What Do Models Actually Think About a BMI Ban?

The French people have decided: the law that banishes models with a BMI of less than 18 from the catwalks and magazines has been approved. Read here what the French Minister of health, Marisol Touraine, aims for with this law.

The BMI ban has been discussed extensively by the media over the last few weeks. I am sure you have been following the news about it as well. I have followed the news and have my thoughts about it. You can read them here, or read my earlier thoughts on a BMI ban for models here.

I wondered what other models actually think about the BMI ban, as these are the ones possibly directly affected by the ban. These were the reactions on the ban by models Eline, Deborah, Eva, Patty, Dienke and Jacomien:

Eline van Uden, former model and alumna in gender studies:

“I am very worried about the consequences of this law for the working situation of models. I think it can be seen as a form of body ‘policing’, which means that the French government is adding another repressive measure to their situation.

Models are now in a biased situation, on the one hand they have to fit in the sample sizes of designers while on the other hand having to fulfill the requirements set by the government. For fashion models their body is their product. These new rules will set limitations on performing their profession.”

“I think this law is completely irrelevant. The fashion industry itself is not affected by this law so it won’t have any effect on the way models are portrayed in fashion photography.

“Besides my worries, I think this law is completely irrelevant. The fashion industry itself is not affected by this law so it won’t have any effect on the way models are portrayed in fashion photography. These measures won’t hurt the ones who are in charge of producing the pictures itself. The appearance of fashion models are a product of the rules in the industry.”

Patty Luijt, De Boekers:

What do models think about the bmi ban? Patty Luijt
Copyright: Christopher Hench

“Again, thin models are under fire. I’m getting a bit tired of it and wonder whether it is realistic that models (whether or not by law) should have a BMI value of at least 18”.

“Personally, I regularly visit the doctor. She recently indicated that my BMI is too low and that she wants to keep an eye on me. I live healthily though and have a healthy, muscular posture. If she would look beyond the value that appears on her computer, she would know that I’m not underweight. ”

“Back to this law: I understand that the government wants to do something about their anorexia problem, but I wonder if this is the right way to do so. I think it is better to take look at each model individually to check their health, take extensive blood tests and maybe let them keep a food diary (although a food diary is fraude-sensitive). BMI is in fact a number; a number that tells little about a person. That number does not know whether you eat healthy or unhealthy all day or work out a lot or little”.

Will we eventually also prohibit people with a too high BMI to visit fast food chains?

“Around me I see many thin girls, sometimes too thin in my view, although that does not mean that they are indeed unhealthy. After all, there are plenty of girls who are naturally very thin and have a fast metabolism. With a law like this would you punish girls for a body that they can do nothing about. Will we eventually also prohibit people with a too high BMI to visit fast food chains? ”

Jacomien Roobol, De Boekers:

What do models think about the bmi ban? Jacomien Roobol - Salvatore paglia
Copyright: Salvatore Paglia

“I don’t think this is going to work. It’s a very good initiative to boycott thin models from the catwalks with the aim of protecting young girls. I don’t think the BMI is a good measure for that, though.”

I don’t think the BMI is a good measure

“Many models, including myself, are naturally thin. I’ve always had a BMI value of less than 18. That doesn’t immediately make me scary thin. I’m at a healthy weight for my body and am proportioned. If I’d have to exceed a BMI value of 18, it means that I will have to gain weight and no longer have my natural weight. I think thàt’s unhealthy. ”

Modeling agencies should take better care for their girls

“I also believe that the fashion industry is not about to change. The designers will continue to make the samples in small sizes. I do think that modeling agencies should take better care for their girls. If a girl her posture is not suitable for high fashion, then the agency should not wish that from her. It would also be ideal if the young girls learn how to eat healthy and stay in shape by working out. ”

Eva Marie Mulder, Elite Model Management:

What do models think about the bmi ban? Eva Marie Mulder
Copyright: Ellen von Unwerth

“Personally, I think banning ‘too thin’ models is a strange concept. Of course, inciting anorexia isn’t a good thing, but as proven this disease is a mental issue. This means that those who suffer from anorexia don’t function properly.”

