23 Oct 2012

The Model Prey

Picture me ( A models diary) created a storm as it exposed the ugly side to a seemingly glamourous profession.

During our long break this year I became exhausted with some cinematic commercial material and decided to switch to documentaries that have a long reputation here of being boring and time wasting, blame it on slacking/un-engaging journalism in Kenyan media, whatever you fancy. Of course, the first thing i thought of watching was a fashion documentary in an attempt to learn more of the world that i was blogging about and I stumbled upon material that specifically talked about the modelling world, long story short it was not that pretty.

AvalonDK08 Lily & Lilac Lens Gothic Ensembles for Dress to Kill Fall 2012
Fashion Gone Rouge

This was basically the storyline of every documentary -  "Great" Models are in actuality 13 years old, from a poor country without enough know how on their rights in an uncertain world. Words like Heroin Chic are acceptable because its an image models should live up to. Photographers are not universally gentlemen despite your age. No one cares about you. You owe "Agencies" a ton of debt for work you have never been paid for. Not a lot of people like to acknowledge that your problems exist or that your human. Your work will be taken from you by a girl who has not seen the doors of a high school.

It is a poignant tale heard over and over again is the point i'm getting at and very few people actually talk about it or want to hear about it and to paraphrase what one girl in one of the documentaries said, you don't have the right or ability to complain because there are millions and millions of people who are going to take your place so every one just bears it. 
It irks me that people think that these girls/boys are stupid and that when they complain they are basically complaining about wearing brand names too much, no one thinks of the physical scrutiny they endure day to day (in Girl Model, the girls reveal that their contract will be terminated if they gain around 2 inches on their waists), the debts they rack up, the feeling of confusion, the uncertainty. I could go on and on but i suggest on just settling on watching the movies, they give a deeper, intimate insight. I guess a natural question is why join this industry in the first place right? I would be the first to say its exciting; a lot would say its fun and there is money in it, sounds like the perfect job, true, especially to an impressionable young individuals. In a world that sells perfection and fantasy, to be invited into it one must feel elated, it does not happen to everyone. Its alluring. This is not to say that the whole industry is a pit of filth but, it is hard to find a reputable firm willing to work with you and not just make money of you.

I look to this as a sort of cautionary tale to a country especially like ours that is beginning to create an fashion industry for itself and the millions of men and women who are willing to be a part of it through modelling, I can only say this, look out for your self and do not be taken advantage of. A lot of the glamour lives in the pages alone as models may remain the most unrepresented group out of the working class without a guild or union to protect them therefore, if you are interested in modelling or know someone who is tell them to be keep an ever vigilant eye.

1. Read and Reread your contract terms with a legal adviser or an adult present

2. Do research on modelling agencies before you join them to avoid doing work you will never be paid for.

3. If you are a minor have an guardian/parent with you at the shoots and at meetings, however keep in mind that a lot of fashion conscious countries are beginning to ban models who are 15 and below.

4. To be honest model houses are not like America's top Model, they are usually small, tiny spaces.

5. A paycheque varies you will not earn the same as a supermodel and it is never constant.

6. If you feel that the photographers direction and intentions are suggestive VOICE IT! or SAY NO!

7. Know who you are shooting for and what's going on, some agencies use your confusion to avoid paying you or sell your pictures to questionable businesses and internet sites.

8. Eat right and exercise in order to stay in shape, do not ever feel that you have to got to extreme lengths to stay thin. Anorexia can and will kill you.

9 You are NEVER required to pay for a photo shoot you have been asked to do.


Girl Model 2010 Trailer

Be safe.

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