Hello, curious people.
As a model, I have some understanding of the industry, and it is not as glamorous as you might think. As much as I've always wanted to do what I am doing, I've felt very conflicted about it. There are advantages and disadvantages attached to every path you might take in life and being a model is no exception.
Models are exposed to real dangers to their health and wellbeing in the industry.
As you may know, the Industry has been cracking down on agencies that mistreat their models and making some effort to challenge unhealthy stereotypes of feminine beauty. Lately, we've been seeing more shape to models and plus size modelling has been more of a success around the world than predicted. It has become fashionable to be comfortable in your own skin, to an extent…
Still, 64.1% of Models have been asked to lose weight by an agency and 68.3% have anxiety and/or depression. Keeping in mind, a lot of these girls are really young when they start and are exposed to these attitudes; I started when I was only nine. This can put a lot of pressure on the girls at the agencies. 48.7% of models fast or do cleanses, over short periods of time, to prevent weight gain. This is how women get sick, fasting does have benefits, if it is performed correctly but it can also lead to eating disorders and 31.2% of models have eating disorders.
Models are also often exposed to drugs! 76.5% of models are exposed to drugs and alcohol on the job! 50.6% have been exposed to cocaine. This also has an impact on eating disorders and can make it harder for models to regain their normal weight and metabolism speed.
This next issue makes me the angriest, sexual exploitation.
86.8% of models are asked to pose nude for a job or casting without advance notice. THIS IS DISTURBINGLY UNPROFESSIONAL! Even if you are comfortable with nude shoots, people are taken advantage of all of the time and it isn’t hard for them to assure you by paying you the respect of giving you some notice. Putting someone on the spot can be a way to pressure someone into doing something they may not usually and if they are willing to pressure you, then they'll be willing to use your photos however they please, with or without your consent.
60.5% of Models are concerned with the lack of privacy while changing.
29.7% have been touched inappropriately on the job.
28% have been pressured into having sex with someone at work. And of the 29.1% of models that have let the agency know, 2/3 said their agencies didn’t see the problem! I shouldn’t need to explain this but if somebody is pressuring someone else into sex, making them feel they have no choice, there is no ‘real’ consent; and this amounts to rape. This is a real problem and it cannot continue to be swept under a rug or made out to be the survivor (victim)’s problem, alone. When somebody is in a position of power (like being a boss), they need to be extra careful not to behave inappropriately because it is easy for someone with less power (like workers, who are relying on their boss to put food on their table), to be scared into thinking they must do as the person in power says to remain in their good graces. A boss who takes advantage of their workers’ fears that they’ll lose their job if they don’t sleep with their boss is not professional, such a person is selfish and a sexual predator.
The above statistics are even scarier because only 9.3% of parents come to all of their kids’ jobs before their kids are 18. ATTENTION PARENTS OF MODELS! YOU MUST ALWAYS HAVE YOUR KID ACCOMPANIED BY YOU OR SOMEONE TRUSTED AT A JOB UNTIL THEY ARE, LIKE, 25! Even adults should always have a buddy with them to ‘carry their things’ or for some other excuse, because we’re safer in numbers. Predators are opportunists, if we’re not alone, we’re just that little bit safer. Again, it shouldn’t be up to models to protect themselves and prevent violence but, sadly, until things start to improve, this is the world we’re living in. A family member always comes with me to my jobs; and two come if it’s to a particularly isolated or unusual area.
All of these statistics are disturbing; no wonder so many models are committing suicide. The good news is that there are some agencies that treat their models well. To ensure you’re working with real professionals, just make sure of these few things before your jobs:
1.You’re working with an actual agency or reputable professional. A lot of people give girls random addresses and say that they'll turn them into a star, as a trick to get them alone and abuse them. A quick google search can give you a hint at whether an agency is legit. Be thorough, though.
2.You haven’t been required to do anything unreasonable to prepare for a job. Eg. Lose more weight than is healthy, too fast, to only eat or to not ever eat something required in your diet.
3.You know and consent to how the photos (nude or otherwise) are to be used. They must inform you of everything before you’re able to consent because consent is only real when it is informed. Make sure you’re informed before you’re expected to do anything and only consent to what you’re comfortable with.
4.If applicable, they asked your consent for any revealing or nude photos in advance. If not, and you’re surprized with a nude shoot on the day, tell them you’re uncomfortable and find it inappropriate that you weren’t given notice. Don’t be pressured. If you don’t get to do the job in the end, that’s okay. Sticking to your boundaries is essential to staying safe and that’s more important than one modelling job.
5. Finally, when it is time to go to your job, DO NOT GO ALONE! Bring your parents, a friend, your boyfriend/girlfriend, anyone you trust.
No one should be exposed to this darker side of a fun and glamorous industry; we should all be taken seriously and respected; but sadly, this is what we have to watch out for. The scarier work that is put into modelling always goes unrecognized and the models don't get that sense of achievement that they deserve! I won't take any jobs thet are dodgy and if anyone on a set (or anywhere else) disrespects me... well... that won't end well for them… Besides, my sister is half-way through her law degree!
Stay safe no matter what you do because there are risks to everything but that shouldn't prevent you from what you love to do.