Is the mental health of a girl or boy actually checked?

“As such, the question arises how it is verified if a model suffers from anorexia: is it verified by the BMI? Is the mental health of a girl or boy actually checked? Is the next step introducing the same regulations for other athletes that also belong in a weight class, such as marathon runners, martial artists, dancers and gymnasts? Probably not. “

“It is positive that for many girls and boys in the modeling industry it would be easier to take part in the profession of a model, because they might have to work a little less hard to ft in sample sizes. Nevertheless, working in the modeling industry and the aforementioned sports requires lots of training and discipline. ”

“In summary, I think banning ‘skinny models’ without anorexia an eyebrow raising concept. After all, before it can be determined that a particular BMI value is unhealthy, health checks should first be performed. There is more to health than just the BMI.”

Deborah Schoutema, Ulla Models:

Deborah Schoutema (Ulla Models)
copyright: Richard Bakker

“I’ve been following the news as well. I remember I was at Noahs place and both of us were relieved at first. We appreciated the concern of the French government towards their teenagers. But when thought again I realised that if you want to create a healthy, realistic mindset about human bodies, this is not the way to go.”

If you want to create a healthy, realistic mindset about human bodies, this is not the way to go

“My trainer (Marjolein, Models in Shape) explained me how confusing the BMI can be. A friend of hers weights 95 kilo’s. According to his length that would mean he has heaps overweight. But he actually is a super healthy, muscled, trainer. I think BMI is not a trustful method to check ones health, and it therefore would be unfair to use this index for boycotting models from magazines and catwalks.”

Dienke Rozendom, De Boekers:

Dienke Rozendom, de Boekers
Copyright: Peter Orré

“I actually don’t notice much about the BMI-ban in my work as a model. Because of my height (173 cm), I am less able to work in high fashion/couture,  in which masurements are more important than in beauty. This way, I notice less of the strict requirements of the fashion instrudy for models (and us such, also not of the BMI-ban).”

“I must say that I’ve often thought: fortunately I am not that tall, otherwise these strict body measurement demands perhaps would have imposed me as well. I do notice that, compared to my non-model friends, I’m more concerned with my body image and often worry about food and wether I still to comply with the bodily standards. Luckily I’m already 25, I’ve studied psychology and I have so much to fall back on if modelling doens’t work for me any longer. However, I can imagine that a 16 year-old girl easier fall back on unhealthy eating habits to keep herself standing in the fashion industry.”

These unhealthy eating and lifestyle habits should be stopped

“I therefore agree with the fact these unhealthy eating and lifestyle habits should be stopped and that girls that seriously suffer from them should be protected against the serious consequences. However, I think the BMI ban isn’t the right way to do so. If you make something which is so difficult to externally control (modeling equates size zero) illegal , you can assume that it’s not going to change. The practices will be carried out in an illegal manner. You can compare this with the laws on prostitution. In countries where it is illegal, it is still performed, but under much more dangerous and uncontrollable circumstances. ”

Ik denk dat de BMI-ban de plank misslaat. De praktijken zullen op een illegale manier worden uitgevoerd

“In my opinion, if it really comes to model’s health, another way must be found to prevent eating disorders and the like. It is not realistic to expect that fashion designers and modeling agencies will actually adhere to the new law, because the whole industry runs on these strict demands on the body. There will always be maneuvers which allow the girls to continue doing their work. There are plenty of tricks, like a false BMI passport, fraude with body weight and so on. ”

Plenty of tricks, like a false BMI passport, fraude with body weight and so on

“Models now find temselves in a split position, in which they must satisfy both the requirements of the government as well as the demands of fashion designers and agencies. This brings models, those whom the BMI ban is ultimately about, in an even tighter position than they already were. ”

Models now find temselves in a split position


Are you a model or have you been a model? What do you think of the BMI-ban?

