A 14-year-old Russian model is dead from exhaustion during Shanghai Fashion Week after falling into a coma on Wednesday. Vlada Dzyuba died in a Chinese hospital after complaining of being tired — and preliminary reports reveal her death was caused by meningitis combined with extreme exhaustion.
According to WWD, the brunette beauty was on a three-month modeling contract and was making $8 a day. While some sources reported that she was working more hours than her contract stipulated, including a 13-hour show, ESSE Model Management denies the claims she was overworked.
"Contrary to reports stating that Dzyuba died from extreme fatigue, [Dzyuba] had only been sent on 16 assignments during her two months in the country," ESEE said, "with most of them ending within an eight-hour time frame." According to her reps, Vlada started feeling sick on Tuesday while on assignment and was taken back to Shanghai the following day where she was checked into a local hospital. On Thursday, she was placed in intensive care and by Friday, Oct. 26., she had passed away.
According to Vlada's mom, "She was calling me, saying 'Mama, I am so tired. I so much want to sleep.' It must have been the very beginning of the illness… and then her temperature shot up. I didn't sleep myself and was calling her constantly, begging her to go to hospital." Her death has since been reclassified as "multiple organ failures as well as liver and renal dysfunction brought on by sepsis."
Helga Gelfrikh, another Russian model who worked in China, revealed that the industry does not care about the health of its young workers. "It's hell for models to go work in China at that age,” she told The Daily Telegraph. “The body hasn't gotten strong at that point, nor has the mind, but the workloads are big. That's why [Vlada's] body couldn't take it.” A human rights official in Vlada's hometown of Perm is also working to ban children from working as models.
Our thoughts are with Vlada's family and friends during this difficult time.