Models have so much pressure and a lot to offer today. We compete with reality stars, actresses, musicians and top celebrities for magazines and ad campaigns. We wear beautiful and extravagant outfits.
We look drop-dead gorgeous and attend high profile events. To most people outside the modeling industry, in the world of fashion and beauty it may appear to be all glitz and glam. Though there is, there are also some major downfalls.
There is a dark secret to the Modeling Industry that usually does not show up in print. This very disheartening situation or perception hovering in the modeling industry that makes my heart skip a beat every time is, models being seen as sex objects and harassed sexually.
This is due to the fact that this is an industry concentrated on youth, beauty and the model’s body. These sexual harassments these models face is usually due to the roles they play or depict in photo-shoots, ads or videos.
Their features describe sexy ,hot, attractive or sensual and these features are normal and necessary or required in the modeling Industry because the model’s body is an asset for advertisement and hence it needs to draw attention or attract to be able to perfectly market whatever product or clothing they are assigned to work on. Hence, this creates that atmosphere most often for sexual advances or harassments by the photographers or directors.
In an article written by Leah Bourne in March, 2017 she quoted a scene an Australian model called Fernanda Ly described and this is what she said, “I was once shooting a look book where the stylist, helping me dress, used this chance to feel my body up much more than necessary and continued to do so throughout the entire shoot”.
It is heartbreaking knowing how rich and powerful men and some agency owners take advantage of beautiful ambitious young models. Some lure most of these models with the promise of helping to improve their portfolios, get them attractive contracts and make them famous. With most of these models having thoughts of having their careers maintained and becoming famous which involves fulfilling the brief they give in to these advances. Some try to speak up though but end up holding back due to the fear of getting enemies and losing their jobs.
Sexual harassment is real and a few brave models speak up about it. In an article published by dailyguide.com in November 2016 ,International model Aisha Med who is also Ghanaian spoke about being a victim of sexual harassment. “Yes, I have had an encounter like that and I had to just go home because I didn’t want to do that and I was in a relationship as well. I did not do it not just because I was in a relationship but I do not see myself sleeping with somebody because I wanted a modeling job,” she said.
In another article published by Nigerian website “AllAfrica” talks about Nigerian model and beauty queen Miss Cynthia Ugbah, winner of Queen of Trust International 2015 resigning from her position over alleged sexual harassment. In the article she said, “They wanted me to sleep with men for money and then give the money to them to better their own organization. Apparently that is how it works”.
It is about time we safeguard models and the modeling industry. Sexual harassment in the industry and modeling agencies is very real. It is not a frame up. Brave victims have spoken up. We are not sex tools or objects. Models should start speaking up about how they are treated and stop giving in to the sexual and lustful desires of those “wolves in sheep clothing” in the industry just to make money or become famous.