Two patients who’ve lost 30% of their body weight. Both restrict food to the point of blacking out. Both are in imminent danger of pancreatic failure. But only one’s skinny, so only one gets real care.
A lifestyle-blogging couple builds a cult following with their website, Young House Love, and then struggles to walk away from internet fame.
Behind the scenes of a live mermaid show in Weeki Wachee Springs State Park in Orlando, Fla.:
“I sat down next to Crystal Videgar on a bench in front of a mirror that ran along one wall. She wore a black fishnet stocking pulled down over her face, which she used to create a scale pattern as she dabbed metallic green and purple eye shadow around her temples. The conversation had turned to whether everyone should meet up at Hooters or Applebee’s after work, but Videgar worked on her makeup with quiet focus. When she pulled off the stocking, I could see in between the fish scales that her skin was lightly freckled from life in the Florida sun. ‘We love that we get to dress up all day long,’ she said. ‘It’s like reliving your childhood.’
“Videgar and her co-workers earn $10 to $13 per hour. They punch timecards when they arrive at Weeki Wachee an hour before the first show and again when they leave after the last show of the day, usually by 5 p.m. In between performances, they train new recruits, scrub algae off the theater windows, do laundry and clean their locker room, bathroom and showers. They take breaks on a rooftop sun porch, where a surprising number of them smoke; their joke is that inhaling is good practice for holding your breath underwater.”