Ilanit Hila Elmalich (Hebrew: הילה אילנית אלמליח; 14 November 1973 – 14 November 2007) was an Israeli fashion model who died of anorexia in 2007. Represented by the Israeli branch of the Elite Model Management modeling agency, she was once a famous fashion model in the country.
On November 14, 2007, on her 34th birthday, Elmalich died weighing 22 kilograms, or 49 pounds, after years of fighting anorexia nervosa. She had been hospitalized several times over the years due to her anorexia nervosa. She finally succumbed to it, collapsing and dying in her home due to heart failure. Her eating disorder had started around the time that she had become a model, which would put her at 13 years old.
Campaign for a minimum BMI for models
Immediately after her death, Israeli fashion photographer Adi Barkan called her a "sacrifice to fashion". He initiated a worldwide campaign to "change the definition of beauty by encouraging models not to be skinny". Barkan's concern over Elmalich's death led to new body weight and body mass index requirements in Israel in 2012. These requirements do not allow modeling agencies to hire any models who have a BMI (body mass index) less than 18.5, below which is considered underweight. This law means a 5'9" woman would have to weigh at least 129 pounds in order to be hired. This is supposed to encourage models to not be so thin and release the pressure for women to continually lose weight.
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- "Did Model Die From Pressure to Be Thin?". ABC news. Retrieved 26 January 2013.