Anorexic model Isabelle Caro dies

2010-12-30 10:01
Paris - Isabelle Caro, a French actress and model whose emaciated image appeared in a shock Italian ad campaign and whose anorexia and career were followed by others suffering from eating disorders, has died at the age of 28.

Her longtime acting instructor, Daniele Dubreuil-Prevot, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Caro died on November 17 after returning to France from a job in Tokyo.

27 kg

Dubreuil-Prevot said she did not know the cause of death but that Caro "had been sick for a long time", referring to her anorexia.

Caro was featured in an ad campaign by Italian photographer Oliviero Toscani in 2007 for an Italian fashion house. Under the headline "No Anorexia", images across newspapers and billboards showed Caro naked, vertebrae and facial bones protruding.

In later interviews, she said she weighed about 27 kg when the photos were taken.

Caro said on her blog and in interviews that she had suffered from anorexia since she was 13. She wrote a book published in France in 2008 titled The Little Girl Who Didn't Want to Get Fat.

'Die young, stay pretty'

The Italian ad campaign came as the fashion industry came under an unusually bright spotlight about anorexia, after a 21-year-old Brazilian model died from the eating disorder. Her agent, Sylvie Fabregon, told AP that it was intended "to show what it is like to be anorexic".

Some groups working with anorexics warned, however, that it did a disservice to those afflicted with the disorder.

Images of Caro appeared on so-called pro-ana, or pro-anorexia websites. On Wednesday, one posted a notice about her death and a photo of her, large blue-green eyes peering over a child-size upper arm, with the caption, "die young, stay pretty".

Her life and death drew other kinds of followers as well.

Swiss singer Vincent Bigler and Caro had been working on a video for a song he wrote about anorexia called J'ai fin, a wordplay in French that means roughly "I am the end" but is pronounced identically to "I am hungry".

Bigler said he penned the song after being so moved and worried by seeing Caro on television, and meant the lyrics to focus on hope and healing.

Caro "left me with many images, and much hope", he said by telephone, describing her different moods and ideas as they worked on the project together.

'Believe in life'

Caro herself spoke out about her anorexia and her efforts to recover, and the menace of eating disorders on the fashion industry.

Her acting instructor described years in and out of hospitals. Her death and her illness "are an absolute waste", Dubreuil-Prevot said.

Caro's Facebook page says she was born September 12 1982. She took violin lessons and then acting lessons in Nantes and Versailles, according to Dubreuil-Prevot.

The Italian ad campaign gained Caro widespread attention in media in countries around Europe and in the United States. She subsequently served as a member of the jury on Top Model France, and worked periodically as a film and television actress.

Caro's father alerted a few close friends at the time of her death, and a funeral service was held in Paris, according to Dubreuil-Prevot. Her family could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

In one online video, Caro ends with words of advice for aspiring models: "Believe in life."


  • Blackpride - 2010-12-30 10:44

    What a sad story. May she rest in peace. I hope that her story will inspire people from all over the world who suffer from anorexia, bulimia, obesity and any other eating disorders to seek help and believe in life.

  • Blackpride - 2010-12-30 10:47

    How sad. May she rest in peace. I hope that her story will inspire anorexia, bulimia, obessity and other eating disorder sufferers, around the world, to seek help and believe in life.

  • darkwing - 2010-12-30 15:28

    This is sad. Remember Karen Carpenter?

      Perfume - 2011-05-05 11:53

      Did she die of the same thing? I need to Google interesting you brought her name up, remember the late Princess Diana who also suffered from bulimia.

  • Tieneke - 2010-12-31 11:02

    This is so sad,only 28 and what was her life? What will she be remembered for? No kids, never felt true unconditional love, because for people to love her she felt she had to be this thin....? And just the pleasure to sit down to a nice meal, eat it and not feel guilty, wow such a basic pleasure!

  • nonamejv - 2010-12-31 14:23

    Very sad and very scary. Taking my family to first steak house right now.

  • Perfume - 2011-05-05 11:52

    RIP Isabelle, I pray that this story will begin to highlight anorexia, young girls look at these models and think it is the norm to look like that!!

  • Perfume - 2011-05-05 11:52

    RIP Isabelle, I pray that this story will begin to highlight anorexia, young girls look at these models and think it is the norm to look like that!!

  • kaz - 2011-05-05 12:45

    The mental anguish she must have endured for years is far more than anyone can imagine. Anorexia is a terrible disorder. It is so sad that she was not able to beat it. I had anorexia and at 18 weighed 35kg and was treated for malnutrition and hospitalized so I can relate to what these girls go through. May you rest in peace Isabelle.

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