Detrimental Inside Look on the Toxic Modeling Industry

Catherine Hunn

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In general, models are cheated unfairly in the modeling industry.

Modeling has been a career choice since 1853 but boomed in the mid-1900s. Many young girls look at the covers of magazines and see beautiful models that they wish to be like. Little do they realize how much those girls have struggled to reach these impossible looks. The modeling agency is an extremely toxic career path for both boys and girls. The Model Alliance also describes major health issues that models face because of their jobs. 31 percent of models have had eating disorders; 68 percent suffer from anxiety, depression, or both; and 76 percent have been exposed to drugs for recreational purposes.

This career path requires very high beauty standards. In many modeling agencies, girls must be quite tall and have to stay under a certain weight. Being in this industry causes many eating disorders and low self-esteem. This may contrast with the idea that you would feel confident as a model, but many get knocked down. Maintaining a certain look can be very harsh on young people. To give you insight into the actual situation two models have stepped up to share the harsh realities of this industry. Both Rylatt and Deane agreed that body image insecurities and eating disorders are significant issues in the industry. Both girls admitted to either having felt expected to lose weight and exercise more, or had been congratulated by agents when they lost a significant amount of weight in a short period of time. 

The typical modeling age requirement is age 16-21. For many, this frame would be in the times people are in school. The work industry can be extremely stressful for people who have to balance their school life. Many agencies give only a few hour’s notice before needed for a shoot. 

Many in the modeling industry when they have left have spoken up about how toxic the industry is and how many are sexually harassed. Former Victoria’s Secret model Bridget Malcom spoke up about her experience. Saying by the age of eighteen she had been groomed by a much older man and sexually harassed multiple times. She also spoke up about how she was asked to do cocaine and have lots of sex to lose weight while she was underage. Malcom admitted to developing severe anorexia, PTSD, anxiety and depression.