The life of the models is not as a glamorous as one would think. There are dark secrets of the modeling industry that they don’t want you to know. These dark secrets of the modeling industry are mostly told by the former model who fought against these injustices. So, have a look at these horrifying dark secrets of the modeling industry.
Read on to see what life is like for aspiring models. From pressures to pose nude to the corrupt fashion industry, this is the side of modeling that no one tells you about.
They Start As Young
The young age of models has long been a controversial topic. In some countries, there is no age limit, while some require girls to at least be 15 or 16. In America, a modeling agency isn’t allowed to recruit anyone under 16, but younger girls can still freelance. The Department of Labor didn’t even start protecting child models until 2013.
Even now, you can model at any age as long as you have a working permit and get a mandatory break every four hours.
Required Plastic Surgery Isn’t Uncommon
While plastic surgery is usually the choice of the model in America, in other countries it has practically become a requirement. In particular, it’s almost impossible to be a celebrity or model in South Korea without getting double eyelid surgery. This plastic surgery gives South Korean women more Western-looking eyes.
In America, most models keep their nose jobs and tummy tucks secret. Many girls even get them done at a young age before they even enter the industry.
The Average Salary Is Lower Than You Think
First of all, most models don’t even get to a point in their career where they’re making an actual salary. Most live week to week on money from their agency, which requires them to eventually pay it back.
If a model does manage to climb out of debt from their agency and book gigs consistently, the average salary is only $48,000 a year. Of course, mega models can make much more than that, but they’re one in a million.
Many Live In Poverty
Don’t expect to move to Los Angeles or New York and live in a cute studio loft while you’re trying to make it in the modeling industry. Most models live in communal apartments owned by their agency. The apartments usually have four to six girls crammed into a one-bedroom apartment.
On top of that, the agencies still charge you rent so it’s likely you don’t get most of your paycheck back.
Nude Modeling For Underage Girls Is Encouraged
While you’d think that nude modeling would be left up to the girl or disallowed until she was of age, many are pressured into posing nude or topless while still underage. One ex-model, Kylie Bisutti, admitted that she was so desperate to make it in the industry that she posed topless when she was only 16.
Some countries have cracked down on this with child pornography charges, but others let it slide.
Eating Disorders Are Way Too Common
It’s no surprise that the ultra-thin models of today suffer from high rates of eating disorders. People attribute this change in body shape to the ’90s when bone-thin models like Kate Moss replaced curvier, more athletic models like Cindy Crawford.
Body dysmorphia can add to this pressure. Many models have reported having completely skewed ideas of what they look like because they’re constantly told they’re “too fat” or “too curvy.”
The Cotton Ball Diet Is The Most Dangerous
Thanks to all these body issues, models have begun taking up the strangest—and scariest—diets. The scariest of all is the cotton ball diet that has a model only eating cotton balls instead of any food to feel full. Some will soak them in orange juice to trick their body into thinking it’s real food.
Other diets include drinking only liquids, using laxatives, and smoking cigarettes, all in an effort to look thin and curb their appetite.
Models Try To Get Rid Of “That Time Of The Month”
When you stop and think about all the things that happen to a woman’s body during “that time of the month” it makes sense why models have started trying to stop it entirely. Being bloated, breaking out with acne, and gaining a few pounds once a month just doesn’t work for many models in the industry.
Nowadays, you can use certain forms of birth control, but others use more harmful “natural” methods. Sometimes, these actions when they’re young can ruin a woman’s reproductive system for life.
Drugs Have A Long History In The Modeling Industry
The fashion industry has always been notorious for the partying lifestyle that goes hand-in-hand with drug abuse. One exposé done by Vice showed that many New York City drug dealers know they can make a fortune if they hang around certain areas during Fashion Week. ’80s model Gia Carangi was known for being a party girl. Her addiction to heroin ended up ruining her successful modeling career and she sadly died when she was only 26.
Often times, The Drugs Are Free
If you’re wondering just how seedy the modeling industry is, behind the scenes drugs and alcohol are often provided for free by agents and at photoshoots to keep the girls “happy” and thin. Former supermodel Janice Dickinson readily admitted that nearly every photoshoot she booked had plenty of drugs at the craft services table. For a new model trying to stay clean, showing up to your job and seeing drugs can make it easy to feel “left out.”
