The envy-worthy life of a model is what makes several men and women flock to major cities around the globe in hopes of being the next big thing in the fashion world. We’re bombarded with perfectly symmetrical faces every other page in our favorite magazine trying to sell us clothes, beauty products, or luxury items that we can’t afford. Some of us just pass by those ads, but others stare at them hoping that their face will be featured in a publication for the world to see.
Chasing these Hollywood-type dreams takes patience, hard work, tenacity, and thick skin. And as difficult as it is to climb to the top of the industry’s social ladder, the fall down the mountain can be swift and quick. Often, models who make the big time and rub elbows with or date celebrities think they can stay relevant forever. When they find out this isn’t the case, several of them turn to drugs or prostitution. Models who had stars in their eyes and tried to make it big oftentimes took any job they could, not knowing who was on the other side of the camera. And in the worst cases, their bodies, which other women would have begged for, were found beaten and abandoned. Jealous boyfriends, sex offenders posing as photographers, and covetous sisters who can’t stand their pretty siblings are just a few of the culprits responsible for why these models’ lives met their catastrophic ends.
15. Stefania Dubrovina — Jealous Older Sibling Slashes Younger Model Sister To Death
At only 17-years-old, Stefania Dubrovina developed a well-known reputation in her hometown of St. Petersburg, Russia as a model. She and her 19-year-old sister, Elizaveta, had a love-hate relationship as the older sibling was jealous of all of the attention her younger sister received. Elizaveta often helped her sister on photo shoots by acting as her stylist and makeup artist.
While hanging out together at a friend’s house getting high on drugs, Elizaveta let her delusions get the best of her. The older man they were with had left the apartment to buy more alcohol when the unthinkable happened: Elizaveta stabbed her sister more than 140 times. She gouged out Stefania’s eyes and cut off her ears. Police said her body was barely recognizable.
14. Reeva Rebecca Steenkamp — Shot And Killed By Her Olympian Boyfriend
This is a case that many of you have heard about time and time again. It involves Reeva Steenkamp, who, on Valentine’s Day of 2013, was shot and killed by her Olympic and Paralympic runner boyfriend, Oscar Pistorius.
Reeva was staying at Oscar’s home on the day of love when, in the middle of the night, she went to the bathroom. While inside, Oscar shot through the door four times, killing her. Oscar claimed that if he knew it was Reeva on the other side of the door, he would have never fired the fatal shots. He said he believed that there was an intruder in his home and that he was in danger. Oscar was tried, convicted, and sentenced to five years but only served out 10 months. At first, he wasn’t found guilty of murder but of culpable homicide. A year later, however, the Supreme Court of Appeals overturned the previous verdict and found him guilty of murder. He was then sentenced to six years in prison.
13. Linda Sobek — Raiders Cheerleader Who Was Buried In The Forest
Former Los Angeles Raiders cheerleader, 27-year-old Linda Sobek, went from a career on the football field sidelines to modeling in front of the camera. Photographer Charles Rathburn was on assignment for a magazine called Autoweek, and he asked Linda if she wanted to be featured in the upcoming issue. The two met a month prior at an auto show in Las Vegas.
The pair worked together for the next month or so, but one day, Linda left for a photo shoot in the Los Angeles mountains, never to return. Her family and friends became worried and called local authorities to report her missing. In November 1996, Rathburn turned himself in to police and told them that he was responsible for Linda’s death. He claimed he had accidentally run her over with a truck while trying to teach her how to drive, then panicked and buried her body.
12. Jasmine Fiore — Strangled, Mutilated, And Stuffed In A Suitcase By Her Boyfriend
Ryan Jenkins was preparing for his feature on the reality show “Megan Wants a Millionaire” to air on VH1 when he met model Jasmine Fiore in Las Vegas. Two days later, the couple married, but just months later, in July 2009, they had a run-in with the law over a domestic-violence incident where Jenkins hurt Jasmine’s arm. He was awaiting trial over the altercation.
By August 2009, the couple were back together and visiting San Diego for a poker tournament. They hit up a nightclub downtown, but only Jenkins returned to the hotel. The next day, Jasmine’s body — naked, beaten, crushed, and missing fingers and teeth — was found inside a suitcase in an alley in Buena Park, California. She was identified by the serial numbers on her breast implants. Jenkins lied about seeing his wife, and weeks later in a motel in Canada, Jenkins committed suicide by hanging himself from a clothes rack.
11. Star Stowe — The Playboy Model Whose Rise To Fame Was As Fast As Her Fall
She was the February 1977 Playboy centerfold model who met with a tragic end. Ellen Louise “Star” Stowe lived up to her stage name by partying with celebrities and dating rock stars, including KISS bassist Gene Simmons. Her career was intense but short-lived, and soon, the glitz and glamour of Hollywood became too much for her.
