Modeling Industry Survey Reveals Unhealthy Work Conditions

Mar 19, 2012 - by Lester Brathwaite

The Model Alliance, "a not-for-profit organization that provides a platform for models and leaders in the fashion industry to organize to radically improve the conditions under which models work," recently conducted a survey of working models to better gauge the state of their industry.

Out of 241 models anonymously surveyed, only 85 responded; their average age was 26, thus the data is skewed towards older and more experienced models. According to the Alliance, "several high-profile supermodels" also completed the survey. Though this was technically anonymous, it was pretty obvious whose survey was delivered via a Swarovski-encrusted Blackberry hurled through the window of Model Alliance headquarters.

Despite its relatively small sampling pool, the survey begins to paint a portrait of the unglamorous side of modeling, where underaged models are exposed to drug use, eating disorders and sexual harassment. For instance, over half of the models surveyed reported being exposed to cocaine -- meaning the other half probably just didn't notice it.

The Alliance is working to regulate the modeling industry and establish rights in the workplace. One of its most important steps on the catwalk of change is the creation of Model Alliance Support, through which models can anonymously and confidentially report sexual harassment and abuse. This initiative comes after models reveled their agents didn't see a problem with being sexually harassed and  even encouraged the models to sleep with their harassers to advance their careers.

Sure, it sounds like a good idea, but next thing you know you're Coco from Fame and a seedy photographer is asking you to take off your blouse and "arch your back a little" as you cry into the camera. And all the while you're asking yourself, why did I follow Terry Richardson up here?

All, or at least most, joking aside, The Model Alliance Industry Analysis has some startling facts and figures worth your perusal -- click through for the survey results.

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