Posted By: Lisa Meade
Year after year hundreds of young women walk the runway in fashion week. The industry requires of them to have a certain gait, a certain stature and a certain frame and weight. Is the industry molding our young women to fit within this restrictive definition of beauty? Model Alliance, a non-profit labor advocacy group, is stepping forward to have positive impact on the industry and the lives of the models who walk the runway.
Starving For Fashion
Author: Meredith Hattam
This week in New York City, hundreds of young girls will hit the runway for fashion week, the modeling world’s holiest and most competitive grail. Although participating in New York Fashion Week sounds glamorous, the lifestyle that some of these girls are engaged in—never sleeping, never eating, traveling endlessly, and constantly being judged and objectified—can be a catalyst for poor mental health.
In the past decade, at least 20 models have committed suicide—some famous, some not—and there are likely many more lesser-known models whose attempts may have gone completely unreported. According to a 2012 study done by the Model Alliance, a nonprofit labor advocacy group where I work as a graphic designer, 68.3 percent of models admit to suffering from depression or anxiety. For several years of my life, I was one of those women.
I started modeling professionally at the age of 19, when I was in college. I was suckered into signing with a small boutique agency in San Diego in the summer of 2007. Having grown up in a tiny suburb of San Diego misguidedly obsessing over shows like America’s Next Top Model, the opportunity to model and travel for free seemed like a no-brainer. But before my agency would allow me to sign the dotted line on my first contract, they wrapped a measuring tape around my jeans. You see, models aren’t measured in pounds—they’re measured in inches. I had to lose two inches, or roughly 15 pounds, all over my body to land the contract.
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