Turning to prostitution to make ends meet, Star became entangled in drugs and alcohol. She moved to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to work as an exotic dancer, but she couldn’t shake her old vices.
Her body was found behind a store. Like other prostitutes in the area, Star was strangled and dumped. Police believe that she was the victim of a serial killer, but no one knows who took the 40-year-old’s life.
10. Karla Karina Garza Garcia — A Possible Victim Of Mexican Drug Cartels
The Diamond Girls agency represented a number of models. They sent girls out for gigs for TV shows, social events, and parties. Karla Karina Garza Garcia, a 23-year-old mother of two, was a model for the agency who may have been mixed up in some nefarious dealings. She was at home with her family when a group of gunmen burst inside. They held her relatives hostage as they yelled, “Who is Karina?” When identified, they shot the young woman in the head, execution style. Because Karina had been targeted, police were led to believe her murder was part of an organized crime.
In a twist, Karina’s boyfriend and father of her two girls, Hilario Carvajal Lucas, was also previously attacked and killed. Investigators couldn’t help but think that they two murders were related, especially since the murders occurred in a Mexican city known for an exorbitant amount of violence between drug cartels.
9. Lana Clarkson — Shot In The Face By Phil Spector
The trial of famed record producer Phil Spector took the world by storm. In 2003, model Lana Clarkson met Spector while working at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. The two left the venue together, hopped into Spector’s limo, and made their way to his mansion. The pair had only been in the house for an hour when the limo driver, who was still sitting outside, heard a gunshot. He watched Spector exit the house holding a gun. In an incident Spector would later call an accident, Lana was shot in the face. At trial, experts claimed that the gun had been jammed in her mouth. A trial in 2007 ended in a mistrial, but in 2009, a jury found Spector guilty of second-degree murder. He’s serving 19 years to life.
8. Sally Anne Bowman — Brutally Stabbed To Death By A Stranger
In the Fall of 2005, Sally Bowman was hanging out at a bar with her sister and a group of friends until 1:00 a.m. She took a taxi to another friend’s house before she called her ex-boyfriend, Lewis Sproston, to ask him for a ride home. She told him that her sister had been arrested for fighting and that she was stranded. Sally then took another taxi back to the bar where Lewis picked her up, but on the way home, the two got into an argument. They were accusing one another of cheating during their relationship, and after the confrontation, Sally left the vehicle around 4:00 a.m. while Sproston went home.
Within minutes, Sally was attacked by a man named Mark Dixie, who had a long history of violence against women. Sally was raped, stabbed in the neck and stomach, and had bite marks all over her body. Dixie stole her purse, underwear, cell phone, and cardigan. The only reason police linked Dixie to the crime was because his DNA was in the registry after having been arrested for fighting two weeks prior. He won’t be considered for parole until the year 2040.
7. Paula Sladewski — Murdered And Thrown In A Dumpster
Kevin Klym and his 26-year-old former exotic dancer girlfriend, Paula Sladewski, were supposed to spend New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas. At the last minute, the couple changed their minds after finding a sweet deal on tickets to a Lady Gaga concert in Miami, so they spent a few days partying in South Beach.
Just a few days into the new year of 2010, Kevin and Paula were drunk as skunks when they got to Club Space at five o’clock in the morning. They were there for a few hours when Kevin got into an altercation and was kicked out of the club. He jumped into a cab and went back to the hotel to sleep off all the alcohol, but Paula stayed behind. She was out of control and visibly intoxicated, and it only took 30 minutes for her to be walked out of the venue as well. What happened after that remains a mystery.
6. Juliana Redding — Someone Beat Her To Death And Crushed The Bones In Her Neck
Tucson native Juliana Redding, like many other 21-year-old girls, wanted to make it big as an actress and model. She moved to Santa Monica, California and became a waitress as she auditioned around L.A.. However, Juliana’s dreams came to a crashing end in 2008 when her mother called Los Angeles police because she was unable to contact her daughter. During a welfare check, officers came across Juliana’s beaten dead body. It was later determined that the bones in her neck were crushed and that someone had left the gas stove on in hopes of blowing up the apartment.
An investigation revealed that Juliana had once dated a man named Dr. Munir Uwaydah. He was developing his own pain cream and was going to enter into business with Juliana’s father, that is, until dear ol’ dad learned that the doc was married. Detectives believed that Uwaydah had his “enforcer,” Kelly Soo Park, take care of Juliana, but a jury found her not guilty.
