Thursday, February 10, 2011

United We Stand

Model Sara Ziff's documentary "Picture Me" caused quite a stir in fashion circles when it was released in September last year. The documentary exposes the underbelly of the modelling world via video footage recorded by Ziff's partner Ole Schell over a five year period at fashion shows, photo shoots and parties. Allegations of sexual misconduct, eating disorders, drug use, as well frank testimonials by models; Missy Rayder, Cameron Russell and Lisa Cant, shed a new light on the ugly side of the modelling industry.

Picture Me
Source - imdb.com

Ziff is now taking things a step further with plans to form a professional model's union to protect models from harsh working conditions and sexual harassment. The Model Alliance will be formed in conjunction with the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham University. As reported in an interview by the Cut, Ziff asserts that "The modelling industry is essentially unregulated. As independent contractors, models don't have the same basic workplace protection as a lot of other industries. They don't have workmen's compensation. They often don't have access to affordable health coverage. There are no provisions for rest and meal breaks. There is little recourse for issues of sexual harassment and sexual abuse. And a lot of modelling agencies have a huge amount of power over international girls because they sponsor their visas."

The very youth driven nature of modelling, means that the industry is often pre-populated by individuals who have barely ventured past their teens. The formation of an organisation to represent and protect the rights of models is long overdue and has gained the attention of casting agency, Confessions of a Casting Director (COACD), who have compiled the following images of the modelling's finest new talent in support of the union.

Vita - Silent

Melodie Monrose - Wilhelmina

MJ - Wilhelmina

Xiao Wen - IMG

Ataui Deng & Courtney - Trump Models

Tsanna - IMG

Sam Kober - Women

Ethan James - Ford Models

Hilde - Next

So Young Kang - Marilyn

Andie Arthur - Ford Models

Wang Xiao - Wilhelmina

Katie Fogarty - Next
All polaroids courtesy of COACD



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