From the outside, the life of a model may seem glamorous beyond belief — but usually, that isn’t the case. We just heard a tragic story about a 14-year-old Russian model who died after working a 13-hour fashion show in China.
The Siberian Times reports that on Wednesday, Vlada Dzyuba collapsed and went into a coma right before stepping out for her latest appearance on the catwalk during Shanghai Fashion Week. She was quickly rushed to the hospital, where she never regained consciousness. She died two days later. Dzyuba had been on a three-month assignment in Shanghai, during which she was only supposed to work three hours a week.
However, Dzyuba’s modeling contract kept her working much longer.
The cause of Dzyuba’s death is believed to be a mixture of exhaustion and meningitis. According to The Daily Mail, the young model had a high temperature before she collapsed, but was afraid to seek medical attention because she had no medical insurance — which was supposed to be a part of her contract.
“She was calling me, saying, ‘Mama, I am so tired. I so much want to sleep.’ It must have been the very beginning of the illness,” her mother Oksana told NTV, according to the International Business Times. “And then her temperature shot up. I didn’t sleep myself and was calling her constantly, begging her to go to the hospital.”
Unfortunately, Oksana was unable to obtain the necessary documents required to go see her daughter before she passed away.
The Daily Mail reports that an investigations into Dzyuba’s tragic death is now underway in Moscow, and it is raising awareness about the harsh working conditions faced by many young models. Because of similar concerns here in the U.S., New York has passed a law that states models under 18 are not permitted to work after midnight on school nights.
We’re sending condolences to the family and friends of Vlada Dzyuba, and we hope the investigation into her death will bring light to this often underreported issue.