Isabelle Caro (28 years old!) has passed away. You remember her– the painfully skinny model featured in the controversial Olivieri Toscani-photographed posters for NoLita’s anti-anorexia campaign which decorated piazzas. Overnight, Caro became the literal poster child for anoxeria but the ad was so shocking that billboards were quickly removed and the sad image of emaciated Caro disappeared along with the attempt to bring anorexia to the public table.
Today, Caro’s family announced that she passed away in Tokyo on November 17. I suppose we knew it would happen, but somewhere in my heart, I hoped she was getting better. In elementary school, I faithfully read READ Magazine and around the time Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron was published in Read, there was also an account of Karen Carpenter‘s life. I don’t remember the finer details (and I would love to find old, 1980s copies of READ) but I do remember promising myself that I never let this happen to myself or anyone I remotely knew. Wasn’t this supposed to be the effect of NoLita’s short-lived ad? And with all our 21st century voyeurism, why were we so scared of a poster?