A top Russian child model who died in China from ‘exhaustion’ made just £6.30 a day after paying her air fares, hotels and food, it was claimed today.
Vlada Dzyuba, 14, from the industrial city of Perm in Russia, missed school to work on catwalks on a ‘three month contract’ to realise her dream of becoming a supermodel.
But the teenager died from ‘utter exhaustion’ and meningitis as she waited for her latest assignment thousands of miles from home in China.
Her parents say they ‘cannot afford’ to fly her body home and she is expected to be cremated with her ashes returned to her homeland after a month.
Her case raises acute fears over the exploitation of children by the glamour industry.
A new Beijing account of her death says she died from ‘septicopyemia’ – blood poisoning with ‘multiple visceral organs damaged, liver dysfunction and renal insufficiency’.
Official newspaper The Global Times reported she died of ‘multiple organ dysfunction syndrome’, citing medical records, but it is understood tests are still being conducted.
Before she went into a coma she had told her mother back home in Russia by phone that she was exhausted.
Vlada is reported to have attended a 13-hour jewellery modelling shoot before collapsing after becoming the latest Russian teenage model to travel to China.
Her parents fear they ‘cannot afford’ to fly her body home. Russian diplomats have asked that a cremation is delayed until her mother – Oksana – arrives in China.
On an earlier contract in China, Vlada received just £6.30 a day for her catwalk appearances once her air fares, hotels, food and insurance had been taken from her earnings, reported the Russian media.
The girl was ‘scared’ to seek hospital treatment because she did not have medical insurance on her latest trip to China, say the media citing her mother.
The Chinese modelling agency involved in her latest trip has denied overworking her – but new facts have emerged that raise concern over the working conditions of a girl who was not accompanied by her mother.
Among these is the length of her employment hours, which could be more than eight hours a day, and how she could be in China without medical insurance.
In Russia she would be permitted to work three hours a week, it has been reported.
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.’
Zheng insisted her contract was ‘legal’ even though it did not specify the number of working hours.
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.
How she came to be working in China without medical insurance is not explained.
However, once she became ill, the modelling agency did pay her bills, it is understood.
The girl had appeared at the prestigious Shanghai Fashion Week. before going on to other assignments.
Once she fell ill, she was sent to hospital and the Russian Embassy was informed.
‘Russian embassy staff and the local police arrived at the hospital and inquired about the case,’ said Zheng.
‘Dzyuba was then sent to the intensive care unit (ICU) as her condition deteriorated.’
It has emerged that the girl’s mother Oksana is a glamour magazine editor in Russia and that she had encouraged her daughter into a modelling career.
Yet Vlada had ‘insecurities’ about modelling, The Siberian Times reported.
Elvira Zaitsvea, head of Great Model agency in Perm, admitted: ‘When Vlada just started, she was full of teenager insecurities.
‘She was shy, she used to slouch. We had to work hard with her.’
She admitted such length contracts were banned in Europe which is why she went to China.
‘We discussed her career with her parents, and decided to send her to China,’ she said.
‘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 had become a face of a transatlantic company.’
Russian investigators and human rights experts are now probing the case.
Her distraught mother 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.
A man believed to be her manager who negotiated her Chinese contract has declined to comment on her death. (DailyMail)