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14-Year-Old Model Died of Exhaustion While Working in China

Vlada Dzyuba

On Friday, The 14 years old Russian national model Vlada Dzyuba died in a Chinese hospital after reportedly suffered a series of health ailments before falling into a coma on
Wednesday.

Dzyuba had been working for ESEE Model Management on a three month-long modeling contract and was reportedly making about $8 a day.

Reporting on her death, The Siberian Times alleges that Dzyuba had worked more than the hours her contract allowed, including a 13-hour fashion show, according to some reports and didn’t have medical insurance. ESEE Model Management refuted these allegations in a press conference, WWD reports. “Contrary to reports stating that Dzyuba died from extreme fatigue, [Dzyuba] had only been sent on 16 assignments during her two months in the country,” ESEE said, “with most of them ending within an eight-hour time frame.” On the days leading to her death, ESEE offered the following schedule:

“[on Tuesday], Dzyuba had been at a photo shoot in Yiwu, a city in central Zhejiang Province, and started feeling sick that evening at her hotel. The next day, as she was still feeling unwell, the agency canceled her assignment and had her return to Shanghai. She was taken to the emergency room of Shanghai Ruijin Hospital at 6 p.m. that evening and Russian consulate officials were contacted. On that Thursday, she was taken to intensive care, due to her deteriorating condition, and on Friday, at 7:36 a.m., she died.”

British newspaper The Guardian also quotes an ESEE Model Management account writing “we feel sorry that we lost an angel” on Weibo, a Chinese social media network.

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While her preliminary cause of death was “meningitis compounded by severe exhaustion,” WWD notes it has since been reclassified as “multiple organ failures as well as liver and renal dysfunction brought on by sepsis.” (This is in line with a report from the organizers of Shanghai Fashion Week, which Dzyuba walked for, also suggested that the model suffered from septicopyemia, a kind of blood poisoning that works to destroy many central organs.)

According to Dzyuba’s mother Oksana, the model had called her before, sharing:British newspaper The Guardian also quotes an ESEE Model Management account writing “we feel sorry that we lost an angel” on Weibo, a Chinese social media network.

While her preliminary cause of death was “meningitis compounded by severe exhaustion,” WWD notes it has since been reclassified as “multiple organ failures as well as liver and renal dysfunction brought on by sepsis.” (This is in line with a report from the organizers of Shanghai Fashion Week, which Dzyuba walked for, also suggested that the model suffered from septicopyemia, a kind of blood poisoning that works to destroy many central organs.)

According to Dzyuba’s mother Oksana, the model had called her before, sharing:

“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.”

Russian officials in Dzyuba’s hometown of Perm have announced that they are investigating her death. They’re specifically looking into whether it was caused by neglect, particularly due to Dzyuba’s reported lack of any health insurance.

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Dmitry Smirnov, a scout who helped broker Dzyuba’s contract with Esee Models, claimed, “Vlada and her mom signed the contract, and Vlada went by herself to Shanghai.” He added that Dzyuba had previously worked a similar contract for three months in Taiwan.

In a statement provided to the New York Times on Tuesday, Esee Models shared, “We lost an angel. We must be strong and persevere in the aftermath. We are now working on an arrangement for the family’s visit to China. We are also doing our best to communicate and cooperate with relevant departments.”

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