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About Angela

Hey! I'm Angela; a 30-something mommy and a now REAL #fitchick, digi nerd, photo & film shooter hobbyist, MSc specialized in Health Education, marketingspecialist and an international fashion model for 20 years. I've worked for eg. Viktor & Rolf, Nivea, Escada, Elle, Vogue and Glamour. I write about everything that I find worth sharing. Go ahead an take a look around. Don't hesitate to share your thought sor opinions. Enjoy!


  1. Zonder goed eten kun je niet functioneren en hun werk doen maar dat doet men al. Ze eten gezond, en gaan zich niet te buiten aan alcohol gebak koek chips frisdrank snoep en patat. Dat is toch het goede voorbeeld geven? Al die verborgen vetten en suikers in voedingsmiddelen. Waarom geen rauwkost fruit en salade en volkorenproducten en alles wat in de schijf van vijf staat en bij het reformhuis.

  2. I am 6ft tall. I weigh 127 on my heaviest day. My BMI is 16. I eat healthy, exercise, and am active. If I weighed what the charts said, I would be between 145 and 165. I have a small frame so I would be miserable at that weight with a BMI of 18. If I lived in France, I would be considered breaking the law by staying at my current weight/BMI.

    The French government is spending too much time on minor matters when there are a lot more things they should be doing to earn their paychecks. I realize that with me living in the US that my way of looking at government and their role in the lives of the citizens is different from many other countries but I would think the people of France would let their government know this is too far reaching into private lives. A model having yearly physicals to include blood tests would be a more accurate measurement of her health. This should be a requirement of the modeling agencies….not the government.

  3. Op sommige websites stond zelfs dat er steeds vaker uitstekende botten weg gephotoshopt moeten worden door de lage BMI. Wat een onzin. Als fotograaf veel modellen gefotografeerd en nog nooit uitstekende botten gezien of moeten weg photoshoppen. Lijkt mij sterk dat andere fotografen ze wel zien in foto’s. Hoe verzinnen ze het?

  4. Ik vind het ook bullshit! Er zijn ook bodybuilders die dan een VEEL te hoog BMI hebben, juist omdat ze zo gespierd zijn. BMI zegt dus niets over je gezondheid. Ze kunnen die tijd beter spenderen aan voorlichting over gezonde voeding en sporten.
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  5. Ik vind de wet juist wel goed.
    Ik hoor overal van vrouwen met of zonder een eetstoornis dat zij negatief beinvloed worden door de
    modellen.Ook maken zij zich steeds meer sterker om tegenweer te bieden.Ik vind dat de modellen meer als de gemiddelde gezonde vrouw zouden moeten uitzien.Ze hoeven niet op een piedestal te staan.

  6. Ja BMI is echt onzin en achterhaald..
    Ik denk inderdaad dat het nuttiger zou zijn om richtlijnen in te stellen voor trainingen die de modellen zou moeten krijgen over gezond eten en sporten, weerbaarheidstraining etc en dat het belangrijk is om een gevoel van veiligheid te creëren zodat meiden zich prettig voelen om eventuele problemen (dus niet enkel anorexia) die zij hebben te bespreken.
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  7. Ik ben het ook niet eens met de wet. BMI is inderdaad maar een getalletje. Een vriend van mij is enorm gespierd en heeft daardoor een te hoog BMI.. Ook zijn er meisjes én jongens, die gewoon lang en dun gebouwd zijn. Hun BMI is te laag, terwijl sommige de hele dag eten. Ik denk dat ze beter een andere manier kunnen vinden dan te focussen op BMI.
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  8. Ik vind bmi wet ook bullshit. Zelf heb ik een hoge bmi en volgens de testjes kan ik elk moment een hartaanval krijgen . Het is allemaal maar een gemiddelde. Kijken naar de gezondheid van modellen lijkt me beter.
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  9. ik heb in het verleden modellenwerk gedaan en ik vind een bmi niet representatief voor je gezondheid. Ik ben 1.75 m en ik weeg 56 kilo, daarmee heb ik volgens bmi ook ondergewicht. Ik ben absoluut niet te mager.. Het is gewoon mijn bouw en dat zal voor meer meisjes gelden. Bmi zegt niets over je gezondheid!

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