Pity the Models of Fashion Week

Their 'precarious' jobs aren't so 'glamorous' out of the spotlight, writes Ashley Mears
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 15, 2011 1:41 PM CDT
Ashely Mears: Pity the Models of Fashion Week
The Proenza Schouler Spring 2012 collection is modeled Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011 during Fashion Week in New York.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

(Newser) – To most of us, Fashion Week is all glitz and glam—but behind the scenes, modeling is a “grueling” job, writes model-turned-professor Ashley Mears. It’s freelance work, so there are no benefits, and models “never know when their next job is coming.” It’s also grossly unfair: While some models may make thousands for a single show, others aren’t paid a dime to walk the same catwalk, Mears notes in the New York Times.

Some modeling jobs “recall indentured servitude,” with models “in debt to their agencies for visa expenses, plane tickets, apartment rentals” and more. On top of that are the “unhealthy expectations” surrounding image; at 19, Mears writes, she was advised “to tell casting agents I was 18.” Some would argue that it’s an easy job, but “confronted with the huge successes of modeling’s winner-take-all market, most people miss the mass of losers.” A new nonprofit group is organizing to give models a unified voice, and “we shouldn’t miss the opportunity to change the terms of fashion’s labor.” Click through for the full article. (Read more Fashion Week stories.)

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