While most jobs have their ups and downs, the life of a professional model certainly seems to be one of the more glamorous careers a person can choose.
From being paid to dress in luxurious clothes, to travelling the world for various fashion shoots, the job often seems an enviable one.
It’s not without its hardships, however. Keeping your body fit and healthy is a major aspect – if not the main thing – about being a model. And if you’re an underwear model, well, there’s going to be a lot of attention on your skin.
Travelling for your work inevitably involves hotels. And though you’d expect a Victoria’s Secret model to be put up in nothing but the finest hotels, it turns out not to always be the case.
Sabrina Jales St. Pierre, a Brazilian model who’s worked for some of the top brands like Ralph Lauren, Versace and Victoria’s Secret, unfortunately learned this the hard way.
While staying at a hotel in California, she found herself on the receiving end of a particularly unglamorous hotel, and was allegedly ‘massacred’ by bed bugs during her stay.
Sabrina is now suing the hotel, claiming the bed bug bites caused her pain and emotional distress, as well as impacting her career, Desert Sun reports.
Brazilian model Sabrina Jales St. Pierre is suing a Palm Desert hotel claiming she was attacked by bedbugs during her 2016 stay
— KESQ News Channel 3 (@KESQ) June 27, 2018
Brian Virag, Sabrina’s attorney, said:
Sabrina started noticing the bed bug bites after her first night in the hotel and eventually she was massacred by bites covering pretty much her entire body.
Virag, a specialist in bed bug litigation, said the model’s bites were among the worst he had seen in his whole career.
Like most victims of bed bugs, Sabrina also had nightmares about the experience, and she still experiences psychological trauma and fear of bed bugs today.
This was especially traumatic for Sabrina because her body is her work, so this severely affected her work and her career. She had to continue working during the hotel stay, but the bite marks all over her body made her feel embarrassed, ashamed and humiliated.
The hotel’s general manager, Carlos Mendoza, disputes the claims, however, saying there was never any evidence of an infestation.
The room was investigated the day after the incident allegedly occurred, and no bugs were found. The hotel also called an external pest control company, who performed a second inspection, which also found no evidence of bed bugs.
In a gesture of goodwill, the hotel offered to dry clean Sabrina’s clothes.
Hotel manager Carlos Mendoza said:
The comfort and health and safety of our guests is most important. Our experience with bed bugs though is that people travel with them and bring them to hotels. Once they are in our rooms, we take corrective actions.
Speaking about the lawsuit, Mendoza said:
We did all the proper protocols and found no evidence [of bed bugs]. Now we have to go through the lawsuit to defend the reputation of the hotel.
The lawsuit is ongoing.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.