, February 15, 2007
A teenage model has been found dead from extreme dieting six months after her sister, also a model, died at a fashion show from complications arising from anorexia.
Eliana Ramos, 18, was found dead in her bedroom by her grandmother, with whom she was staying in Montevideo, the Uruguayan capital. She is believed to have suffered a heart attack. A full postmortem examination report has yet to be released but local reports suggested that Ms Ramos, who was taking part in Montevideo fashion week, suffered from “alimentary deficiency”. Her parents, who were on holiday at the time of her death, were said to be devastated.
Luisel Ramos, 22, collapsed and died on the catwalk during a fashion show in Montevideo last year. Eliana had just embraced her sister and wished her good luck in what was their first fashion show together.
Her father said afterwards that his daughter had been on a regime of lettuce and diet cola in an attempt to lose weight.
Her body mass index (BMI) was found to be below the level considered by the World Health Organisation to be starvation.
Despite what happened to her sister, Ms Ramos, nicknamed Elle by family and friends, had decided to continue her modelling career.
She had signed with one of Argentina’s top agencies and the blonde, blue-eyed teenager was considered to have a promising career in Europe and the United States in front of her.
The younger Ms Ramos had recently been signed up by Dotto Models, the agency that represented her sister.
Yesterday Pancho Dotto, the agency’s owner, dismissed claims that an eating disorder was responsible for Eliana’s death. “She was very healthy, she ate well and played sports,” he said. “She was never extremely thin. It is absurd to talk of alimentary deficiency, anorexia, bulimia and all that.
“It is clear that the deaths of the Ramos sisters are due to a genetic problem and not an eating disorder.”
Luisel’s death, one of several among young South American models in recent months, prompted an intense debate in the fashion industry about the use of so-called “size-zero” models. In Madrid and Milan, fashion week organisers imposed a BMI minimum for all models taking part in shows.
London’s refusal to ban “zero-size” models caused a furore about whether organisers were doing enough to protect young girls desperate for success in an industry that demands that its models should be thin.In São Paulo organisers of the city’s fashion week banned models under 16 and demanded a health certificate from girls taking part in runway shows, partly in response to the death last November of Ana Carolina Reston, 21, who died of complications arising from anorexia. At the time of her death she weighed 6st (40kg)