01/12/2015 13:07 GMT | Updated 01/12/2015 13:59 GMT

Rosie Nelson Hands Model Protection Petition To Parliament

Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Model Rosie Nelson delivers a 100K signature petition to Downing Street signed by more than 113,000 people who want to see young people protected from being pressurised into becoming dangerously thin to meet industry requirements, ahead of a Parliamentary inquiry by the APPG into the fashion industry.

Rosie Nelson, who was once told to slim 'down to the bone' by a modelling agency, today handed a petition with 114,000 signatures to Downing Street demanding better care for women and men in the fashion industry.

Nelson, 23, is campaigning for a law that will make modelling agencies look after young models' health as she said constant demands by her own agent to keep losing weight left her feeling like a "slave".

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Rosie Nelson outside 10 Downing Street on Tuesday 1 December

Nelson, who has just completed a Christmas campaign with Vogue, said she "physically couldn't" lose more weight when her agents told her they wanted her "down to the bone".

Those words were the turning point prompting her to launch a petition asking for a law preventing agencies from pressurising models to become dangerously thin.

"I think the best way to judge a model's health is by going to the doctor and having regular health checks," Nelson told HuffPost UK Style - and the number of signatures her petition has attracted proves she is far from alone in her view.

"If a law was brought in that required models to have health checks every three to six months then we would see a huge change in the modelling industry within the first year.

"I would also like to see modelling agencies having a more personal relationship with their models, one where the models health and well being is discussed with equal important to their work schedule."

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Rosie Nelson said her modelling agent's demands to keep losing weight left her feeling like a "slave"

Commenting on her treatment from the agent, she told PA: "I am old enough to know better, but if I had been 16, it would have been heartbreaking. It makes you feel horrible about yourself, knowing that you're not okay the way you are.

"I was already eating mostly steamed vegetables and fruit, I wasn't eating any sugar, avoiding dairy, avoiding just everything, really, and doing more than an hour of exercise every day. I felt really bad about myself, my body didn't look good, I didn't feel good about myself.

"I was becoming a slave to achieving what they wanted me to do. But I've been a model for five years and the reality of it is I am healthy the way I am and if they can't accept that then it's their loss."

After Nelson handed in the petition at Downing Street on Tuesday 1 December, there followed an inquiry with industry professionals at Westminster, attended by plus size model Hayley Hasselhoff, daughter of American actor David Hasselhoff, and MP Caroline Nokes.

Nelson said she had received little direct feedback from modelling agencies over her campaign, but she had read an article in which one key industry professional claimed she did not believe the fashion world put any such pressure on models.

"I've had hundreds of comments from girls saying it's happened to them," Nelson said.

"I have strong evidence to prove that it is happening and girls are becoming anorexic and doing drastic things to get ahead as models.

"It's really upsetting. In high fashion designers want thin models so the clothes hang off them in exactly the same way, but there really isn't any reason why they can't adapt to having healthier-looking girls of more diversity and more range."


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Earlier this year, MPs in France voted to make it a criminal offence to hire very thin models in a bit to curb anorexia. Those who do now face hefty fines and even a six-month prison sentence.

Nelson and Nokes, who is chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on body image, are aiming in bring similar legislation to the UK.

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