Ashley Sabin, David Redmon, USA, 2011, color, video, 78'
Who wouldn't want to fly off to the vibrant city of Tokyo if they'd grown up in the poverty and cold of Siberia? Thirteen-year-old Nadja is skin and bones with big blue peepers, and she's had the good fortune to be able to get started as a model in the Japanese capital. It seems like the ideal way of fleeing poverty and shaking off her dowdy image, but it turns out to be harder for her to make her way in Tokyo than she had expected. Nadya's model scout Ashley knows all about it. Resigned to the situation, she observes how the Japanese are obsessed by youth and beauty. She looks back on her career and sees how not every girl in a bikini is really earning her money from photo shoots. Small, personal photo projects give Ashley at least some sense of making a creative contribution to the world. Although she is well aware of the situation that Nadya and her underage colleagues are being pushed into, she is simply unable to turn her back on this world she despises. The filmmakers followed the two women, who speak frankly about their lives and represent two extremes of the tough world of modeling; while Nadya's determination to make it as a model intensifies, so does Ashley's ambivalent and pessimistic view of the modeling world.