To the outside world, few careers are as glamorous as modeling. Access to the hottest trends, an endless stream of perks and benefits, and the chance to hang out with A-list celebrities (perhaps even becoming a celebrity in your own right), is what the aspiring fashionista dreams of.
But, behind this shiny exterior, lies a darker side of the industry, which includes abuse, exploitation, and physical and mental trauma. The industry’s narrow beauty standards, lack of diversity, and obsession with thinness are nothing new, but the model’s poor behavior has once again taken center stage, with runway veteran Kate Moss sharing her own painful feelings with the world. Shared experiences.
a rare one. In Interview With Lauren LaVernay on BBC Radio Four’s Desert Island Disc, the 48-year-old shared several stories of abuse from the start of her career. She recalled a short getaway at the age of 15, where a male photographer pressured her to go topless. Taking place in 1988, the shooting was one of Moss’s first modeling jobs.
“I had a terrible experience with bra catalogs,” she said. “I was only 15 and he said, ‘Take off your top’ and I was really shy and I thought something was wrong and ran away with my stuff.”
Although he credited the shoot with “shaping his instincts”, it was not the only traumatic event in his career. Moss was shot at the age of 16 face Magazine cover that would make her a star. Despite being a friend of photographer Corinne Day, Moss was once again asked to pose topless, this time in tears.
He remembered: “[Corinne] Will say, ‘If you don’t take off your top, I’m not going to book you for Elle.’ And I would cry. it’s painful.”
Shot at Camber Sands Beach in Sussex, UK, Moss told LaVerne that she was too nervous to revisit the location. Sadly, the industry hasn’t changed much in the two decades since Moss became a household name, with many models sharing their horror stories on TikTok.
“I Was On A Drip And My Doctor Told Me I Could Die In A Heatwave After Being Forced To Shoot”
Riley Rasmussen, 23, was discovered at the age of 17 in a Victoria’s Secret store, and is now a full-time model. She said her worst experience was shooting for a major Latin American company in Panama, where she became seriously ill and ended up in hospital.
At first, there was no indication that the client was anything less than professional. She was picked up from the airport and taken to her hotel in Panama City, which she describes as “very nice and super safe.” But when the shooting started the next day, things started deteriorating fast. Despite the 10-hour limit written in their contracts, Riley and other models spent 15 hours in 90-degree heat. The second day was even worse.
He said newsweek: “The [second] The day was perfectly spot on. I had to wear a T-shirt with long pants and a jacket over. By this point all models were starting to sound awful, and the customer was extremely limited by the water.
“By afternoon, I started feeling lethargic and nauseous. When I went to put on my jeans, I noticed they couldn’t get over my feet. My whole body was swollen. That’s where my memory fades.”
On the bus to the next location, Rasmussen started vomiting. Despite being “in no shape to shoot”, she was forced to participate before she was allowed to receive medical help. It was eight o’clock in the night for her to reach the hospital.
Doctors placed her on a fluid drip for three hours as her electrolytes were “extremely low”, which diagnosed her with heatstroke. She was also warned not to work the next day, or she could “potentially die.”
The next morning, the client attempts to force Rasmussen to return to shooting, sending a man to his door.
Unsurprisingly, Rasmussen still has both physical and mental trauma from the experience.
“I’m always worried about the heat, I swell easily, and have to be extremely careful,” she said.
“I was under 18, shooting alone with two men, and they manipulated me into undressing”
Lily Soleil Correa Levites is a 22-year-old model and photographer from San Diego. She began modeling at the age of 16, after founding her photography-focused creative collective Picture Party.
He said newsweek: “It was people who were just starting out [in their careers], playing around and having fun, which turned into theme and event. The photographers I was attending started hiring me, and then when I was in college I’d put myself on casting calls.”
Like Rasmussen, Correa Levitz took over TIC Toc To share her experiences, especially her disturbing encounters with male photographers as a minor. From going out on a shoot to finding herself in uncomfortable or dangerous situations, Correa Levits wants to warn other young models of the dangers.
She describes a frightening situation at the age of 17. With two male photographers alone, Lily felt pressure to undress for the shoot, despite it not being a compromise.
“It wasn’t full nudity or anything like that, but for someone who wasn’t even 18 yet, I realized how [dangerous it was] And how much they molested me,” she said.
“I think I wore it like a sheer top, like some kind of jacket. But basically, you could see my chest depending on the pose.
“They just said ‘That’s what a bunch of models do. They’ll take off their whole top like they trust us.’ They never sent me all the pictures. I’m sure they exist somewhere.”
For a long time, for fear of being gaslit, Correa Levits was shy about talking about her experiences.
“I wasn’t sure what was happening to me was serious enough,” she said.
To stay safe as a model, before taking on any job, Correa Levites recommends checking a photographer’s page to make sure you’re comfortable with the content they produce, as well as other models. Talking about the experiences of shooting with him.
“Nine times out of 10, especially if they’re women, they’ll respond and give you their honest thoughts,” she said.
She also recommends letting someone know your location or getting a mentor. If they say you’re not bringing a friend, that’s a red flag.
“I wish it wasn’t like this,” she said. “It’s not your responsibility to manage the way other people treat you. But unfortunately, until things become more regulated, that’s what we have to do.” [to protect ourselves],
“I was harassed for hours by a stalker and my agent did nothing”
Lena Coco Hunter is a model, actor and modeling coach. From billboards to runways and magazine spreads, in her 14-year career, Hunter has modeled for some of the world’s most celebrated luxury brands.
Through his coaching company Modelesque, Hunter shares his knowledge with newcomers to the industry, including advice on how to protect yourself from photographers, scam artists, agencies, and even other models.
Unfortunately, Hunter has experienced the latter first hand. In 2017, while at a mall in Dallas for a runway gig, a male model repeatedly harassed her that other models came forward to defend her.
The gig featured Hunter’s body painted from head to toe. Instead of implementing the designs in a separate area, Hunter had to stand in a thong in the communal space shared with the other models.
“They left this male model hanging around me,” she told Greeley Tribune. “He wouldn’t stop staring at me so intensely that even makeup artists would become very uncomfortable.”
Hunter called his agent, who seemed sympathetic over the phone. After the show ended, he asked Hunter to get a job, promising to drop the male model from his books.
“There’s a real model market in Dallas. They could have changed that,” Hunter said. “But in that moment, I didn’t think logically to fight with my agent. I thought he was on my side.”
The backstage area was a former pizza restaurant that the customer rented for the day. There were toilets in the premises but no doors. When Hunter went to the bathroom, the male model followed him.
“The male model decides she wants to see a square inch of my labia that she hasn’t seen yet,” Hunter said. “Because he’s already seen me.”
There were two other female models in the bathroom at the time. When they refused to let him go to Hunter, he pushed them out of the way.
He said: “They both said to leave. They both said no. So he threw them away.”
Hunter thought the show was the end of her experience with the man, until her agency booked them together a week later for another job.
She said: “He was the first to get up on my face to make sure I knew he didn’t fall.
“Agency [had] literally [been] Was telling me on the phone that he was a ‘danger and hunter’. The whole thing was ****** a lie.”
As far as Hunter is aware, the male model is still in the works. After several traumatic experiences, he decided to make a transition to acting. Although she has managed to do it successfully, others are not so lucky. She describes her experience with her former agency as “grooming”, with models not ‘gaslighted’ to stand up for themselves.
She said: “I believe they see the model as a chess piece, and you have a shelf life.
“They’ll use you as much as they can until you become a problem or you start speaking up.”