The Model Alliance's Industry Survey Finds Nearly 30% of Models Have Been Sexually Harassed and 50% Exposed to Cocaine
The modeling industry is largely unregulated: Models are independent contractors without basic employment rights like workplace protection and minimum age and wage requirements.
That's why the Model Alliance, established to improve models' working conditions as well as provide a safe space for models to communicate with one another about their rights, created one of the first surveys we've seen to offer an analysis of models' experiences.
"When Sara [Ziff, the founder of the Model Alliance] and I were just starting to think about ways we could organize models, and how we might go about working for fairer labor standards in the industry, we realized we first needed to know how models viewed their working conditions, and where models themselves saw room for improvement," Jenna Sauers, who sits on the board of the Model Alliance, said. "We did the survey because we wanted a map, basically."
Granted, the sample size is pretty small (the Alliance sent an anonymous online survey to 241 working models, and only 85 responded) but still, it offers a little window into what life is like as a working model. Some of the results aren't that surprising (most models begin working at age 13-19, most of them have been told to lose weight by their agencies), but others are downright horrifying.
Last night loads of leggy models--A-listers like Shalom Harlow, Doutzen Kroes, Coco Rocha and Crystal Renn among them--gathered at the Standard in the Meatpacking to sip free vodka drinks over loud music. At first glance, a typical fashion party.
Only it wasn't. These models were gathered to celebrate the launch of the Model Alliance, a non-profit organization founded by Sara Ziff dedicated to "helping models in the American fashion industry organize for safe, fair, and healthy standards in their workplace."
Clips of Girl Model, the ominous looking documentary about a 13-year-old Siberian girl’s foray into the world of modeling, more than piqued our interest when they popped up in March. And while we’d explored the murky back story of the film, we’d yet to see it in it’s entirety. So, naturally, we jumped at the chance to watch the full film at a special ‘fashion industry’ screening last week, hosted by the Model Alliance at the Sunshine Theater in New York. So did industry insiders like Natalie Joos, Scott Lipps, Milla Jovovich, along with a slew of models.
Even before Girl Model was released, it caused quite a stir for touching upon such heated subjects as models’ ages, rights and working conditions, which the fashion industry has, in the past, tended to ignore or overlook. But thanks to organizations like the Model Alliance--and films like Girl Model--that's changing.
Models’ working conditions and rights are finally being addressed by people in positions to actually enforce changes. And after watching this film, it’s clear that this new found awareness is coming not a moment too soon. Read on for our take on the film, plus find out what Model Alliance directors Sara Ziff and Jenna Sauers had to say about it.
With their new health initiative guideline that models be ID'd to prove they are above the age of 16, the CFDA is making an effort to create a healthier and fairer work environment for models. But is the fashion industry even listening? We asked designers, models and casting agents during New York Fashion Week, and the answer seems to be: Wellll, not really.
Among the many problems plaguing the modeling industry is the fact that models have no way to recoup lost wages if a client is unwilling or unable to pay. Fortunately, the Model Alliance and Freelancers Union are working together to change that.
According to an announcement posted on Model Alliance's site, the two organizations are working together to help pass the Freelancer Payment Protection Act, a proposed law that will help protect models and other freelancers in New York from deadbeat clients as well as protect models from wage theft by their agencies.