- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 21, 2007

Not all anorexic

Supermodel Gisele Bundchen has entered the growing debate over anorexia, saying families are to blame — not the fashion industry.

“I never suffered this problem because I had a very strong family base,” she told the Sao Paulo, Brazil, newspaper Globo on Friday. “The parents are responsible, not fashion.”

The 26-year-old model was in Brazil for the annual Fashion Rio, a weeklong showcase for some of the country’s top designers.

Anorexia became a hot issue in Brazil after the deaths of four young women last month, including 21-year-old model Ana Carolina Reston.

Splashed across the front pages of newspapers nationwide, the subject has held morbid fascination for Brazilians, and was even the theme of a popular TV soap opera. It also sparked a debate within Brazil’s fashion industry.

“Everybody knows the standard for models is to be thin,” Miss Bundchen said. “But you can’t generalize and say that all models are anorexic.”

Other countries, too, have begun to address what they see as the dangerous link between high fashion glamour and an unhealthy image of women. In September, Madrid’s Fashion week banned underweight models. Italy’s designers followed suit in December, requiring models to submit proof that they do no suffer from an eating disorder.

Miss Bundchen, who left home for a three-month modeling job in Japan when she was 14, said family support was key to her.

“You leave home, the protection of your parents, but you still know you have their support,” said the Brazilian, who has five sisters.

Croc Hunter doll

Crikey. A talking “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin action figure that has his recorded voice reciting his signature phrase will go on sale nationwide next month.

With the blessing of his widow, the 39-piece Steve Irwin Wildlife Adventure Series as well as plush toys and educational items will be part of the 2007 International Toy Fair in New York next month, toy maker K&M; International said.

K&M; was ready to drop its plans after Mr. Irwin died Sept. 4 from a poisonous stingray barb piercing his chest, but Terri Irwin wanted to go ahead, said G.B. Pillai, K&M; president.

“We want people to know what he stood for and never forget him,” Mr. Pillai said.

Mr. Irwin had recorded the voice for his action figure, dressed in khaki shorts and shirt with hiking boots. The doll describes a crocodile rescue, sprinkled with funny phrases in his thick Australian accent.

“Holy Guacamole,” it says at one point. “Do you see that? It’s a giant golden orb spider and she’s built her web right across our path. It’s super sticky for catching small birds and bats. Let’s not disturb it.”

The toys will also be sold in Britain, Canada, France and Germany. They’ve been sold at Mr. Irwin’s family-owned Australia Zoo for the past year. K&M; also plans to offer a line of plush toys called Bindi’s Friends, named for the Irwins’ daughter, who will debut her own show on the Discovery Channel.

Mr. Irwin’s final documentary, called “Ocean’s Deadliest,” aired yesterday on Discovery. It did not include footage shot the day he died.

c Compiled by Kevin Chaffee from wire reports.

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