I don’t want to diss the Model Alliance, because I do think modelling is a tough job. A career often starts in the teens, and the job is based 99% on your looks, which no doubt causes self-image issues for a lot of the girls. The Model Alliance recently released a survey (who only had 85 respondents) that resulted a few interesting (and sad) findings. But hey, how many legal jobs can you earn $10,000 a day a the age of 18? Not many. Here’s some of the findings, and my comments.
1. Models need to learn that their job is to be clothes horses, and that means their body is used to hang clothes. That also means that while they are changing clothes, people might see the body underneath. “60.5% of models say their lack of privacy while changing clothes at work is a concern.” Well, I am sorry, but if you are a model, you’ve got to be prepared to walk around in nothing but a skimpy thong and be ok with that. It is part of the job. Get over it.
2. The fashion industry is not known for its clean living mantra, and models need to understand that. “50.6% of models have been exposed to cocaine.” I’d like to know the percentages of cocaine exposure for fashion designers and journalists, not to mention everyone else involved in the industry. Sadly, there are a lot of fashion people who use drugs and yeah, it sucks being a 13 year old and being exposed to cocaine, but unfortunately, it is part of the industry. If you don’t like it, get a paper route.
3. The pressure to be thin is not exclusive to models. “48.7% fast, do ‘cleanses,’ or otherwise restrict their food intake over short periods to lose weight.” I’d be interested to know how many NORMAL women to the above. I am guessing it is WAY more than 48.7%. Yes, there is a pressure to be thin as a model. But that’s the job description. Sorry, deal with it.
4. It is not the industry’s job to make sure the models are properly chaperoned. “28% of under 18 models never have parents or guardians go with them to castings and jobs.” Given that a lot of them travel far from their hometown, this statistic is not surprising. Personally, if I had a 15 year old daughter who stood a chance at making it as a model, I would accompany her to everything. EVERYTHING. But some parents can’t do that. The industry isn’t to blame, and to be honest, neither are the agencies. If you let your young daughter fly off to a big city and start a model career, you had better make sure she is taken care of, and if not, you had better hope to hell she has a good head on her shoulders.
5. Anxiety and depression are suffered by young women universally. Or a least, in the Western world. “68.3% of models suffer from anxiety and/or depression.” I am pretty sure this statistic matches what most 13-25 year old women feel, and so this shouldn’t come as a surprise. In fact, I am pretty sure that most of the world suffers from anxiety occasionally. This is not a feeling exclusive to models, it is the way most of us feel, some of the time.
While I think that someone needs to advocate for the rights of these girls, I also think they need to look at the big picture. Modelling is tough, but if you are successful, you can make money. A LOT of money. And in a very short time. Like most high earning jobs, the working conditions aren’t exactly ideal, but you get compensated. That might mean seeing people do cocaine in the bathrooms, feeling anxiety before a big catwalk show, having to diet, and having to change in front of a bunch of people, but these are known to be part of the modelling world. If you don’t like it, then don’t model.