DOWNTOWN — A former plus-sized model who is raising money to make a documentary about the dangers of high-fashion modeling norms has taken her campaign to Michigan Avenue.
After losing weight to become a personal trainer four years ago, Nikki Muffoletto was too thin to continue plus-sized modeling, but, at 160 pounds, she still was considered too large to be a standard–sized fashion model.
So, despite being within ideal weight guidelines for her height, Muffoletto has decided to film her attempt to shed 40 pounds so she can meet the norms for a model. The project is intended to be a commentary on how unrealistic modeling standards can be for women.
She’s trying to raise $25,000 to shoot the documentary — Model DIEt — by Oct. 13. She had raised slightly more than $2,000 as of Sunday night.
Earlier Friday, Muffoletto, a Pilsen resident, stood at Michigan Avenue and Washington Street holding a large sign that read, “Do I really need to lose 40 pounds?” At her side was a enlarged photo of her head superimposed over a skinny runway model’s body.
Men and women alike stopped to talk, and many told her she didn’t need to lose the weight. One man even stopped and handed her a bag of M&Ms, saying she needed to eat more.
“That’s insane. She looks great,” said Marcy Kapshandy, a retired Chicagoan. “There’s just no room in our society for normal anymore.”
The image of her with the smaller body “is terrible,” said Margarite Junker, a 72-year-old from Switzerland. “It’s nice like she is now.”
Muffoletto will be at the corner from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday to continue fundraising for the documentary. The model said she’s confident she’ll reach her goal.
“You’ve seen the reactions. People feel really strong about it, so if they’re willing to help, I can get this thing going,” she said.