Israel outlaws 'too skinny' models

Posted: 02/18/13 at 4:40 pm EST

UNDATED (WHDH) -- Israel could be changing the face of the catwalk. The country has outlawed models who are "too skinny." its new law also changes the way models are photographed. And now, other countries could be following suit.

Every photo shoot is a personal victory for Israeli model Margaux Stelman. Her sister, also a model, died from anorexia. But Stelman, 21, found out that she can work at the highest level and not starve herself.

"I thought modeling had a very sad thing to it, but now we're bringing the healthy models back," Stelman said.

In fact, super-thin models are now illegal in Israel. Israeli law bans them from working if their Body Mass Index -- or BMI, a combination of height and weight, is less than 18.5. That is, less than 118 lbs if you're 5'7".

It also prohibits advertisers from publishing digitally-manipulated images without a clear, written warning that the pictures you are seeing are PhotoShopped.

"A child who looks at the TV and wants to be skinny without any reason, just because they saw beautiful and skinny girls - that we can change," said Adi Barkan, fashion photographer.

Adi Barkan was an iconic fashion photographer until one of his models died in his arms from anorexia. Shocked, he put down his cameras and reached out to hundreds of sick, young models, offering help.

"I know 60 girls that, without me, they are not here," he said.

Barkan eventually pressed politicians to pass the world's only law that protects the vulnerable from fashion's dark side.

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