Modelling lifestyle isn't as glam as you think

Pressures on models in the modelling and fashion industries

Emily Davies, aged 20 from Warwickshire, has been a model for 5 years, and has experienced the hardship of being in the modelling industry in today's society.

The standard visualisation of being a model is that you have to fit certain criteria. You have to be tall, skinny, toned and most of all beautiful.

This heightened persona has not only put pressure on girls and even boys in society, but the negative outcomes are also felt by the models themselves.

Emily said: "Especially with the agencies in London, there is so much pressure to be thin. When I was with a high end agency in London, I went from a size 10 to a size 6… and I was only 15."

The pressure put on models can be just as significant as the negative effects young adults get from body image by looking at images online.

Body image has become so distorted that the 'perfect body' has toyed with the minds of the world to think they are imperfect and ugly, leading to increased health issues such as eating disorders.

According to beatingeatingdisorders studies, they believe that 1.2 million people in the UK have an eating disorder.

Beat, a one of the leading UK's eating disorder charities, acting as a 'guide and friend’ to anyone suffering with the illness, highlights on how the fashion industry can affect the individuals.

"Pictures of thin bodies or body parts, like ribcages or exposed shoulder blades, can negatively affect people who suffer from an eating disorder.For those affected by such complex mental illnesses, these images can present an idealised body type that can encourage them to continue or worsen their disordered eating.It is important to recognise the impact that seeing unrealistic body images can have on sufferers."

Statistics from Models Alliance, shows how 64.1% of models have been asked to lose weight by their agency, and 31.2% suffering with eating disorders.

Struggling with following a diet is the main issue that people face, particularly where companies advertise that essential types of foods, ie carbohydrates contribute to people putting on weight.

Emily explained: "They told me to cut out all potato and not even go for jogs and to just do yoga, because 'jogging bulks you up'. Even when I was a size 6, I had comments on shoots about being ‘the bigger girl’ and to be ‘careful not to break the clothes’…it was awful."

Emily who likes going for runs felt restricted to do things that she enjoyed, as she was afraid she was going to be seen as too bulky to model.

The increased pressure on Emily made her family to be increasingly worried about her health.

“The pressure was so awful and it got so out of hand that my mum forced me to leave the agency because I got too thin.”

After changing to a much smaller based industry outside of London, Emily is a lot happier. She explained how she still needs to keep in shape but they don’t request a ‘thin look’.

She goes on to explain how by changing her management and being comfortable when modelling that she is now wanting to try and make a significant change in how models are treated, so that it can fit into the normality of society.

“I’m now a size 8-10, so I’m just somewhere in the middle…I feel like there’s no place for me yet, and I’ve spoken to a few other girls my size who has said the same, so I’m determined to bring this into the norm”

Victoria’s Secret Angels are one of the most watched models all around the world, and even they struggle with body image.

They have to follow a strict regime in order to be catwalk ready for fashion shows.

Even celebrities are at the front of body shaming from the press, or from trolls online.

Supermodel Gigi Hadid, has also faced body shaming following Fashion Week, and has been judged and called too 'skinny'.

Gigi spoke out to Twitter about the comments made.

Berenice Charlotte Still, aged 20 from Southampton has shared her experiences of modelling.

"There's not a huge amount of pressure that I have experienced, but obviously it is becoming more acceptable to embrace your body shape. But I think I have kind of felt that impression that you need to be slim and toned in order to still be wanted."

In today’s society it is becoming more acceptable to be of a different body shape, however within social media it is still showcases an ideal body shape.

It has become more common now for people to want the fitness body shape, as many look to sites such as Instagram to get that desired look.

“If you look at a lot of agencies Instagram’s the girls on there are shown to be skinny, except the ones who are specialised as plus sized models who are size 12 and onwards, which is quite under the average size for UK women.”

The average size for women in the UK is actually size 16. Many clothing websites ideals of clothing and body size are causing issues, as they are unrealistically labelling women and the models for how they look.

"I think it does show that you can be an technically under average, but classed as a plus size, so I think that there is obviously a clear pressure on being slim as being more desirable to be able to go on in that industry."

France has even taken a step further and actually banned models that are too skinny to walk the catwalk.

The law has come into effect where models need a doctor's note which overall assess their physical health including BMI.

They have also taken into account manipulated images, and request any edited images to show that they have been altered or 'touched up’.

It is said that any French companies that have allowed models to run the catwalk underweight can face a fine of more than £50,000.

However, plus sized models are however beginning to becoming more excepted in this day and age.

Famous Plus Size Model Tess Holliday, size 22 has come out recently to speak about the problems with body acceptance and modelling.

There has been a number of occasions where she has publicly said how people shame her for the way she looks.

Even on sites such as Twitter, trolls take front to have a negative and harsh opinion on Tess and the way she looks.

With Tess becoming a model, she has become and an inspiration and role model for body confidence, showing people that they shouldn't be afraid to be who they are, making people appreciate themselves more.

Berenice went on to explain the dangers that models face in the industry, showing how women are easy projected to sexual harassment.

Many people desire to make their way into the modelling industry, but they aren't aware of the dangers and pressures that can occur surrounding trying to get into an agency.

"The main thing to highlight on the authenticity of the adverts which go online. Quite often on websites like 'star now’ you don’t always know who the photographer is and a lot of them are independent so you can’t always trust them. And a lot of them have so called home studios which are obviously very risky, especially for young naive girls wanting to get into modelling, as it’s like an easy way in."

According to Model Alliance, they show how 29.7% of models have experienced inappropriate touching on the job and 28% being pressured to have sex with someone at work.

Many models are not only becoming victim of body shaming but sexually targeted due to their occupation. Pressures from others within the industry creates a problem on the individual as they think they need to just go along with it in order to keep their jobs.