A 14-year-old model died in a Chinese hospital on Friday after a 13-hour modelling shoot and gruelling few months working in the country. The agency representing the Russian teen, Vlada Dzyuba, denied claims that she was overworked and exhausted.
Dzyuba, who was allowed to model under Chinese law despite her age, fell into a coma after Wednesday's gruelling shoot and was rushed to hospital where she died two days later, the Siberian Times reported.
She had been feeling sick and experiencing dizziness since last Tuesday, which the Siberian Times reported as having been "meningitis compounded by severe exhaustion". Dzyuba had previously appeared at Shanghai Fashion Week, which ended on 18th October, and was on a three-month modelling assignment in China.
Her modelling agency, ESEE Model Management, said on Weibo that the company "feel[s] sorry that we lost an angel,” but denied overworking her, saying she had worked a legal eight hours a day during her time in the country during her two months in the country before she died.
Zheng Yi, the company's chief executive, denied claims that Dzyuba had only meant to be working three hours a week in China, saying the number of work hours wasn't included in her contract. “Dzyuba had 16 different jobs during her two-month stay in China, she had regular breaks while working,” Zheng 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 organisers 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.