CFDA Health Initiative Panel Discussion: “A Well-Balanced Life”

WHEN: February 7, 2012
WHERE: Museum of Arts and Design
TOPIC: “A Well-Balanced Life”
PANELISTS: Politician-turned-journalist Arianna Huffington, jewelry designer Monique Péan, and models Karolina Kurkova and Elettra Wiedemann
MODERATOR: Alina Cho, host of CNN’s Backstage Pass

CFDA CEO Steven Kolb‘s opening remarks outlined the CFDA’s ongoing commitment to protecting models, promoting a healthy lifestyle, and educating the industry about the dangers and warning signs of eating disorders (in addition to the obvious weight loss, telltale signs are sallow skin, peach fuzz on the face and body, and dramatic hair loss).

Karolina Kurkova recalled scoring her first Vogue cover at age 16, and told the crowd that – after a lifetime of being told she was too tall, too skinny, and her teeth too big – the experience gave her a much-needed boost of confidence. Now, she hopes to mentor and empower young models.

Elettra Wiedemann remembered being devastated whenever she didn’t get a shoot or a show, which prompted her to get her master’s degree in economics so that she’d have something to fall back on. “Models need to develop their world – and their own self-worth – beyond just modeling,” she said.

Monique Péan spoke about the importance of a healthy diet and balanced lifestyle. “It’s about eating the right foods and taking the time to exercise,” she said. “It’s great not only for your body, but also for your mind.” Arianna Huffington chimed in that she believed sleep was one of the most important – and underrated – aspects of a well-balanced life.

CFDA president Diane von Furstenberg wrapped up the discussion by advising model mentors to steer some of their young charges away from the industry altogether. “For a lot of people, becoming a model is – and should be – a stepping stone to something else. Having a career like yours is rare. Not everyone can be a supermodel.”

Anna Wintour, Reed Krakoff, Tommy Hilfiger, Tory Burch, Maria Cornejo, Prabal Gurung, Olivier Theyskens, Joseph Altuzarra, and Francisco Costa.

Lauren David Peden writes for Rue La La as a Contributing Editor.

February 23, 2012