German women's magazine Brigitte has declared it will no longer use professional models in its fashion shoots, Der Spiegel Online reported. But critics say Brigitte is not going far enough to fight anorexia.
At first glance the new issue of Germany's Brigitte looks just like a normal fashion magazine. Attractive, perfectly made-up young women show off stylish clothes from labels like French Connection, Escada and H&M, glancing flirtatiously over their shoulders, pouting their lips or staring pensively into the distance.
But something about the photos looks different. A prominent tummy here and noticeable wrinkles there reveal that these are not size-zero Amazons straight from the catwalk, but real women.
As of the January issue, which hit the newsstands Saturday, Brigitte will use only amateur models in its fashion shoots. "Women have changed. They no longer want to see interchangeable, faceless models on the pages of their magazines," Brigitte's editor-in-chief Brigitte Huber told SPIEGEL ONLINE.
"They want to see real women. We want to respond to that by showing real women, women who have a profession and who are prepared to give their ages."
The amateur models in the January issue reflect the diversity that Huber says the magazine is trying to show. They range in ages from 20 to 45 and work as artists, receptionists, teachers and restaurateurs.
"Beauty has many faces," says Huber. The initiative, which made headlines around the world when it was announced in October 2009, is partly a reaction to concerns that overly thin models promote anorexia among women.
"Brigitte has always had the interests of real women at heart," Huber says. "Our magazine encourages them to be self-confident and promotes a healthy self-image."
Brigitte is one of Germany's top-selling women's magazines and belongs to the Gruner+Jahr media group, which is also part-owner of SPIEGEL.
The magazine's staff has been "overwhelmed" by the reaction from readers, Huber says. More than 20,000 women have so far applied online to be potential models, submitting photographs of themselves with a short profile.
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