Existence Of Crappy Working Conditions For Models Confirmed

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.

Share This Post:
    • Niki

      I’d be curious to see the pecentages of anxiety/depression and sexual harassment in the workplace for careers outside of the fashion industry. Sadly, I have a feeling they won’t be too far off.. but when you consider that the average model is exposed to this work environment far earlier than with most other careers.. yikes.

      • Miss C

        I’d be curious about that too, I started working at weekends aged 15 in retail and have had all of those experiences, including an older boss (I was 17 when this happened) sexually harassing me daily, turning every opportunity into a sexual joke, comment or innuendo, and trying to pressure my teetotal younger self into drinking at weekends, holidays, etc… having talked about it later in life, most women I’ve told have had at least one similar experience before the age of 20.

        I don’t think ANYONE that age, in need of the work as I was, is in a somehow more empowered position or is immune from predatory older people in a position of authority.