French model Isabelle Caro, known for posing nude for an anti-anorexia ad campaign that ran during Milan Fashion Week in 2007, has died.
Though news of Caro’s tragic death just broke today, she died on November 17 after being treated for an acute lung infection in Tokyo, her acting instructor, Daniele Dubreuil-Prevot, confirmed to the Associated Press. The cause of death, and the reason her death is only being reported a month and a half after she died, are both unknown.
Caro’s anti-anorexia campaign, shot by Olivero Toscani, made headlines and caused controversy when it ran in Milan in 2007. Numerous reports have stated that Caro weighed just 59 pounds when she was photographed for the campaign, which ran on billboards and in newspapers.
According to StyleList, the campaign was endorsed by the Italian Ministry of Health, but designers took issue with it–Dolce & Gabbana said that anorexia has “nothing to do with fashion,” and Giorgio Armani said, “even people who take no notice of fashion get anorexic.”
The campaign ran shortly after 21-year-old Brazilian model Ana Carolina Reston died of anorexia.
Caro was vocal about her struggle with the disorder. She appeared on CBS News shortly after her shocking campaign ran in Milan. “I’ve been anorexic since I was 13,” Caro said, “I said if i can put my years of suffering to use, then it will not have been pointless…it’s really a warning that this is a serious illness.” Following the campaign Caro also told reporters, “I thought this could be a chance to use my suffering to get a message across, and finally put an image on what thinness represents and the danger it leads to — which is death.”
She admitted to CBS News that she accentuates the freckles around her eyes, drawing them in with make up, because, she said, “if someone is looking at my eyes, they’re not looking at the rest of me.”
Just last year, Caro appeared on Jessica Simpson’s short-lived VH1 show, The Price of Beauty, and moved the pop star to tears. She also told Simpson that she was working to pass a law in French parliament that would prohibit models from working if they are too thin. “What you’re doing right now makes you one of the most beautiful people we have ever seen,” Simpson told Caro. Simpson has said some pretty bonehead things in the past, but this is right on the money.