What young women think about the shapes they see

REBECCA FOWLER interviewed performing arts students from North Herts College, Hitchin
Melissa Ghigliotti, 17:

"I think this is really demeaning to women. Not only does it portray them really negatively, it sets bad role models for 12- and 13-year-olds who think this is how they should look if they want to get anywhere in life. I showed it to my mum, and she thought it was horrible too. I come from a family where I'm the odd one out, because I'm not skinny. My sister is very influenced. She's 23 and she goes through all the magazines. I'm happy with myself, and maybe she's not."

Sarah Horne, 17:

"Jodie Kidd looks ill. Her elbows are sticking out, you can see her bones. It's not a good image. I'm quite big, and sometimes I worry about it because quite a lot of my friends are thin. But I would not want to be influenced. I prefer models like Nicky Taylor who look the right weight for their height. People tell me I'm a slightly smaller version of Dawn French. She's my role model."

Holly Dawson, 16:

"To tell you the truth, I'm very thin myself. I've got a 22-inch waist, that's an inch smaller than Kate Moss, and although I don't think there's anything good about it, I can't criticise. I eat like a pig, and I think it's your metabolism. Maybe these models are just naturally like that. If supermodels want to look like that it's up to them. Although I don't think it should be projected as an ideal, it's not their fault if it is."

Leanne Cowling, 22:

"It's horrible. They're supposed to be the elite of the elite, and although I think it's awful, they do influence me. If I see a picture of a model and I like what she's wearing, I feel I have to be that thin to wear it. I stopped eating a couple of years ago, because I was trying to compete. You start to lose weight to keep up. I'm always worried that what I'm wearing makes me look fat. Sometimes I won't go out because of it. I'll get a video and a box of chocolates instead. It's a never-ending story."