Everyone knows the dark side of the modeling world in America. Hold on, maybe everyone but the moms on Toddlers & Tiaras who hope their girls get into modeling. Producing a documentary on the evils of modeling would be walking on a worn path. "Girl Model" is a short documentary that was the brainchild of the female recruiter for the agency and the producers. It has the fish out of water element with the focus being on a 13 year old Siberian blondie being sent to Tokyo. It is an interesting and sad, but will hold you for all 77 minutes. I recommend it.
The real star is the female recruiter, Ashley Arbaugh. She is whacked out, and is a former model who had modeled in Japan (where the Russian gets sent to). There is self recorded footage of her in the late '90s being whacked out, and then there is current footage of her acting like an X-files antagonist. The NY Times review frames the doc weirdly by not stressing how much this woman is a crazy bitch and also a lying, manipulative hunter for the exploitative agency. Hmmm, I wonder why the Times has to minimize the woman's role in the evil scheme of underage model exploitation? A product of this underage modeling world turned into an exploiter herself. Ashley reveals creepy bits like buying naked baby dolls when she bought her home, but how she has one less because she dissected one of them. She leaves them out on display. Ashley's rationalizations for the slide into prostitution some girls ride is an awkward 45 seconds of film. She keeps cysts they remove + shares photos of them. She has photos of the models that she takes when they don't look that she keeps in a box. She has poor interpersonal skills, but she can speak to parents, potential models and the press with a good pitch about the agency. She is quite the actress.
The Times review misses her evil, and it is a deep evil. In some male-female serial killer pairs, the woman acts as the helpful guide to seduce the targets. They may or may not have been assaulted or raped by the male partner, but they gladly do his bidding. In some instances, they are the true leader who inflicts the majority of pain on the target (usually a younger female), and in others, they are an active participant, enjoying the sadism. There is a special evil to that compared to a solitary female murderer. Ashley Arbaugh may hate the modeling world, but she loves the home it buys her. She may know it tears girls up, but she keeps lying to get them greased down the chute. She has a choice with what she does, similar to the girls wanting to model, but her choice is made with full knowledge. She knows, yet she continues to walk the dark path.