5. Amy Leigh Barnes — Murdered By Boyfriend She Met On Facebook
Every day, people find romance online, whether it’s on a dating or a social networking site. Amy Barnes met her football coach boyfriend, Ricardo Morrison, on Facebook, and the two ended up living together. However, what started out as romance turned to terror as the 19-year-old realized Ricardo wasn’t the Prince Charming she’d hoped for. For months, he physically and emotionally abused her, even threatening her at knifepoint.
Enough was enough for Amy, so she called her mother and begged for help, saying she wanted to go home. Amy’s mother sent her father to pick her up, but he was too late. By then, Ricardo had slashed Amy’s face, stabbed her in the chest and back 10 times, and fled the scene. Unbeknownst to anyone, Ricardo was arrested for punching five women in a nightclub.
4. Vicki Morgan — Drug-addicted Dominatrix Beaten To Death
As a teenager, Vicki Morgan began having an affair with 54-year-old Alfred S. Bloomingdale — yes, from the wealthy department store family. He had Vicki act as a dominatrix as he watched and even put her up in her own apartment. Bloomingdale’s wife learned of the affair and demanded he end things with Vicki, so he did. Vicki turned to drugs and prostitution after her socialite life vanished. She went to rehab, but by the time she got out, she was in dire financial straits. Vicki called up a friend from rehab, Marvin Pancoast, for help and the two moved in together. She continued working as a lady of the night to make money, which made Pancoast extremely jealous, even though he and Vicki were just friends.
Pancoast became addicted to cocaine once he was diagnosed with AIDS, and in 1983, he strolled into a police station and confessed to murdering Vicki. He had beaten her to death with a baseball bat in a drug-induced rage. He was sentenced to 26 years to life in prison but died in 1991.
3. Kimberly Pandelios — Human Skeletal Remains Found Next To A Set Of Handcuffs
Aspiring models often have to take less-than-glamorous jobs to step foot into the fashion industry, and such was the case for 20-year-old mother, Kimberly Pandelios. She was desperate for money, so she responded to an ad in a weekly paper placed by a photographer named Paul. Kimberly dropped her 13-month-old son off at the babysitter’s house and made her way to Sherman Oaks, California to meet this “Paul” character.
Kim’s husband, Petr, grew worried when she didn’t return that evening, and two days later, an off-duty police officer driving along the Angeles Forest Highway came across the model’s car, which was on fire. Almost a year later, two hikers came across human skeletal remains not far from where Kim’s car had been found. Handcuffs were also near the bones along with a black bra and panties that looked as if they were cut off from someone’s body.
2. Dorothy Stratten — The Playmate Who Married A Pimp
According to reports, Hugh Hefner wasn’t a big fan of Paul Snider. The latter was known as a promoter and pimp who liked beautiful women as much as he liked making money selling them for sex. In 1977, Snider met Dorothy Stratten at a Dairy Queen and had her model for nude photos that he sent to Playboy magazine. Dorothy soon became a centerfold. Two years later, Dorothy and Stratten married, and as her career blossomed, her relationship deteriorated. The couple separated, and Dorothy began seeing someone else. Meanwhile, Snider had a private investigator follow his estranged wife’s every move.
In the Fall of 1980, Dorothy met with Snider at his house, thinking that they were going to talk about their divorce. Later in the evening, the private investigator called up Snider’s friend and roommate saying he couldn’t reach his employer. The roommate broke down Snider’s door and discovered the naked and dead bodies of Dorothy and Snider. Investigators determined that Snider shot Dorothy with a shotgun, raped her, then shot himself.
1. Jokisha Brown — Murdered The Day Before Her Birthday
Just three months before her murder, Jokisha Brown awoke in the middle of the night to a horrific scene. Her 17-year-old son, Jack, opened his eyes to find an intruder with a gun standing over his bed. Nearby, in Jokisha’s room, another man frightened her as she awakened as well. In a call to 911, the teenager told the emergency operator that the men were looking for money that Jokisha’s ex-boyfriend, Alfredo Capote, said he gave her. They tied Jack to the bed and left the house with Jokisha, kidnapping her. They took her to Capote’s house, beat her up, and possibly would have killed her if she hadn’t escaped from a moving car. Jokisha told police the man who kidnapped her was Capote.
Then, just a day before her 36th birthday, Jokisha stopped by a salon to get her hair and makeup done. She was going to celebrate her big day with her friends and was sitting in her car behind the salon when someone walked up to the vehicle and opened fire. Surveillance footage showed a man lurking in the parking lot for hours before the shooting and then taking off immediately afterward. While police believe Capote is responsible, they don’t have enough evidence to tie him to the crime.