Agency Denies 14-Year-Old Model Died From "Overwork" During Fashion Week

Photo: Sunny Shrokae

A 14-year-old model died in a Chinese hospital on Friday after a 13-hour modeling shoot and a grueling few months working in the country.

Vlada Dzyuba, who was allowed to model under Chinese law despite her age, fell into a coma after walking in a show at Shanghai Fashion Week on Wednesday and was rushed to hospital where she died two days later. The Siberian Times reports she had been feeling sick and experiencing dizziness since last Tuesday, noting she was suffering from "meningitis compounded by severe exhaustion."

ESEE Model Management, the agency representing the Russian teen, denied claims that she was overworked and exhausted. On Weibo, the company said it "feel[s] sorry that we lost an angel,” but said she had worked a legal eight hours a day during her time in the country. “Dzyuba had 16 different jobs during her two-month stay in China, she had regular breaks while working,” Zheng Yi, the company's chief executive, told the Chinese state-run Global Times Sunday. “Most of her work was completed within eight hours. Her workload was moderate compared with other models.”

A medical report from the organizers of Shanghai Fashion Week, shown to the Global Times, said Dzyuba had been suffering from septicopyemia — a type of blood poisoning — with "multiple visceral organs damaged, liver dysfunction and renal insufficiency," when she died. She reportedly told her mother in Russia by phone that she was exhausted shortly before her death.

According to The Sun, Dzyuba was paid just £6.30 a day for her catwalk appearances and had to pay for her own air fares, hotels and food. She was reportedly "scared" to ask for hospital treatment in China because she didn't have medical insurance on her latest trip, the newspaper reported.

Her parents now "cannot afford" to fly their daughter's body home and her ashes will instead be transported to Russia in a month's time, but Russian diplomats have reportedly asked that the cremation be postponed until her mother arrives in China.