Reinforcing the adage to never ask a lady her age, a model has filed suit against Estee Lauder over the company’s use of her images in store, online and promotional ads for an “anti-aging skin care product.”
Caroline Louise Forsling – who has appeared in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and walked the runway for designers like Chanel, Gucci, and Valentino – alleged the company used a test shot from a photo shoot she did for a hair care company owned by Estee Lauder. The test shot shows Forsling with “little or no makeup” and her hair pulled back. The images purport to be the “before” and “after” pictures from a “dramatization” of a clinical study for Estee Lauder’s Origins Plantscription anti-aging serum and were used even after she demanded that the company cease and desist.
According to the complaint, Forsling’s face appears dark in a picture labeled “before,” with visible wrinkles on the forehead and near her eyes and lips, while the “after” image shows her with “light, smoother, younger-looking skin.”
The test subjects of the study ranged in age from 45 to 60, and Forsling contends that she did not participate in the study. “Indeed, she would not have been eligible to participate because she is significantly younger than 45,” according to the complaint. (The New York Daily News reported that according to public records, Forsling is 35.)
Seeking “no less than $2 million,” Forsling alleged that Estee Lauder engaged in deceptive and false advertising and violated her right to privacy and publicity under New York law. She also seeks injunctive relief.
To read the complaint in Forsling v. Estee Lauder, click here.
Why it matters: Forsling alleges that Estee Lauder used the picture again after she demanded that the company stop using it. According to the complaint, the company issued a casting call in April to modeling agencies, seeking models with “fine wrinkles on their faces,” and included the image of Forsling as a “reference.” For a model whose livelihood depends upon her appearance, Forsling argues that the image has cost her work.