FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --A controversial new bill is making its way through the California Assembly.
Supporters hope it changes modeling industry standards by requiring health checks for models and possible fines for agencies that don't comply. Democratic Assemblyman Marc Levine of Marin County introduced AB 2539.
Assemblyman Levine told Action News Tuesday, as a father of a young girl he's gravely concerned about the body images portrayed by models. He's proposing models get overall health approval by a doctor and nutritional counseling before they ever set foot on a runway.
The glitz and glamour of fashion can leave many people hungry for the latest styles of the season. It also leaves some thinking the models look a little hungry. "When we look at fashion models they are asked to attain a very unhealthy figure that really can't be maintained without great risk to themselves," said Assemblymember Levine.
While Assemblymember Levine acknowledges some people are naturally very thin he's introducing AB 2539-- a bill that will require medical health checks and tests, plus nutritional counseling for all models in California. Levine said healthier looking models would mean better role models for young girls. "The data also show us that many fashion models suffer from eating disorders. So by protecting the health of fashion models, we are also protecting the health of young women and children in society."
He's working with the Department of Public Health to figure out what types of health checks the bill will include.
Levine already has support locally. Former Miss Fresno County Chantea Mcintyre, who runs McIntyre Model Management, a modeling agency, tells us the extremes she went to, once, trying to burn 500 calories more than what she ate every day. She said the bill is a good start towards healthier models. "Right now that's the industry standard, you're not going to find a professional model who's much more than 35 inches on her hips, and 24 to 25 on her waist. And that's pretty small, and that's where I think the change is going to have to come."
Model Savannah Heskett, who was once turned away from a job for being "too big", said highly paid, thin models will likely oppose the bill. She hopes it passes. "I think it's a good start, and I think it would be good for society and for models too-- because there are tons of unhealthy models with eating disorders and I think it would prevent that."
The bill will be heard in assembly committees next month and voted on shortly afterwards. If it passes the assembly and senate, it could be signed into law by the governor by the fall.
Assemblyman Levine said if it gets that final approval it would go into effect in January 2017.