I know what you’re thinking, “Mary, is this your personal confession?” But the truth is, and I know this will be shocking to a lot of you, I’m not a professional model. But I did speak to a real model about being paraded around naked, creepy photographers and the pressure to look perfect.
What do lot of people not know about the modeling industry?
The modeling industry looks glamorous from the outside. And sometimes it is. None of us complain about the afterparties, the hair and makeup services or the photographers. But modeling is less about the pretty pictures and more about the judgement about our skin, the inability to ever have a blemish or bags under our eyes, the crude comments about stretch marks, our weight and bloody feet from standing in too tiny heels all day long.
What are the weird ways models stay thin? Are eating disorders still prevalent?
All girls in the industry have their own way of staying thin. Most are on diets, complete exercise programs and skip meals before castings, shoots and shows. However, some girls do go to the extreme. Many smoke cigarettes or do drugs, and eating disorders are definitely still prevalent.
It’s very hard to keep a level head about our habits when the heavy pressure on our weight is coming from all around us.
Do you have issues with people assuming that you’re unintelligent?
YES! I ran into so many peers that assumed I was dumb because I was a model. It’s very frustrating to deal with!
Tell me about the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you at work.
While backstage at a show, a photographer laid his head on my lap while I was waiting for hair and makeup and he refused to get up. He then asked me to come outside and bring one of my male model friends to take “some very sexual pictures” just for his use!
He made a multitude of comments about my body, and I was so uncomfortable that I went to the show director.
Do you feel pressure to always look your best?
Yes. I developed a severe case of body dysmorphia. I’m extremely harsh on myself. This is not an easy industry. If you don’t have thick skin you won’t make it, and you learn to be told that you’re not enough. It’s what you accept and agree to deal with when you sign up for this lifestyle.
The harsh truth is that you do need to look a certain way to make it, which is the complete opposite of what we’re told growing up where we hear that everyone is beautiful. I wish so much that this was the case, but in this industry, it’s just not.
Is it true that some models don’t want to intake calories from drinking, so they use vodka tampons?
I haven’t heard of this. I know girls starved themselves but haven’t heard anything that extreme.
How do you deal with rejection?
Any model who tells you that rejection doesn’t hurt is lying. At some level you will always wonder why you weren’t good enough.
Any other confessions?
I walked in a very big show back when I was a teenager, and we were told to arrive at 9 a.m.
We were sprayed with layers of fake tan and told to stand butt naked with other models (including one very strange man) and then we waited until 7 p.m. when we got dressed for our show.
We couldn’t leave to get meals and were not fed backstage (which is not an industry norm). I was underage at the time and was paraded around naked or in a towel with men twice my age!
Also, I once did a lingerie show at 16.