Tragically the girl died in China in circumstances that are still being fully clarified. Picture: Oksana Dzyuba
Vlada Dzyuba, 14, was dreaming of catwalk stardom, but now her parents ‘cannot afford to fly her body home’ to bury her.
Like many hopeful supermodels, schoolgirl Vlada from Perm had the looks for a career in international modelling.
She was sought after for big fashion shows and there are claims she was on a gruelling 13-hour shoot shortly before falling into a coma.
Several top modelling agencies in two countries along with a ‘manager’ arranged her trip to China on a three month contract, missing her school classes back home to do so.
Tragically the girl died in China in circumstances that are still being fully clarified. But there can be no doubt her death was utterly appalling – and avoidable.
‘Shanghai Fashion Week is also investigating when, why and where the 14-year-old Dzyuba died. She could have collapsed after the show.’ Pictures: Vlada Dzyuba
Leaving aside any blame, her tragic story is likely to hold lessons for those – anywhere – who deploy teenage girls as models, often enticing them with starry-eyed hopes of fame and fortune in the future, a goal reached by only a handful.
The parents do not have enough money to bring the girl’s body back to Russia and she will be cremated in China, reported Mash.
Her ashes will be then flown home.
Reports in Russia indicate that for an earlier two month contract based in Beijing this girl was paid around $3,000, but that most of this was eaten up paying for air fares, accommodation, food, tax and insurance, said Komsomolskaya Pravda.
Although – everyone agrees Vlada on her latest trip did not have the medical insurance that she needed when her condition suddenly became critical.
On 25 October, she had taken part in a 13-hour long shoot for a jewellery catalogue. Picture: Oksana Dzyuba
On her earlier trip she received around $500 profit from her earnings over 60 or so days – or $8 a day.
Yet undoubtedly her head was turned by the prospects of future modelling success. She had urged per parents to let her make the most of her modelling opportunities.
Accounts vary over precisely what happened to Vlada, and the Global Times in Beijing has disputed the version used in our earlier story by The Siberian Times which came mainly from Russian sources.
In particular, a Chinese modelling agency recruiting her to the country denied it had ‘overworked her’ during her stay.
Having worked at the prestigious Shanghai Fashion Show, Vlada fell sick during another catwalk appearance in Hagnzhou, it appears.
She died overnight on 27 October.
‘She came back to Perm a slightly different personality – grown up, a daring and active girl.’ Picture: Oksana Dzyuba
Zheng Yi, chief executive of ESEE Model Management, told The Global Times on Sunday: ‘Dzyuba had received 16 different jobs during her two months’ stay in China.
‘She had regular breaks while working. Most of her work was completed within eight hours. Her workload was moderate compared with other models.’
Earlier Russian accounts reported by The Siberian Times suggested she died during a 13-hour fashion show.
Zheng insisted her contract was ‘legal’.
ESEE Model Management had signed a three-month contract with Dzyuba’s home company, Smirnoff Models based in St. Petersburg, Russia, said the agency boss.
Surprisingly, ‘the number of working hours is not stated in the contract’, Zheng said according to The Global Times.
‘Vlada was daily talking to her parents on Skype, saying how happy she was. Picture: Oksana Dzyuba
Russian reports had claimed the girl was overworked and did not have medical insurance which made her reluctant to seek hospital treatment even though her mother – back home in Russia – had urged her to do so.
The Global Times reported: ‘China’s Labour Law provides for an eight-hour work day, and 44 hours a week. The law states that cultural, sports and special arts employees are entitled to recruit teenagers under the age 16, but they have to fulfil national permission procedures and ensure their rights to education.”
Earlier reports said that the girl had suffered from ‘utter exhaustion’ and meningitis leading to her collapsing minutes before her latest catwalk appearance.
The Global Times stated that ‘the young model was suffering from septicopyemia, or a type of blood poisoning… with multiple visceral organs damaged, liver dysfunction and renal insufficiency’.
Elvira Zaitseva, head of the agency Great Model. Picture: Elvira Zaitseva
The newspaper said she died ‘of multiple organ dysfunction syndrome’, citing medical records.
ESEE Model Management – in China – paid for her medical bills, according to a statement Zheng provided, it was reported.
