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Cast: Sara Ziff, Missy Rayder, Cameron Russell, Diana Dondoe, Caitriona Balfe, Gilles Bensimon, Sam Haskins, Nicole Miller, Hussein Chalayan
Picture Me, a raw and personal video diary, charts model Sara Ziff’s rise from fresh face to one that adorns billboards and magazines around the world. Ziff and filmmaker, Ole Schell, co-direct the documentary, which lifts the veil on the glamorous world of high fashion modeling from photo shoots with celebrated photographers to runway shows in New York, Milan, and Paris. The film depicts the ever increasing demand for adolescent models, the pressure to stay thin, sexual harassment, and drug use. This intimate account features in-depth interviews with noted photographers and designers, and showcases personal footage shot by the models themselves, giving voice to those who are often seen, but rarely heard.
Some of the things that come to mind when you think of Supermodels are beautiful women dressed in designer clothes walking the catwalk or gracing the covers of magazines and billboards all over the world. It seems like a fast-paced life that is full of excitement and money and while that might be true there is also a side to it we never get to see, that is until now. As the film opens we are introduced to a group of models but the film mostly focuses on Sara Ziff and Ole Schell, her former boyfriend who with camera in hand follows her every move as he documents what it is like to live the life. At first we are introduced to all the glamor and lights and of course the huge six-digit salary many of these young women are receiving. We are also introduced to what the people in charge do like create a debt list for these women who have to pay for their own limo and drivers, apartments and such. Pressure seems to be the key word here and there are plenty like the pressures of constantly being in different parts of the world, working long hours(hardly sleeping) and of course the pressure of making sure they stay paper thin not to mention the sexual harassment. All of these pressures lead to such things as anorexia and even substance abuse for those that cannot handle it all. One thing we all forget and I was glad to see the film bring up was that it sheds light on the human side to all this glamor, it shows many of these women with dreams outside this cut-throat business. Sara is one of those that has dreams and as the film progresses you get to witness the toll the industry has taken on her and her personal life. By the end of the film Sara just wants to pursue other areas in her life like going to school and setting up a union to help protect the women and what they worked for. I would be interested in knowing what the industry thought about this film and how Sara was treated after as far as work goes.
"Picture Me" is a real eye opener and it does a great job at showing many of the perks as well as the down sides to the business as a whole, I was left feeling a bit sorry for some of these women and girls since some start out as early as 16 years-old, I know that seems hard to do with the kind of money they make but there is a price to be paid as well and it's one I would never take. Thought-provoking and utterly engaging, if you like a good documentary I highly recommend picking this one up. You can order the DVD HERE.
Released by Strand Releasing
**** Out Of *****