IT’S HAPPENING! Models are Gaining a Voice and What We’re Doing with it is Wonderful!
Big things, it feels, are happening in my industry. Recently I’ve been on the news, talking about that overused phrase, ‘skinny models’. It always feels a bit impotent – people moan about us, we close ranks and say ‘hey we’re not anorexic,’ designers book the skinniest girls sent to them and the news story disappears until the next fashion week.
However, this year it’s different. This year, the voices being raised belong to the consumers and the models, people who had previously been silenced and patronised, represented by the world of commerce or model agencies.
We’ve had Topshop halting production on their unrepresentative mannequins, we’ve had Tess Holliday and Naomi Shimada featured in national newspapers talking about ‘plus size’, there’s been Rosie Nelson and her petition after being told to ‘get down to the bone’ and finally Charli Howard has started a conversation about how agencies bully models to get down to a certain weight.
We’re moving away from the binary of ‘ah models are all aged 16 with buzzing metabolisms’ or ‘DISGUSTING ANOREXIC SKINNY BAD ROLE MODELS’. Now that social media has given us a voice, models can say ‘hey – stop skinny shaming me. I’m naturally like this,’ or ‘actually yes, I’m this skinny because my agency pressurises me to look this way, and I hate it.’
We’re allowed a bit of nuance and to use our own voices now, rather than having these opinions projected onto us by others, and I think it’s AMAZING. We might actually see some change. I started Modeltypeface to empower fellow models, who are often unable to stick up for themselves, and I can see that it’s HAPPENING!
This week I’m going to be reflecting on the conversation Charli Howard has started, by asking the lady herself some questions and relating a lot of stories I’m seeing on my model mates’ Facebooks.