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Model Alliance Shines Light on Model Working Conditions

Model Alliance Shines Light on Model Working Conditions

The Model Alliance asked working fashion models based in New York and Los Angeles to complete an anonymous online survey about their experiences in the industry. Of 241 models contacted by the organization, 85 responded, with an average age of 26 years old.

"When Sara [Ziff, the founder of the Model Alliance] and I were just starting to think about ways we could organize models, and how we might go about working for fairer labor standards in the industry, we realized we first needed to know how models viewed their working conditions, and where models themselves saw room for improvement," model-turned-journalist Jenna Sauers, who is on the alliance’s board, told Fashionista in March. "We did the survey because we wanted a map, basically."

According to the results:

More than half of the female models began their careers between the ages of 13 and 16. Less than 7 percent began modeling after they turned 21.

Most models under 18 were not supervised by a parent or guardian while on the job. More than 50 percent of the respondents said they were "never" or "rarely" accompanied by an adult at castings, photo shoots, or runways, while less than 10 percent say a parent was "always" with them.

More than 75 percent of models had been exposed to alcohol and/or drugs on the job, and more than 50 percent had been exposed to cocaine specifically.

More than 60 percent of models had been asked to lose weight by their agencies, and nearly one-third have or had an eating disorder.

More than 28 percent of models lack health insurance. Nearly 70 percent suffer from anxiety and/or depression.

Sixty percent of models said they do not have enough privacy while changing clothes at work, and more than 85 percent have been asked to pose nude without notice.

Twenty-eight percent of female models have felt pressured to have sex with someone on the job, but less than a third of those who experienced sexual harassment feel that they can report it to their agencies. Most tell no one.


Read more about Sara Ziff and the Model Alliance at

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