His world outside of the industry was shrinking. She said, “I never wanted to say no at work. I really got lucky. Any time Paolo Roversi or Craig McDean or Steven Meisel would call, it would be a sure yes. And then the parades take up a good part of the year, and soon you’re working on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Thanksgiving, without seeing your family.
She stopped. “Yeah, I didn’t pace myself very well.”
Ms van Seenus began to suffer from crippling anxiety and depression. It got so bad that she couldn’t get out of bed. “It completely stopped my life,” she said. She needed an outing. In 1997, she decided to quit modeling and moved to Woodstock, NY, before ending up in Los Angeles in 2001, where she enrolled at Santa Monica College to study art.
At the dining table, Ms. van Seenus shared her personal collection of test Polaroids she’s taken throughout her career. There’s one from David Sims, another from David LaChapelle. Mr. Friedlander affectionately referred to these younger versions of Ms. van Seenus as “Baby G.”
Ms. van Seenus entered the industry as a teenager. Soon her body began to change. No matter how hard she trained, how much she could slim her figure, her hips were always considered big, her breasts full. In an early Polaroid test, Ms van Seenus wears a bikini. His ribs are remarkably visible.
“I remember they couldn’t make it work,” she said. She noted that the industry’s endless comments about your body — this part of you is too big, this part of you is too small — could be exhausting in their contradictions.
“All of a sudden you feel like you have no protective barrier in the world,” Ms van Seenus said. “You are supposed to be available to people. You want to protect yourself and it’s starting to be that battle. Flawed vegan – “I try my best,” she said – Ms. van Seenus has also refused to model fur, which was once seen as a limitation.