Vlada Dzyuba, 14, reportedly died after a gruelling 12-hour fashion show in Shanghai.
The teen model from Perm, in the Urals, Russia, collapsed backstage and fell into a two-day coma before passing away.
The Siberian Times has said that the preliminary cause of death is meningitis compounded by severe exhaustion.
Vlada’s mother Oksana wasn’t with her daughter at the fashion show but she was in contact throughout:
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.
The tragic case highlights the dangerous conditions models can be forced to endure to try and succeed in a cut-throat industry.
At just 14-years-old most agencies would consider Vlada too young to begin working as a model.
However, in an industry obsessed with youth, beauty and thinness, you can see how there would be pressure to use younger and younger models as those beauty standards become more and more unrealistic as people age.
Focusing so much on the surface appearance, as fashion necessarily must, it is tragic that sometimes people’s inner lives are ignored.
There have been several high-profile cases of eating disorders or drug addictions among models, but in Vlada’s case it was a less dramatic but equally dangerous illness that was missed.
The Siberian Times reports she did not go to hospital when she felt ill because she had not been provided with medical insurance.
She was working for a prominent Chinese modelling agency on a three-month contract.
Our thoughts are with her family.