Social Media Can Be More Powerful Than An Agent
Today, companies aren’t just looking for the perfect body or the sharpest cheekbones. Many have turned to hire models who also have a big social media following. If you can gain a couple hundred thousand followers on Instagram, brands want you and your influence even more.
It’s not uncommon for models to arrive at auditions and be grilled on their social media exposure. If you can’t sell to teenagers on Instagram, they don’t want you.
Side Gigs As Escorts Are Not Uncommon
With so many models struggling to earn a living wage, it makes sense they turn to other lucrative jobs. Models will work as high-end escorts while traveling for work. This is especially common in France and overseas.
Chrissy Teigen exposed the secret dealings of a model in an interview with Du Jour magazine. She said that some girls would slip away after a runway show and make as much as $30,000 a night.
More Than 70% Suffer From Depression
It’s a staggering fact, but more than 70% of models of all ages have suffered from depression at one point in their careers. Everyone from an unknown, unsigned model to the most famous have reported feeling depresses.
Cara Delevingne made headlines for ending her modeling career after telling The Times that she “wanted the world to swallow me up, and nothing seemed better to me than death.” Luckily, Cara had the ability to leave the industry but many other girls do not.
Most Careers Only Last A Few Years
The modeling industry is obsessed with always having a fresh, young face, so only a select few models have enough longevity to staying relevant for more than a few years. The average career is only three years. That’s why you’ll rarely see the same girls walking the runways for more than two or three seasons.
Of course, there have been a few notable supermodels who have had decades-long careers, but it’s not as common anymore.
Body Positivity Has Begun To Change The Industry
It’s only been in recent years that “plus-size” models have begun to gain more press and recognition. Some, like Ashley Graham, have even managed to establish themselves on the same runways and magazine covers as traditionally thin models. Still, there’s been rumors of pushback within the industry.
It’s rare to see the big designers embrace this new trend in body positivity. Many feel like the more average-sized women won’t sell their clothes.
Unsurprisingly The Girls Can Get Catty
In a competitive industry filled with women, it isn’t very shocking to hear that the girls tend to get catty and bully each other. Veteran models will often try to sabotage new up and coming models.
Even someone with a huge name like Kendall Jenner has opened up about the pranks girls would play on her to discourage her from entering the industry. Allegedly, some girls would tell Kendall someone important was looking for her in her dressing room right before she was supposed to walk the runway.
The “Ideal Measurements” Are Shocking
While different models and bodies are slowly breaking into the industry, there is still a scary and precise standard that most models have to hit. If you even want a chance in the industry, you have to be 5 feet, 9 inches or taller. Then you need a maximum 34-inch chest, 24-inch waist, and 34-inch hips.
For most women, that means having a BMI of less than 18% which is technically classified as anorexic.
They Expect You To Drop Everything At Any Time
Most models have a day per year commitment in their contract. For example, Victoria’s Secret Angels have to legally commit a minimum of 50 days each year to modeling for the brand. Those days aren’t set in advance though, so you have to be ready to drop your plans and get on a plane at any moment.
Models in the industry have reported having to leave in the middle of birthdays, graduations, and weddings in order to catch a taxi or plane to a photoshoot.
Models Are Technically Considered “Contractors”
The modeling agencies have found a simple but effective loophole for when they sign someone new. A model is classified as an “independent contractor” under the agency, which means the agency dictates what they do, but that technically, the model works for themselves.
That means since the model isn’t an “employee” the agency doesn’t have to pay them a minimum wage, give them breaks or benefits, and there’s no overseeing body.
Male Models Don’t Have It Much Easier
We can’t forget about the struggles male models also face. Not only are they taken less seriously, but the guys have significantly fewer opportunities. There is also a wider range of body types and trends that men have to adjust to. Some years the ultra-thin male body is trendy, other years it’s the tall and muscular one.
Thanks to this, most male models suffer the same body insecurities as women. Radical diets and working out close to three times a day is common for male models.
Waiting For Casting Can Take A Toll
Even just going to a casting call can be a terrible experience. There have been notable allegations of abuse. One story reported a casting call for Balenciaga that made more than 300 girls wait in a crowded staircase for hours.
Another horror story includes a model who lost feeling in her toes after being forced to wait in heels that were too small for her feet. Since the girls are at the casting call on their own, there’s no one to stand up for them.