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Uploaded on Sep 25, 2011

In rural Siberia, Russian and American model scouts scour remote villages in search of teenage girls to satisfy the Japanese market's unquenchable thirst. For poor, pretty farm girls, the promise of work abroad signifies the rare chance for a new life. David Redmon and Ashley Sabin's provocative documentary explores this dark, seldom-seen segment of the modeling industry through two primary subjects.

Ashley used to be a model in the United States. Now she's a professional scout who is conflicted over the fact that her livelihood depends on recruiting the youngest girls possible based on promises that aren't always realized. Nadya is a 13-year-old country girl from Novosibirsk, Siberia, who embodies the particular kind of youthful innocence so highly sought-after in Japan. Hoping to help support her tight-knit family, she travels to Tokyo, but once there, she finds the frustrating reality of how jobs are booked is much different from what she expected.

Strikingly composed, Girl Model follows its subjects through a frustrating maze of casting sessions, clashes and contradictions. Redmon and Sabin juxtapose video diaries that Ashley recorded from her years as a model with her current life as a scout, revealing the precariousness and complexities of the business from both sides of the coin. As Nadya and the other young girls like her find themselves lost in a harrowing hall of mirrors, will they learn to navigate the modeling world, or wind up returning home in debt to their agencies?

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