A Model Problem
People always tear you down when you’re in the public eye, they judge your body, how you look, your hair, where you eat, what you eat, who your friends are, what school you went to, whether you’re talented in their own eyes. Freedom of speech and defamation of character are often confused and used wrongly by some ignorant member of the public. The media stir things up by posting fake pictures, making somebody look fatter than they are - like they did with Tyra Banks when she wore that yellow swimsuit, or by focusing on the fact that a singer has cellulite (omfg shock horror). Since they clued on, celebs have been deliberately allowing themselves to get papped doing something that contradicts all the rhumours going around about them, most commonly they allow themselves to be papped tucking into a big, greasy burger from a takeaway joint to bat off claims of anorexia or eating disorders. Don’t worry Nicole, you’re definitely not alone in that one.
So came the beginning of the movement. The “real women” started to speak up, the 12’s and 14’s of the world begin marching through streets in their underwear yelling that curves are beautiful and that we shouldn’t be shocked because the girl from Eastenders has a big bum, or that one of the many Kim’s who is always in the trash mags has gained a stone over pregnancy because really, WHO CARES. It is beyond me the type of people who want to read stories about some far out celeb having their lips plumped or that somebody left somebody for somebody else, but that’s just me. Kudos to you beautiful, big-bootied ladies out there who kickstarted the equality of body size love.
However like any group, a few individuals took it too far (much like ‘feminists’) and reverted to body shaming skinny girls and women. Those of us with long limbs and small frames, namely models - or the people who will grow up classed as one of us just because of the features and body shape they poses. Welcome, ladies, to a world of hip bones and smiezing. We are the ladies who don’t really get fat roles when we sit down, our thighs don’t touch at the top and chaffing is one of the many problems we are lucky enough to avoid. We don’t have to wear a bra because our breasts hardly move without one, designers want you as brand ambassadors and, if you do it right, you can get a lot of free merchandise. We have people doing our hair and makeup for us and spend hours and hours at the gym and in the kitchen to keep ourselves toned and tight. We are the women in those magazines and in the shop windows. We are told that we have the most desired bodies and everybody wants to be just a little bit taller so they can look like us. We rule the fashion world, celebrities look to models, the general public look to celebrities. This is the way the hierarchy has always been, whether you care to admit it or not.
Our bodies are there for everybody to judge, every hair on our head must be in place, every wrinkle not too deep. For a wrinkle that’s just a mm to long could loose you a job because one person thinks you look “old” and we are selling to teens here! We must remain strange creatures, we need to be untouchable for fashion to sell. Designers are selling an idea, a lifestyle, an unachievable dream that puberty doesn’t stop at 25 and even though you’re 40 if you buy that handbag it may come with an extra 6 inches and you will finally be 5ft 10 with perfect hair and teeth.
A model will leave a casting having been told that we are too old (at 21), too fat (as a size 6), and too short (because theres still a lot of debate about being a real model if you’re only 5ft 7), then enter the “real” world with “real” women who tell us in a very vocal way that: “somebody needs to take you for a good burger love!” or “you’re going to find it hard getting a guy who’s taller than you, why are you in heels when you clearly don’t need to wear them?” or even sometimes “you look as though you will just blow away in the wind”. I’ve never told somebody they look like they would sink like the titanic, but apparently it has become acceptable to insult any person with a dress size of 8 and below. (thats a US4).
Big bodies are beautiful became the anti size zero campaign, calling all girls with a size 6 frame “ill”. So naturally, here come the media posting pictures of every stick skinny model and celebrity they can find, fanning the flames of a dangerous fire that actually just installs deeper into the minds of young girls that to be a model or to be beautiful you need to be living off a diet of cotton balls soaked in orange juice and 3 peas a day. Because as much as the anti zero sizers try, models will always be seen as beautiful creatures of a strange unknown land. A land that the media is trying very hard to isolate from normality. So let me make something very clear, yes there are a lot of people in the fashion industry who are suffering with some form of eating disorder, there are also police men and women, lawyers, IT specialists, shop assistants and psychologists with them too. Anorexia is not a disease saved for a specific genre of career, just like depression can effect anybody, just like diabetes or a heart attack. Most models who I know or know of are healthy. They eat regular meals, they go to the gym, they drink alcohol and eat birthday cake too.
Now it’s something else. “I was a model for a day and I hated it”. ‘Models in magazines are not real people, watch this video of a photographer edit a picture of this girl until she is virtually unrecognisable’. I don’t make a video out of being an accountant for a day and talk about how much I dislike it. No, because I am aware that my job isn’t for everyone, therefore your job may not be for me. But these “normal” people got to have a day with professional photographers and stylist and then were revealed the pictures at the end. They all cried and said they hated them because the pictures didn’t look like them at all. This made me go through my portfolio, I was looking for a picture where somebody had decided to change my face shape, or make me slimmer, or give me a bigger bust, or anything that was done to these women. Past somebody erasing a couple of spots I had I found nothing. And this is the great big reveal here… Most people don’t edit their models to look like somebody completely different, they don’t change their body shape, they don’t make the model somehow more beautiful. Past a bit of skin smoothing and editing the lighting, very little is done.
So now how do we tackle this issue? How do we reveal to the world that models ARE real people. Well I’ll start.
Im 5ft 11 (and a bit), I’m a UK dress size 8, I have visible hip bones and you can see my ribs when I’m stood up, I eat regularly, I’m healthy, I go to the gym, I have people tell me daily that I’m beautiful and daily that I’m not, I tell people compliments daily but never do I tell anyone they’re too fat or too thin or that their hair is bad. I am tired of the media trying to separate and divide, I am gobsmacked that somebody thinks it’s news when somebody gets a boob job. I am real, I am a model, I am me.