A media representative from the Shanghai Fashion Week told the Global Times Sunday: ‘Shanghai Fashion Week is also investigating when, why and where the 14-year-old Dzyuba died. She could have collapsed after the show.’
The fashion show has nothing to do with Dzyuba’s death as the show ended on October 18, Zheng said.
The newspaper reported: ‘Dzyuba arrived in Yiwu Monday night and checked in at a local hotel.
‘The next day, she was normal, ate breakfast and worked until she felt sick late at night.’
ESEE Model Management had signed a three-month contract with Dzyuba’s home company, Smirnoff Models based in St. Petersburg, Russia. Picture: Dmitry Smirnov
Her agent cancelled her stay on Wednesday, the statement reads.
‘It said, Dzyuba returned to Shanghai at noon and rested at her hotel but she continued feeling uncomfortable.
‘At around 6 pm, she was sent to the Shanghai Rui Jin Hospital’s emergency room, and the Russian embassy was also informed.
‘On Thursday, Russian embassy staff and the local police arrived at the hospital and inquired about the case.
‘Dzyuba was then sent to the intensive care unit (ICU) as her condition deteriorated, according to the statement sent by Zheng.
‘Global Times has not received a response from the Russian embassy as of press time.
‘Dzyuba was accompanied by ESEE management personnel at the Rui Jin Hospital, Zheng added.
Vlada’s mom Oksana is now flying to China, and Russian diplomats have been asked to postpone her cremation until she arrives. Picture: Oksana Dzyuba
It has emerged that the child had started modelling aged 12 when she was 178 cm tall. Her mother, editor in chief of a Perm glamour magazine, had brought her to a modelling agency.
Elvira Zaitseva, head of the agency Great Model, perhaps emphasising unintentionally the pressures on young girls, said: ‘When Vlada just started, she was full of teenager insecurities.
‘She was shy, she used to slouch. We had to work hard with her.’
After a year attending modelling school, Vlada took part in fashion shows. She had to be 14 in order to travel abroad alone, and did so after receiving her passport for foreign travel, visiting China.
The parents do not have enough money to bring the girl’s body back to Russia and she will be cremated in China. Picture: Oksana Dzyuba
Zaitseva explained: ‘In this country (China), the active age of models is young, from 14 to 18 years old. So far there is no jobs for teenage girls in Europe.
‘We discussed her career with her parents, and decided to send her to China. They treat young models with great care there.
‘Vlada was daily talking to her parents on Skype, saying how happy she was.
‘She was telling stories about fashion shows, about what an exciting oriental country China is, and that she became a face of a transatlantic company.’
While she was away from school, ‘kept studying’, reported Komsomolskaya Pravda.
Zaitseva said: ‘She came back to Perm a slightly different personality – grown up, a daring and active girl. We thought that she would dive into her studies, but she didn’t.
Doctors at a Shanghai hospital that fought for Vlada’s life. Pictures: NTV
‘All she could speak about was a modelling career. While she was in China she started to chat to other girls, to those who already worked abroad.
‘She was dreaming about applying to an International Modeling Academy in Singapore after completing her 9th class. Her parents supported her.’
The newspaper reported that her parents supported her in returning to China.
On 25 October, she had taken part in a 13-hour long shoot for a jewellery catalogue before doing another show by a prominent oriental designer.
She collapsed into a coma and an ambulance took her to hospital.
A man believed to be her manager has declined to comment on her death. Picture: The Siberian Times
Perm investigators and human rights experts are probing the case. The human rights ombudsman in Perm, Pavel Mikov, said he was personally investigating the girl’s death.
Her distraught mother Oksana wept: ‘She was calling me, saying ‘Mama, I am so tired. I so much want to sleep’.
‘It must have been the very beginning of the illness… And then her temperature shot up. I didn’t sleep myself and was calling her constantly, begging her to go to hospital.’
The mother – who also has a young baby – sought a visa to be with her daughter but could not get it before her child died.
She is now flying to China, and Russian diplomats have been asked to postpone her cremation until she arrives.
A man believed to be her manager has declined to comment on her death.
Vlada Dzyuba, 14, died on October 27 in Rui Jin Hospital, Shanghai, in circumstances that are still being fully clarified.