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Many men would admit that they would love to date a model. Co-directors and former couple, Sara Ziff and Ole Schell know this reality well. Travel Design Dates Weddings Real Estate Doctors NYC Tourist Guide Best It seems like a Zoolander skit, models organizing,” Sara Ziff says between “It's a very strange job—being a clothes hanger, essentially—but it's still a job. memoir and exposé that she made with her then-boyfriend, Ole Schell. Directed by Ole Schell, Sara Ziff. With Sara Ziff, Caitriona Balfe, Anne Bergstedt, Karl Lagerfeld. A look at the inner world of modeling.
That led to some of the sense of casualness.
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A number of the great conversations between the models were completely off the cuff and filmed by the models themselves as they worked or relaxed after a job. You shot over a couple years, did you start out with a clear idea of what you wanted to achieve, or did the documentary evolve over time?
I started to carry a camera as well, and after a few years, we looked back and realized we had a lot of great footage. We decided to give cameras to other models who were friends of ours so they could keep video diaries.
For me, it was a chance to try to make sense of my experience and give myself and other models a voice. There were times when we did have some trouble making the film. On one occasion, Sara was doing a private Gucci fashion show at the mansion of Mr. Chow, the famous restaurateur in Los Angeles. I was minding my own business getting some b-role when I was suddenly escorted out by armed guards past fifty or so celebrities.
With guns prominently displayed, the guards took me to a holding cell downstairs, held me for several hours and confiscated my camera and all our tapes. Tell us about the response from the fashion industry when the film was released? Were you surprised by this response? Honestly, I was concerned that I might never work again once this film came out, but people in the industry have reacted pretty positively. Do you think the fashion industry will ever change, and if so how?
I do think that the industry is becoming somewhat more inclusive. There seems to be more of a concerted effort at the higher levels of the business to be mindful of diversity in terms of size and race.
That being said, those changes are essentially cosmetic and I think we still have a long way to go in terms of granting models basic rights and protections in the workplace. What are you both up to now professionally? I am still working as a filmmaker in New York.
Did you experience much resistance to your presence with the camera? There were certainly times when we met resistance. On one occasion Sara was doing a private Gucci fashion show at the mansion of Mr.
Chow, the famous restaurateur in Los Angeles. I was minding my own business getting some b-roll when I was suddenly escorted out by armed guards past fifty or so celebrities like Steven Spielberg, Adrien Brody, Jeremy Piven and Charlice Theron.
With guns prominently displayed, the guards took me to a holding cell downstairs, held me for several hours and confiscated my camera and all our tapes. I remember hearing the bass from the show upstairs as the guards interrogated me. I jokingly asked if they were going to water-board me but it fell on deaf ears.
Besides the thugs, did you have any trepidation about showing the film? Sara had moments of real hesitation to even show the film. I had access to film her in intimate moments, but we had to walk a fine line. In terms of those stories, so much critical focus on the industry is about models' weight and the racial make-up of the catwalk. Do you think these are the major issues for models, or are these just trendy topics for the general media?
People removed from the modeling industry often have firm opinions about it, but generally have little first hand experience in it.
I think this comes from an insecurity instilled in women by looking at these images of beautiful and often thin young women.
Did any of the models speak directly to this tension with non-models? Yes, have a look at this exchange from an interview with model Sena Cech: What do you think normal girls think of you guys? They often say "When I look in magazines I feel like so down about myself and I don't think they should use girls that are so strangely shaped. This is how I am. You've seen me eat.
I don't work out. This is how I look. Here is another exchange from our film on thinness from the models themselves: I just had this really warped perception of my body and in modeling, your body is just your body.
And you know, its not connected to your mind, its not connected to yourself-- it's just you are a body… I never had that perfect fit for the shows, you know. I wasn't as tall as the other girls, my hips where bigger. I remember putting on the clothes and just knowing that, oh this isn't going to fit and that's not going to fit. I mean at castings, believe me, I've had people have slapped my thighs and I'm not in any sense over-weight and never have been.
I think that the thinness of girls has become so extreme that you can't imagine that all those girls are naturally that thin and I don't think girls need to be that thin either. Designers want thin girls to put their clothes on because clothes look better on a thin tall person no matter what anybody says. It just looks better.