The global fashion magazine May 21, 2024 
Out now: Lucire issue 48, with free shipping for UK and US


‘Why?’ may be a futile question in Ruslana Korshunova suicide


July 1, 2008/4.56

As some of you may have expected, the media are analysing why Kazakh model Ruslana Korshunova committed suicide. Part of it is because the analysis keeps the story alive. Another part is because people are fascinated by this fashion world, and why shouldn’t a newspaper, normally covering dull stories, have an excuse to put the late Miss Korshunova’s face in its pages? (New York even thinks New York might have killed her. Other media are, as I predicted, attempting exposés on the cruelty of the modelling world, such as The Scotsman.)
   I suppose I am doing the same thing, by critiquing the fourth estate and having an excuse to publish her name again. But perhaps we will refrain from posting an image of her in this post: this little opinion is not about beautifying a page to get some extra eyeballs.
   I don’t know anyone who had unsuccessfully attempted suicide well. I met one woman who had survived slitting her wrists, but it was a verboten topic so I never raised it. I do know a friend who succeeded in his attempt in my university days.
   No one, not even his closest friend, David, knew that Andrew was depressed or confused before he took his life with a shotgun in the early 1990s.
   It unleashed a whole bunch of emotions with us, his friends, from sadness to downright anger. And knowing Andrew, the ever-alert cynic that he was, he might have had a chuckle at us, if there is an afterlife. (Then again, he didn’t think there was.)
   But his decision remains a mystery after nearly 17 years.
   And that is probably the folly of trying to rationalize why Ruslana Korshunova leapt to her death out of a ninth-storey window in New York’s Financial District last Saturday.
   Anyone who rationalizes the action of suicide probably wouldn’t be committing suicide—because rationality says there are ways out, there are family members left behind who are hurting, and that there is always some hope. There are exceptions: it is possible that a very rational person sees no exit to their situation.
   Suicide is, from my layman’s point-of-view (one which I am prepared to be corrected on), something usually irrational, and trying to judge Miss Korshunova’s last few months on earth through her blog postings won’t tell us too much.
   The Daily Mail tabloid in the UK speculates that there were relationship woes for her, while friends report that they saw nothing that would cause her to take her own life.
   Yet the rational part of me tells me that even at age 20, no relationship wound is deep enough for suicide. Heartache, yes. Even emotional turmoil for a period.
   Why Ruslana Korshunova leapt out of her window on Saturday will probably be a mystery to all of us, not least her family who had to identify her body this week.
   Perhaps we should stop speculating. ‘Why?’ is a very powerful question in newsmedia and we are always desperate for answers, but in some cases, such as suicide, it may be futile to seek them out. We should let the Korshunova family grieve privately.

You may also like
culture / journalism / Lucire / media / modelling / New York
Filed by Jack Yan

2 thoughts on ‘‘Why?’ may be a futile question in Ruslana Korshunova suicide

  1. Having attempted suicide when I was 19, after failing my interview at Oxford University, perhaps I can shed light as to why someone that age might do such a thing. I felt like a failure, like I had let everyone else down and had no future. My disappointment took 8 hours to develop into thoughts of ending it all. I didn’t tell anyone what I was feeling and didn’t show it. I went to college as usual and went to the pub with friends. I even ate dinner with my landlady & her family. Then I went to my room, took a bottle of paracetamol and slit my wrists, got into bed and cried myself to sleep. I left my bedside light on by mistake and my landlady came in on her way to bed to turn it off and found me. She called her GP who came immediately. They tried to wake me, bandaged my arms & pumped my stomach. She didn’t take me to hospital as she said she didn’t want my mother to find out what I had done. I don’t know if the GP reported it, it was the 80s and things were different. The next morning she came into my room and told me that there was never to be a repeat of that situation.
    I didn’t really ever think of the consequences, just that I had lost the will to keep going. I would never have thrown myself off a building. I don’t like physical pain and couldn’t have done something like that. I had enough mental hurt and I wanted to stop the pain, not feel more of it. I did write my mother a note. My landlady destroyed it, along with removing my razors. She asked me to leave at the end of the month, which I did. I went into a shared house and things improved.
    The pressure of expectation can be huge. Not living up to your own expectations can be devastating. If this young girl really did kill herself, then it was probably a momentary lapse into total despair. Had she survived, she might have gone on to try again or completely snap out of it, as I was fortunate enough to be allowed to do. Saying that people should talk about things doesn’t really help. What helps is if you are not made to feel that the world begins or ends with your personal achievements or lack of, especially at the age when most teenagers are having the transition into adulthood, which is confusing enough. You suddenly see beyond your immediate surroundings and that can terrify you.

  2. Anon, thank you for providing the context and personal view that I could not: I really appreciate it. I think it’s helpful for our readers, too.
       My guess was that when the decision is made, it isn’t founded on rationality. I see from your experience that it was sudden—eight hours is indeed a short time—but that it can be overwhelming.
       For what it’s worth, I am glad you had the chance to put things right in your life and that you could share your experience with us. You were obviously meant to continue with your life, if one believes in fate, and that the landlady was there at the right place at the right time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *