Why All Models NEED to Join Equity!

Waiting for a paycheck 6 months after doing the job.

Chasing money from a reluctant agency in another country.

Doing e comm for £180 and seeing your face plastered on the site’s web banners.

Turning up to a shoot with no food or refreshments.

Being told the shoot is naked – while you’re in the make up chair eating a croissant – when you don’t really do nude.

Doing a shoot in a freezing studio with no heating.

Seeing your face on packaging 5 years after doing the shoot, unaware there had been a buyout.

Wanting to ask about a job payment, but not wanting to annoy your agency.

Looking at your statement and seeing charges you don’t understand – but once again, not wanting to annoy your agency and ask.

Having changed down to only a nude thong in a room full of people.

OR getting changed backstage at catwalks shows, experiencing the camera clicks the second the models get topless.

I feel like I can safely bet money that any model reading this will identify with at least one of the above. Me? I’ve experienced them all.

That’s why you need to join Equity.


Did you know about it? It’s ridiculous that we’re all not members. I had vaguely heard about it, but assumed that, because no one else I knew was there, there wasn’t much point. I was WRONG! If we all knew about it, we’d all be members! Here’s why you need to join…

1) Your agency won’t be p*ssed off with you.

There’s absolutely no reason for your agency to be annoyed at your joining, because all equity wants is for us to be paid the right amount on time. Which is exactly what agencies want, as well.

Equity are lobbying for fairer pay in the industry. For example, it isn’t right that we get paid nothing for online magazines that make money from advertising and have your pictures up there indefinitely.

Ecomm is the new catalogue, so why pay so blimming low? Especially when our pictures sneakily turn up on web banners – Equity are lobbying for better pay. Which your agency wants, too!

Lastly, the fact that you can ring up Equity endlessly to ask about buyouts/money/certain clients means that your bookers deal with those phone calls less.

The only reason an agent has to be scared is if they are a pervert, or if they are stealing your money. Cos that’s when Equity have our back.

2) Legal advice whenever you need.

This is the main drawer for me. The amount of times I have chased buyouts from old agencies I’m no longer at, who no longer care, who don’t want to annoy a client by asking for money due from a job that was years ago for a model they no longer represent.

There have been so many times I wasn’t sure about my legal rights, but I didn’t want to ask a lawyer/solicitor who would charge me a lot of money to look into an industry that they didn’t fully understand. Equity understand, for example, your contracts and what you should or shouldn’t sign, and what you actually are tied into (so much easier for an agency to drop a girl than a girl to leave an agency…).

You can ring up Equity any time – they understand the industry and you’re paying them to help you whenever, as many times as you need.

3) They’re improving working conditions

Equity created a 10-point code of conduct, which Vogue UK, Debenhams and Next have signed up to. This includes assurances on…
Hours of work – no more than 10, and not working over 5 consecutive hours.
Food – of course you should get food! This used to be the norm but recently it’s stopped, which isn’t cool.
Transport – so, you don’t pay if the location is more than 10 miles away, and if you finish after ten they have to give you a cab.
Nudity/semi-nudity – the model should know in advance.
Temperature – if you’re in your smalls, the temperature shouldn’t be below 21 degrees Centigrade.
Changing rooms – a private space to change and access to a bathroom. We shouldn’t even have to ask for that!
Prompt payment – Actually getting paid after 30 days. Imagine that!
Models under the age of 16 will not be used in photoshoots representing adult models, and will have a chaperone, and will not shoot nude or semi-nude.

4) Insurance

We know the deal don’t we. We don’t get sick pay, we don’t get maternity, modelling could end at any time and we all feel like we have to accept it…

Well, you are covered for up to £10k for any facial disfigurement/injury incurred on OR off a job.

5) Copyright advice

Seen your face somewhere you weren’t sure it was meant to be? We need to be careful in these days of social media, and Equity can help figure out if your image should be used, and whether you should get paid for it. They are also working towards making sure you get paid the right amount.

Ultimately the proof’s in the pudding. It turns out that Equity have already done lots for us – they teamed up with the British Fashion Coucil and set a minimum rates of pay for LFW (seriously, when I did shows you got paid PEANUTS/in shi*ty used shoes/nothing/never got the money anyway. So that’s an amazing development).

Those rates increase according to the number of times the designer has shown and LFW, you get separate fitting fees, usage rights for photo and film, breaks, refreshments, conditions in changing areas, nudity, temperature, tranpsort, health and safety and invoicing periods. If you didn’t know about any of that and think you’ve lost out on some money – that’s why you need to join!

OK so I’m gonna leave you with the details. It’s a one-off joining fee of £30, then £10 a month. You need to have a name that isn’t already on the Equity books, but you don’t need to change your working name. Go wild. I considered Daenerys Pearson…

All you have to do is fill in the form, online here, which took mere minutes.

The more of us that join, the more power we have, as Equity can say ‘Look! All the models in London want fair pay for this, so you’d better start coughing up!’

We’re not being divas. It’s not gonna piss off our agencies. And it’s not really putting us out of pocket, when you bear in mind what we gain.

Being told the shoot will be nude so we can have a choice; being paid for the job we’ve done; working decent hours; knowing where you stand legally in a situation you don’t understand; not having to stand on a rock totally naked in a glacial waterfall, changing bikinis while 70 people you don’t know watch (yep) – essentially, these are all basic rights we should have. Equity helps fight for, and protect those rights.

Are any of my MTF readers members? And does anyone have any legal questions/payment conundrums/general queries you want me to approach them with? Let me know in the comments section!

You can find out more at www.equity.org.uk/models

Or contact Emmanuel de Lange on edelange@equity.org.uk or 020 7670 0237

Rebecca x


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