THEmainsheet saturday SEPTEMBER 26, 2020
Chadwick School - 26800 S Academy Drive, Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA - (310) 377-1543


Volume 65 Number 3

What it takes to make it in the modeling world

by Kylie Bronchick - 2014-12-18


Image 1 of 2


When most people hear the words “modeling industry,” images of exclusive parties and free clothes come immediately to mind. Yet the chances of reaching supermodel status are incredibly low.

Even if you’re born with the signature lean body shape and unique facial features many high-fashion models are known for, in order to be signed to a modeling agency, one must go through a rigorous selection process that rejects 98% of applicants. And only 1% of that 2% who are selected will become well-known.

The journey to stardom in the modeling industry is stigmatized with pressure to maintain a very low body weight, as well as sacrifice a decent paycheck.

In 2011, three girls--Malia Greiner (15), Gwen Carrier (18), Hayley Wheeler (16) and Ehren Dorsey (19) were overjoyed to have been selected by Mother Models Management, the agency that discovered Ashton Kutcher in 1997. Their journeys were documented in ABC’s A Model Life. After being selected, the four girls were promptly put on a diet consisting only of broccoli, egg whites and celery, complemented by a rigorous exercise regimen.

These girls are few of many who, in part, sacrifice their health in order to achieve their dreams. Pressure to maintain an unhealthy, low body weight is common, as agencies ask their already slim models to lose weight. Of the four girls, two were sent home, and the other two were able to remain in New York City to continue pursuing their careers.

The living conditions for the models are far less than ideal. Due to financial strains, many models room together in tiny apartments provided by their agencies. Often they must share twin beds. Most of whatever money they earn goes toward paying off loans and interest accrued to their agencies.

In many cases, models are forced to choose between doing editorials for free in return for publicity or taking paid jobs that allow them to earn enough money to sustain a normal lifestyle.

Many of these paid jobs, however, take away credibility from these models, so many models are reluctant to take them if they want hope of reaching supermodel status.

Even when models are paid, it’s sometimes in trade, rather than cash, which can either mean they’re able to pick clothes out of one large pile or they’re given a gift card to the brand, limited to past seasons most of the time.

Not only are models exploited economically, but physically as well. Girls as young as 14 or 15 pose topless because they believe that if they don’t, they won’t be hired for future editorials and jobs.

In order to earn money outside of modeling, some models are paid by nightclubs in order for the clubs to gain notoriety, especially when some clients are dropping up to $250,000 per night, which points to a larger issue where models are largely treated as objects rather than human beings.

A large factor contributing to the abuse is lack of regulation in the industry. Often times a model will return to a city years after she did a photoshoot there, and she’ll see a billboard with her own face on it...yet never receive a single check. The lack of regulation allows designers and agencies to take money from the models and put it in their own pockets in order to make the largest profit.

Should the government increase regulation and assure that models are being properly paid by their agencies and their employers, it may be possible for many models to achieve their dreams.

As for issues pertaining to body image, the world is becoming increasingly accepting of women in all shapes and sizes. Plus-size models are gaining notoriety, making the industry more and more open to all kinds of people.



View Original Page as PDF

Article Keywords:

industry, body, order, modeling, model, girls, agencies, money, paid

Related Articles:

2014-11-20 - by Madeline Bogert and Jake Goldstein - in Opinions - Vol 65 Num 2

2014-12-18 - by Meg Knox - in Opinions - Vol 65 Num 3

2015-03-19 - by Lindsey Waller - in Opinions - Vol 65 Num 5

2014-12-18 - by Robert Mack - in Sports - Vol 65 Num 3

2014-11-20 - by Marie Bucklin - in News - Vol 65 Num 2

2015-03-19 - by Anthony Kim - in News - Vol 65 Num 5

2016-04-27 - by Amy Zhou - in Features - Vol 66 Num 6

2015-02-19 - by Lindsey Waller - in News - Vol 65 Num 4

2014-11-20 - by Kate McEvilly - in Opinions - Vol 65 Num 2

2014-10-09 - by Kylie Bronchick - in Opinions - Vol 65 Num 1