Do you dream of life as model? Do you have your pony walk and your ‘smize’ down pat? Good for you, you fabulous creature. But do you know the full story? Life is not all freebies and parties with Kendal and Gigi. Once you look beyond the parts of fashion week that we are allowed to see, you will come across numerous stories of racism, sexual harassment and bullying.
This week, one of fashions most accomplished casting directors, James Scully, has publicly outed a number of designers for mistreating their models. In an Instagram post, he accused casting directors of abusive behaviours towards models saying: “If this behaviour continues it’s gonna be a long cold week in Paris. Scully said that he was told by a number of girls that said 150 models were left waiting for 3 hours in a stairway during a casting for the Balenciaga show on Sunday. He said “In their usual fashion they [then] shut the door went to lunch and turned off the lights to the stairs, leaving every girl with only the lights of their phones to see. Not only was this sadistic and cruel, it was [also] dangerous and left more than a few of the girls I spoke with traumatised.”
Scully also spoke of the fact that many fashion houses have tried to book girls who are only 15, even though it is below the legal working age in France, and some have clearly stated that they do not want to be represented by women of colour.
Modelling is a legitimate career and many of those who succeed now have successful brands, and use their platforms to create good. But is vitally important to set high standards for yourself, decide what treatment you are willing to accept and don’t compromise. The “make it at all costs” approach just isn’t enough. If in doubt, ask yourself, what would Tyra do?