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‘Too fat’ model wins case against agency who dropped her

The Elite model agency dropped Ananda Marchildon for having hips that were supposedly too wide. Photograph: AP

A Dutch fashion model turned furniture-maker has won her case against an international modelling agency after it rejected her for having hips that were “too large”.

Ananda Marchildon, 25, is now entitled to the remainder of the prize money she won four years ago in the television show Holland’s Next Top Model, which the agency, Elite, withheld after arguing she had not lost enough weight.

The Amsterdam district court said on Wednesday that Marchildon should receive €65,000 (£54,000) equivalent to the rest of the three-year contract she was awarded, of which she only received €10,000 before her dismissal.

Much of the case hung on whether or not Marchildon had been asked to reduce her hip size to below what it had been when she won.

An email exchange between the two parties provided key evidence. On 23 March 2010, the agency wrote to the model: “Today … we measured your hips at 98 centimeters [sic]. This is a reminder! The goal is that you have a hip circumference of no more than 90 cm at the end of June.”

Marchildon, who said she went on a strict diet and took copious amounts of exercise, responded that she was prepared to regain her former shape but would go no further. “If at the end of the road it appears that unfortunately not enough assignments have come in, that doesn’t change the obligations of the contract,” she wrote.

But according to the court ruling although the 180cm tall (5’11”) model had put on weight since gaining the contract, she had had a hip measurement of 92cm (36.2 inches) at the time of winning and the agency went too far by demanding she reduce it to 90cm.

“Elite had no right to demand Marchildon reach a hip size of 90cm,” the court ruled.

After the ruling Marchildon told the Daily Beast: “A huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. After almost two years of struggling I was finally proven right.”

She was commissioned for a photo shoot on Wednesday by an underwear company who called Marchildon “a beautiful woman”, adding: “It’s too crazy for words that a model who’s her size would be written off as too fat.”

In a statement, Marchildon, who became a cabinet maker after leaving the agency last September, said she planned to return to making furniture.

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