Don’t Exploit Me Because I’m Beautiful

When we see models saunter down the runway or captivate us on the glossy magazine covers, our first thought may not be “woe is them”.  But should it be?  This is an interesting issue that is being posed by a non-profit organization, The Model Alliance.With the vast majority of models starting out their career in their early teens, it is possible that these young darlings may not be well-prepared to look out for themselves in the big bad world.  Enter The Model Alliance.  Founded by Sara Ziff, a ten year catwalk veteran, The Model Alliance seeks to advocate against “…the modeling industry’s systematic abuses of its workforce”.  Heavy hitting issues such as child labour, eating disorders and sexual abuse in the workplace are high priorities on the agenda.

The Model Alliance has caught the attention of some heavy hitters in the fashion industry.  The Fordham Law Institute at Fordham Law School have supported the organization.  Also, if you’re looking for a Canadian connection, Canada’s own Coco Rocha is on the Advisory Board.

Some may scoff at the need for such an organization, but The Model Alliance is quick to point out that there are a number of unions that protect young actor and actresses in the US.  There is no such organization for fashion models.

The Model Alliance recently released a draft Bill of Rights that sets out model’s rights in the workplace, which addresses issues that vary from transparent accounting practices to not requiring under 17 year old models to pose nude or semi-nude to helping models report work-place harrassment.  Unfortunately, the Bill of Rights will only be as strong at its support.  Fingers crossed it gets some significant buy in from the industry.

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