, and not even my European agent has said anything. Everything fit. This confused me, because I thought people could see every gram. Then again, no one has said that I look good, either, or commented on my appearance otherwise. When I started looking at pictures from the first show, there were still some things I disliked. My legs and cheeks have become fatter. I really need to do something about that. Exercises. On the Internet there are no positive reactions to how I looked.
Kim Noorda - Chanel Cruise, Resort 2010 L and R
I avoid scales and mirrors. Only my jeans make me aware of my weight gain. My skin is getting worse; I don’t have my period (except that one time during the shows); I don’t fit into nice clothes, don’t sleep well. So what is good about it?
At the end of April I take a job in London and stay on an extra day for castings. I call up my friend Iekeliene, who lives there, and she invites me to come along on a trip to Devon in the camper van she and her boyfriend have just bought. We listen to music, go for walks in the countryside, and talk a lot about all sorts of things, including modeling (it is good to speak with someone who knows that world). Being with them on holiday shows me how relaxed and fun it can be having lunch or dinner all together.
Now I feel quite well in myself, but it has taken a while. There were things that made me start doubting myself again. For example, the Chanel cruise show. It was my first show since prêt-à-porter. I asked my agent several times if she was sure I could do the show given the way I now looked.... I was not 90 hips anymore. My agent called me back and said the 90 hips are a bit stupid. They were going to change it on all the girls’ cards to what it really was. At the show everyone was really nice, though. They specifically said I looked good like this. From then on I got more confident.
Kim Noorda - Alberta Ferretti Lookbook, Resort 2010 (L) and Lanvin Resort 2010 (R)
I travel in and out of Amsterdam for jobs and quite like it this way. I go to Pilates weekly and go swimming.
I do work for three look books. At Alberta Ferretti I can’t help noticing or imagining that they think I’m too big. Not what they wanted. I just try to do my best. At Lanvin I get canceled on the second day; they want a blonder girl. Next is Givenchy, with two models who are a lot skinnier. I try, but the shoot does not seem to work..... Halfway through the day I wanted to leave and felt I really shouldn’t be there, being this size. So I apologized and left.
Kim Noorda - Stella McCartney Lingerie S/S 2010
I did a lingerie shoot for Stella McCartney, which was something new to me. I had never dared to do something like that before. It was strange at first but fine after all. I was happy I was not so scared anymore.
Kim Noorda w/ Iekeliene Stange backstage Chanel Haute Couture (L), @ Armani Prive' Haute Couture (Center), @ Jean Paul Galutier Haute Couture (R)
Haute couture in Paris: I expected not to be booked at all. I rent a room with Iekeliene.... I admire how independent Iekeliene is, making her own decisions, looking after what she thinks is important.
Then, before the summer holiday starts, I fly to Milan for one more job. This worries me a little, since it is with a stylist who has always complimented me when I have been really skinny. Indeed, I feel she is not too happy with how I look now. The other model has some difficulty with weight as well. She seems not really happy and at one point asks me if I am happier “like this.” When I try to speak with her more directly about it, she stops the conversation. I got kind of sad about that.
Kim Noorda - Oscar de la Renta Spring RTW 2010 (L), Proenza Schouler Spring RTW 2010 (C), backstage at Lanvin Spring RTW 2010
In New York I want to be enthusiastic about the shows, but I can’t seem to: I keep being unsure about my weight. By the end of it I want to go home. Skip London. But my agents advise me to go there. Then I let go again and just do my best.... Milan, The shows do not go great, and people definitely made me feel I was too big .... at Bottega I am offered the choice at seven in the morning to bleach my eyebrows or leave, I just want to go. I am crying.... I decide to watch my weight again a little.
Kim Noorda - Nicole Miller Fall 2010 (L) and Emanuel Ungaro Fall 2010 (R)
~ Sally Singer
Just before Christmas, Kim does a flurry of work in London and Los Angeles. She studies for exams and then flies off to Thailand for a vacation with friends: “two vegetarians, one omnivore, one vegan.” When she returns, she feels “energetic and good”; she has not lost any weight.
I was in doubt whether to write this article, thinking it should be a success story. The success is not that food and weight are never on my mind anymore, but that the influence of these thoughts has become a lot less. I watch my weight, but I do not want to compromise my health, or my happiness. ... I see a lot more of my friends. It really feels like my life is getting some more shape.
The full feature article may be read in the current issue of Vogue. You may also check out more on this feature online at Vogue.com. It's a compelling, heartfelt and thought-provoking story for all women.
source: vogue; images: fashionspot, style.com, rades