The Ugly Side of the Fashion Industry: Model Ruslana Korshunova's Suicide

Suicide is not something to make light of. (It is, however, worthy of an eye-roll when you make a half-hearted attempt to fake your own death to avoid jail. I'm looking at you Samuel Israel III and your "suicide is painless" message written on the trunk of your car.) The coverage of the suicide of model Ruslana Korshunova, however, has one minor irritant that needs to be pointed out. Again, it is awful that this 20-year-old woman was in so much emotional pain that she jumped to her death from her Water St. apartment on Saturday. But Korshunova, no matter what the papers say, was not a supermodel.

It seems that "supermodel" has become the default term for anyone who struts down the runway and poses for magazine covers. Korshunova may have been a rising star in the fashion industry (she had appeared on the covers of French Elle and Russian Vogue), but she was not in the pantheon of stars that can simply go by their first names: Kate (Moss), Naomi (Campbell), Cindy (Crawford), Linda (Evangelista), etc. Heck, even Agyness Deyn at this point is closer to supermodel status than this random beauty.

Beyond that point--which again, is totally minor--today's coverage of Korshunova's death concentrates on the reactions to her suicide from family and friends. Her boyfriend Mark Kaminsky tells the Daily News that Korshunova "was doing good. She was one of the top models. She was happy with this." The News also features excerpts from her blog on its website, where the model ruminates on love and life with observations such as, "boys..why are you so silly?" and "i'm so lost..will i ever find myself?.." The messages were posted on a Russian social networking site, but the news doesn't specify whether they were originally written in English or Russian. (The assumption I'm going on, because of the choice the News made in keeping everything lowercase, is that they were posted in English.)

The Post talks to Kaminsky and Korshunova's ex-boyfriend, Artem Perchenok, who tells the paper,

"It [her career] was taking off. She was busy, busy. When you're 20 years old and you travel the world, how can you complain? But . . . your family's back home and people are telling you what to do and how much to eat and how to walk."

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Perchenok also spoke to the Daily News and told the paper he had spent time with Korshunova the night before she died. They hung out at his parents' home in Queens. "I felt she came to say goodbye," he tells the News.

The Post also reports that Korshunova had complained of stomach pains in the week before her death and that the size-4 model had "dropped some serious weight." Korshunova left no note.


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