There’s lots of chatter in the fashion world about bad working conditions for models — that girls who start their careers as young as 13 years old are pressured to be unhealthily thin and thrown into a world that most are too young to cope well with. But until recently, no hard data really existed to support these suspicions. So model and activist Sara Ziff, founder of the Model Alliance, set out to collect some real information about working models’ lives.
The results came after Ziff and Jenna Sauers, former model and Jezebel writer, sent a survey to 241 girls. They only got returns from 85, but their answers were disheartening:
- 68.3% of models suffer from anxiety or depression
- 76.5% have been exposed to drugs or alcohol on the job
- 29.7% of models have been touched inappropriately on the job
- 28% have been pressured to have sex with someone on the job
- Of those who’ve experienced sexual harassment, only 29.1% felt they could tell their agencies, which might be because they lack the confidence that comes with adulthood, since:
- 54.7% begin working between the ages of 13 and 16
The average age of the respondents was 26, which means that they skewed towards older and more experienced women, but still, it’s clear that reforms are badly needed.