Such was the case early this week when we noticed a regram of a hilarious meme about modeling that originated from an account with the handle @shitmodelmgmt. Shrouded in the Internet's veil of anonymity, it runs in the same vein as fashion tell-all Twitter accounts like @shitamodelsays, @nobtothes and @condeelevator (RIP). The account is only five days old, but it has already amassed over 5,000 followers thanks to a plethora of funny, on-the-nose jokes touching on every model problem from dealing with designers to model apartment nightmares.
With a bio that reads, "We all want to quit. Two models exposing the truth," we had to know more about the models behind the memes. Thankfully, H and S — not their real initials, obvi — were willing to chat anonymously over email, and their responses were just as open and candid as the jokes they put on the 'gram.
Read on for their #hottakes on why Instagram is actually a "huge stress" for models, how the industry changes you and why not every model gets to really have a voice.
Update, 4/15: As of Thursday night, Fashionista noticed that @shitmodelmgmt has been deleted.
How do you two know each other?
H: We met during one of the strangest experiences of our lives. We were living in a model apartment with six other girls from all over the world. We started spending time together running around the city, and soon we were inseparable. This job has a way of making you feel lonely even if you're surrounded by people, so you need a person to be there for you through it all.
S: We met in NYC, in a model apartment. So, I guess some good things can come out of living in a cold, empty apartment where cultures collide. From the beginning, we just kind of clicked. We're both extremely weird. She's my best friend.
What inspired you to start the Instagram account?
H: We both have the same sense of humor, and we're constantly laughing until we cry when we're together. Being able to laugh about the ridiculous things that we go through each day makes it all easier. In the modeling industry, you experience rejection on a daily basis. It's not because you're not talented, smart or funny enough — it is completely based on what you look like. Your career depends on what one casting director thinks is cool or pretty that day. It's so easy to start hating yourself based on how other people see you. There is extreme pressure to be thin, beautiful and interesting at all times. This can really weigh you down. It's hard for models to speak up about the uncomfortable parts of the job because we don't want to disappoint our agents, and because we are so disposable to clients. If a model doesn't like the way she is being treated, the client can just book a different model. For this reason, models usually choose to stay quiet. This account is a place where models can laugh about the absurd parts of the industry, and it also shows agents and clients how we really feel.
S: In our industry, there is a crazy amount of frustration that you cannot express unless you want to ruin your career. Until you are "a someone," your opinion or preference doesn't really matter. My compadre and I would vent to each other about our day and it seemed to help us release some of our stress. Sometimes we would cry but mainly we would laugh. A week ago we decided we would share our trials and tribulations with the world and hope that some other models might relate. The idea that a model somewhere can see that she's not alone in what she is feeling could be lifesaving. We don't want anyone to feel alone, or like they are less of a person because of the things we go through as models. People outside of the industry typically don't get it.
Why Instagram instead of other social media?
S: Ironically, Instagram in itself is a huge area of stress for models. We are expected to have a certain number of followers and a certain number of likes. That sucks. Because of that, everyone has an Instagram account. It's how we could reach basically everyone in the industry.
How did you come up with the name?
S: Well, "Bad Model Mgmt" doesn't have quite the same ring to it as "Shit Model Mgmt." Neither of us really curse, but the hashtag #weareshit was just too good to pass up. Sorry, mom.
How do you come up with the memes? Do you have a favorite?
H: To make a meme, we think of a time that we've had a "model problem," and then we comb through the Internet to find a picture that matches how it made us feel. Typically the pictures make us laugh before we even add a caption; it is definitely the most important part because it can make or break a meme. One of my favorites is one that I made, and it talks about how almost all designers refuse to cast models above size four in their shows. It's just insane to me that they are still getting away with this, and how on top of that they call themselves forward thinkers and activists.
S: Yeah like she said, we just text all day and all these past experiences come spewing out and we get all feisty on Instagram. We created 30 in one day, and then realized we were going a bit crazy and needed to charge our phones. We just FaceTime and cry laughing at the ideas that pop up. Plus, we're both 100% immersed in the industry, and a hard day of castings is the perfect fuel for a great meme. I actually just finished a shoot.
Are these all based on personal experience or are they based on other stories you've heard?
H: They're a combination of both. Most of them are firsthand experiences that we've had, and a few are based on things that have happened to our friends.
S: It's really weird to see how many models have had the exact same experiences as we have. It goes to show how some of these ridiculous things are very normal for girls in the industry to deal with.
Have you been surprised by any of the responses so far? Have you heard from any fellow models?
H: So many models that we're friends with have followed the account, and it's fun to see their reactions because they don’t know that it's us.
S: Yeah it's hilarious. It's like, I'm sitting next to a model at a casting and she's telling me about the meme that I created that morning. We are the only people that would figure out a way to finally get some followers on Instagram, but in a way that doesn't help our careers in any way. LOL go team. We really didn't expect it to be popular at all.
Are there any concerns about being found out?
S: Yes, it's a pretty scary thought. We aren't trying to offend anyone and we there are some real gems in the industry, but the truth needs to be told and things need to change. Personally I've noticed that, much like everyone else in the industry, I have become like a frog in the kettle. They put frogs in cold water and then turn on the stove. The water progressively warms up, and the frog is unknowingly being boiled alive. I don't want to become okay with things over time that would have shocked me two years ago. Growing up is one thing, but slowing losing yourself in order to please other people is something totally different. No matter who you are in the industry, even us at Shit Model Mgmt... we're guilty of not speaking up.
The bio says "we all want to quit" — why do you think models don't?
H: For a model, all it takes is one job to change your entire life. It's up to the designer and the casting director if your life gets to change today. You can build up your social media, do commercial work and have a million test shots in your book, but when it comes down to it, becoming a top model is not up to you. Models stay in the business because we can't allow ourselves to quit before we've made it big. We can see those Vogue covers right in front of us and we just tell ourselves to push a little harder. It's a known fact that once you make it big, the respect comes flowing in and everything changes for you.
S: Exactly, and when you move off from your hometown to be a model, you don't realize what exactly you're getting yourself into. Quitting is failure.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Homepage photo: Imaxtree