Models must meet very high demands, and Ulrikke Høyer is used to meeting very high demands. The 20-year-old Scandinavian was an elite tennis player at six, before she was scouted at 15 and flown to Paris as a Louis Vuitton exclusive for fall/winter 16. But there are high demands, then there's being forced to starve yourself for 24 hours before being canceled from a show at size 34-36. This is allegedly what happened to Ulrikke after she flew from Denmark to Paris to Tokyo for the Louis Vuitton cruise show she had been confirmed for a few days earlier.
Ulrikke — who has recently walked for Louis Vuitton, Stella McCartney, and Oscar de la Renta — has just recounted the whole experience in a lengthy Facebook post and… holy crap. "This is not about me being canceled from a show," she writes. "But I cannot accept the 'normality' in the behavior of [some casting agents]. They find pleasure in power over young girls and will go to the extreme to force an eating disorder on you."
Ulrikke explains that she was first measured for the cruise show around a month ago. She writes that Louis Vuitton insisted on flying her straight to Paris although, with a hip measurement of 36 inches, she was not at her smallest. In Paris, she was almost immediately confirmed for the show. By the time of the Tokyo fitting she had dropped 0.2 inches. But she writes that according to the casting director Alexia, she had "a very bloated stomach" and "bloated face" and was to "only drink water for the next 24 hours." Ulrikke skipped the model dinner that Louis Vuitton was hosting and went to bed.
"I woke up at 2am and was extremely hungry," she continues. "The breakfast started at 6:30am - I had the absolute minimum. I was afraid to meet Alexia so my luck she didn't arrive until 8am, when my plate was taken off the table. She said good morning to me and the other girls and looked at me, then down on my non-existent plate and up at me again. She was checking if I had been eating food."
Eventually Ulrikke was canceled from the cruise show and sent home to Denmark. Some more batshit body-shaming apparently went down after that, and Ulrikke has taken care not to put the blame on Louis Vuitton designer Nicolas Ghesquière. "I am aware that I'm a product, I can separate that but I have seen way too many girls who are sooo skinny that I don't even understand how they even walk or talk," she writes, adding that many models stop their periods and suffer skin discoloration due to poor nutrition. "It's so obvious that these girls are in desperate need of help. It's funny how you can be 0.5 or 1 cm 'too big' but never 1-6 cm 'too small.'"
It's hardly the first time we've heard of girls being dropped for being "too big." But as social media starts to put cracks in modeling's culture of silence, nor is it unheard of for industry heavyweights to be dropped in the face of viral testimonies. Hopefully Louis Vuitton's casting agents are taking note.
i-D has reached out to Louis Vuitton, Ashley Brokaw, and Alexia Cheval for comment. Brokaw and Høyer have both reaffirmed their sides of story to Business of Fashion.
Text Hannah Ongley
Image via Facebook