I once saw Fillippa Hamilton waltzing through Union Square, willowy, lithe, and much thinner than I assumed she’d be. Seeing a model for the first time is much like seeing a giraffe; you know this leaf-eater was going to look impossibly exotic and beautiful from what you’ve seen in National Geographic or Vogue, but in real life, their build seems even more improbable. Lucky for the giraffes, they never get airbrushed within an inch of their lives or lose contracts because they’ve eaten one too many apricot leaves. Unless the giraffe happens to work for Ralph Lauren. That’s what happened to Hamilton, whose 5’10” 120-pound frame was airbrushed to look as if the Cindy Crawford-esque girl was suddenly a bobble-head Bratz doll, before she later got the boot for being “too fat.”
Hamilton went on Today to discuss her outrage about the cartoonish picture, and maintains that she has not gained any weight during her eight-year stint with the all-American brand. “I think they owe American women an apology, a big apology,” she said. “I’m very proud of what I look like, and I think a role model should look healthy.”
Ralph Lauren says her contract was terminated “as a result of her inability to meet the obligations under her contract with us.” Inability to travel? No, she put the label first — she’s been loyal since the age of 15. Kate Mossian drug problem? Not that the world knows about. “They fired me because they said I was overweight and I couldn’t fit in their clothes anymore,” claims Hamilton.
Everyone has heard the story of the model who struggles with weight, judgmental directors, and chiding bookers until she finally breaks — Crystal Renn turned her frustration into a successful career as a plus-sized model, and Glamour magazine has been making their pages a safe haven for plus-sized and “real” looking women, for models and their readers. But this isn’t the case for the size 4 Hamilton. One examiner suggests that Ralph Lauren works in a man’s world, and simply lost interest, leaving Hamilton because “she got lazy, gained weight or just doesn’t take care of herself,” and the manly company started looking at other women. A disillusioned collusion for which the author quotes Steve Santagati, author of The Manual: A True Bad Boy Explains How Men Think, Date and Mate – and What Women Can Do to Come Out on Top, in order to tie in why Hamilton was dropped from her contract: “She ain’t what she used to be.”