Wandering Eye: Coercion in the modeling world, 'smart' toothbrushes, and more

New Republic published a piece this week by Jennifer Sky, who starred in the campy science-fiction series "Cleopatra 2525," on some of the coercion she experienced as a teenage model. "When I was 16 years old, I was brought to Mexico, given drugs, and was coerced into being photographed topless. I had been hired to model for a successful tanning product company called California Tan. I was a teenager alone in a foreign country," she writes. This experience wasn't an isolated one: Sky wrote an article for New York magazine back in 2013 that detailed the traumatic working conditions she experienced during her two years as a teenage model that led to her developing complex post-traumatic stress disorder, which she still struggles with now, 20 years later. Her New Republic piece focuses specifically on nude photos of minors that are all too common in the fashion industry: "Kate Moss, too, was only seventeen when she was infamously photographed nude for the 1992 Calvin Klein Obsession campaign. In a recent video interview with Nick Knight, Moss spoke about the abusive way her then-boyfriend Mario Sorrenti, a darling of the fashion world, forced her to strip and be photographed nude even after she had expressly said no." She writes that "young fashion models are particularly vulnerable to predatory behaviors and child abuse because the fashion industry falls under the umbrella of 'art,'" and argues that it's time to extend the worker protections that protect other child performers to fashion models. (Anna Walsh)


Ah, this isn’t creepy at all. A company that markets a "connected" toothbrush, which transmits data about its user's tooth-brushing habits, is pivoting into the dental insurance business, hoping to capitalize on the data its devices will generate. As Fortune Magazine tells it, "A consumer downloads the Beam app and a sensors [sic] on the toothbrush send data to the app via Bluetooth radio. The toothbrush can determine how long you brush and a software update will soon add the ability to tell users where they spent the most time brushing and the pressure used. The app can then offer feedback about where the user could do a better job." This of course makes perfect sense: "One of our fundamental beliefs is, if I am insuring you, I want you to have all access to preventative health measures," says Alex Frommeyer, Beam's CEO. "So if I am insuring you, I should be paying for your toothbrush, floss, and toothpaste." Next up, no doubt: "Smart" IUDs that transmit direct to your health insurer. Well, at least it's not a "government takeover of health care," right? (Edward Ericson Jr.)


The already-crowded field for the Republican nomination for president got another entrant yesterday when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie threw his hat into the ring. Today, The Washington Post has an interesting profile on the combustible politican that's worth a read regardless of where you stand on his politics. The premise is this: "He is, in a sense, a human opera — comedy, tragedy, farce, drama — all distilled in one utterly arresting package." The so-called "L'opera di Christie" features a man who's not afraid to cry but also not afraid to blow his top at a heckler on Atlantic City's boardwalk. And it turns out this attitude can be traced back to Christie's upbringing in the northern suburb of Livingston. His parents would argue intensely, but they also loved each other intensely. As the writer notes: "Christies do everything big. Big hugs. Big I-love-yous. Big tears. Big fights. Big makeups." It remains to be seen how all those emotions will help or hurt Christie's chances. (Brandon Weigel)

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