Friday, May 16, 2008

Ali Michael

I've been asked my thoughts on the Ali Michael saga (that and Louie from DNA) several times this week and here's my two cents. I've spent quite a bit of time with Ali and her wonderful mother Mary Ann backstage and she is one of the coolest and most grounded women I have ever met. I've even written quite a bit about her and how much she reminds me of my own mom back in Texas.

I attribute Ali's confidence and courage to her upbringing. Having a complete and full life (outside of fashion) it is no surprise to me that if any of the girls were going to speak out about their experience in the biz in the hopes of making a positive change it would be Ali. Which is her right!

I applaud Ali for coming forward and understand fully that she is less concerned with the future of her modeling career or pointing the finger at an industry whose current aesthetic requires young girls to starve themselves, or even because she had an "off season" (as some have suggested.) But more wanting to make a difference before returning to her life as a young intelligent girl from Dallas whose family supports her every move and loves her no matter what.

Don't worry about Ali Michael y'all. She's solid.


Anonymous said...

JD- I love you for writing this.

Bryanboy said...

Beautiful, beautiful post, JD. Very well-said.

Weight issues aside, it's refreshing to hear a model voice their concerns about the industry in general. People like Ali are extremely rare. She's a bright, young beautiful girl. With a brain AND a voice. I hope other doors will open for her.

Anonymous said...

I think her actions speak more to what it means to be a role model. It's nice to see in an industry where girls are so seduced with doing whatever it takes to make it there are some who have good heads on those bony shoulders..

Anonymous said...

Most times when girls walk away from the runway and what it requires (starvation) no one notices.

Ali is speaking for more than herself. Girls have invested so much and sacrificed so much to the runway. Then they find out it's yet another five pounds...

Anonymous said...

Hi, J.D.,

It was so wonderful to hear from you! I can't even begin to tell you how much I appreciate what you said about Ali and me.

It's been a really tough time, but you're absolutely right--Ali is going to be okay and, contrary to what some people think, she is keeping busy. There are a lot of clients who are extremely loyal to her and she has no intention of leaving the industry.

The whole WSJ article was such a total shock. I had a casual 5 minute conversation with a lady at the Yohji show who asked what other shows Ali would be doing that week. When I told her that we were leaving the next day, she asked "why?" and I told her about the negative client feedback from Ali gaining a few pounds after having been sick the season before. I was totally devastated when I saw that sensationalized article the day after we returned home. It was the last thing Ali needed to deal with after her experience in Paris when she had worked so hard to get healthy again.

I do have an amazing daughter, J.D. After recovering somewhat from the initial shock, she decided that there was a reason it all happened and she truly felt the need to help make a difference. There has been so much lip service paid to the issue, but instead of seeing a change towards health, the problem only continues to worsen. More girls are affected and the health consequences are not only severe, but long-lasting and, of course, sometimes fatal. There was never any intent to point fingers or place blame. Although it could have adverse effects on her career, she knew that the article had provided her with a voice with which to bring awareness to the problem and that led to the Teen Vogue article and the interview on the Today Show.

I truly value your support, J.D., and the support of all those, including DNA and the Kim Dawson Agency, who have stood by Ali. She is a very brave, focused and determined young lady. I have no doubt that she will do her best to work towards creating a healthier environment inside (as well as outside) the industry, especially with people like you cheering her on!

Hope to see you soon!

Hugs and kisses,


Anonymous said...

it's brave she came out with her problem but to blame the industry for making her sick is outright wrong.

she chose to be in this profession. Ali said it herself her body doesn't have a model figure. so why forced yourself to have one? leading you to take up extreme measures? not every model can be high fashion. if it was easy why is it so hard to get into modelling in NY, Paris and Milan? why is there even high fashion?

u_mag said...

i love ali and her attitude

Anonymous said...

I totally applaud Ali for being brave & speaking out, perhaps giving a voice to the many girls who are not quite so brave & continue to battle with their size day in day out ...

That said, I also think it's vitally important not to tar all fashion models with the same brush - Yes, many have to suffer to remain tiny BUT many girls are naturally tiny & are totally healthy - As we all know, many models are genetic freaks!

The general public already think all models suffer from eating disorders which I guess is largely thanks to the media ... It just gets a little dangerous when it's assumed ALL models are suffering, which we know is far from the truth.

Anonymous said...

Some designers are sick in the head. To think that she didn't get booked because her legs were too fat. Poor thing, at that age her self esteem would have been on the floor. I really hope Ali comes back to fashion with those extra 5 pounds. Because seriously, she is just a breath taking girl, amazingly intelligent, and her look relates to a lot of girls now this days.

Anonymous said...

i absolutely sympathize with Ali, and i feel sorry about the designers who are to blame because they distort what a "healthy" model would look like. I've seen Ali's interview in the Today show with Amy Astley (teen vogue editor) and I think it's a good start for Ali to spread her experience and help other up and coming models as well. It is up to Ali and her resources to educate the public and as well as the global scenario because everywhere in the world a lot of young girls and women are suffering from eating disorders because of what the fashion industry has been portraying. Although there are models who are genetically thin and healthy, we dont know how much models are starving themselves just to get booked.

I like to see Ali walk the runways in the coming spring fashion weeks and I believe she could make it to the top without being sick or do vices. Kudos to Ali and her mom!