Monday, September 9, 2013

On a serious note.....

Abuse of young models....
Illustration Dan MacDonald

This is something that I actually asked quite often from friends and other people that are not working in the industry,
- Have I ever worked with a sleazy photographer?
Unfortunately the answer is yes.
The reason why I mentioning this is because I do keep on coming across girls telling similar stories, don't get me wrong it does not happen to ever model but the fact that this is happening in the industry is pretty creepy.

One of the most famous photographers out there, Terry Richardson, famous for numerous big profile jobs, campaigns, photographing
the industries finest models and celebrities, has been accused of sexually harassing young models, often girls who's first language is no
t English and are working far away from home.
I don't know if any of these allegations are true but I do know that there is a lot of things like this going on in the industry, which is pretty shocking.
One  of the many stories that springs to mind that I have been told was a model telling me that she went to a high profile casting for a huge campaign, and she was told that she would (for sure) get the gig if she was "easy-going" and entertained one of the people in charge, basically, if you sleep with him, you will be the face of the campaign.
I suppose this isn't extremely shocking but what shocked me the most was the fact that when she told her agency, the response was:
-  Well its a lot of money and a fantastic opportunity for you, maybe you should do what ever you can to secure the job?
This is horrendous, that the agency is telling this girl that she should perhaps consider it?
I am sure that this does not happen all the time but I think it does need to come to people's attention when it evolves young, usually under aged girls.

During my years of modelling, only once have I ever experienced a situation similar-ish to this. I didn't start modelling until I was pretty "old" in modelling terms. I was already old enough to feel confident to say no and walk away. But it would have been different if I was 16 and just arrived in England, I don't know if I would have been strong enough to say no then.
This happened a few years back and I was told by my agency to go to this test shoot, I was excited as I hadn't done a lot of shoots before so I was really looking forward to getting some new pictures and more experience.
When I arrived everything seemed fine, although there weren't any stylists or make up artists hired for the shoot, just me and the photographer. Its pretty normal, especially when its a simple test, which this was.
I noticed that the photographer was talking a lot about sex, and how he sleeps with a lot of models bla bla bla. My response to that was simply: Good for you :) 
We started shooting and he kept on saying that my agency wanted nude shots of me, I declined and said that I was not up for doing that.
He kept on telling me it would be good for my book and after telling me to take my clothes off he tried to get really close and "moving my hair" off my shoulders, of course people do that all the time but as I could feel the tension and the fact that he was very "hands on" all the time I shrugged away and made it quite clear that I was annoyed.
I felt so extremely uncomfortable and eventually left the shoot when he would not stop insisting that I should take my clothes off.
This has only happened once and I suppose I am lucky, I usually work with extremely professional teams and they always make you feel welcome and comfortable.
I wouldn't say this experience is anything close to the other story I mentioned but if I wasn't strong enough to say no, if I did take my clothes off, would it have stopped there?

Just read this article about Terry, I am not saying any of the allegations mentioned are true, but its still important that people are aware of this problem as I said before, many of the models that are just starting out are under aged and very vulnerable.
 Of course there are models that actually are enjoying themselves,they are having fun, meeting new exciting people. And of course I don't think photographers having relations with girls that are up for having fun are doing anything wrong, but what I'm saying is that girls that feel like that they are forced into this need to be protected, guided and supported by their agencies if they are under aged.
It's important for people to be aware of what's happening.

Article about Terry Richardson:
Em xx

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