ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The thinnest of the thin are being shunned by the modeling world these days and talent agents say it’s in an effort to promote healthier body images.

In Israel this year, models will have to have an average body-mass index of at least 18.5 to legally get work. While no such law exists in the U.S., talent agents say the standard is similar.

Centro Models manages models of all ages in St. Louis and director Amy Sommerville works specifically with teenagers. “You see a lot of fashion designers, actually, that do not go for the waif look anymore, that are really interested in ‘healthy is the new skinny.’ That’s kind of what we promote,” she said.

“It’s always going to be there, the waif kind of look, it’s always going to be there but I think that, at least what we see on magazines is starting to change now, [models] are a lot more healthy.”

Waif is a fashion term used to describe an incredibly thin person. The style was made popular in the 1990s by models such as Kate Moss and actresses such as Calista Flockhart.

Sommerville sees her clients every two weeks and tracks their workouts and eating habits to make sure they’re maintaining a healthy lifestyle. She has modeled since she was a teen and says she’s happy to see the “skin and bones” standard go out the window.

While she doesn’t foresee any push for legislation in the U.S. similar to the Israeli law, Sommerville says if a healthy, athletic look is what fashion designers want, it’s what they’ll get from aspiring models.


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