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October 16, 2009

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Former model fired for being 'too large'

A FORMER Ralph Lauren model whose image in a roundly criticized advertisement was digitally slenderized has said the company did not renew her contract because she was "too large."

Polo Ralph Lauren Corp says it dismissed Filippa Hamilton because of a contract dispute and that the photo was mistakenly released.

"They fired me because they said I was overweight and I couldn't fit in their clothes anymore," 23-year-old Filippa Hamilton, who had worked for the company since she was 15, said. She said she considered Polo Ralph Lauren her second family.

The company acknowledged that the image of Hamilton that appeared last week in a Tokyo mall had been digitally altered. She went public after the photo surfaced.

Hamilton, a New York resident who is half-Swedish and was raised in France, has been looking for another job since she was let go in April, said Jesse Derris, her spokesman at Sunshine Sachs & Associates.

The photo's depiction of her, with hips about as narrow as her head, could make young women "think that it's normal to look like that -and it's not," the 1.8 meter, 54-kilogram model, told NBC's "Today" show. "I saw my face on this super-extremely skinny girl, which is not me; it's not healthy, it's not right."

Polo Ralph Lauren claimed she "was too large," she added, saying that she's a size 4 and that her weight had remained constant during eight years as a model for the American brand.

The company said the "very distorted image" was "mistakenly released."

Polo Ralph Lauren said its relationship with Hamilton ended last April "as a result of her inability to meet the obligations under her contract with us," a contract whose terms were confidential.


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