STYLE

Models Open Up About Facing Sexual Assault And Racism On The Job

03/30/2017 03:39 EDT | Updated 03/30/2017 03:39 EDT

From the outside looking in, the world of fashion and beauty may appear to be all glitz and glam. And while, yes, there are great perks to working in the industry, there are also some pretty major downfalls as well.

In a new report published on Models.com entitled "How Should A Model Be Treated?," models from all over the world reveal the abuse and discrimination they've suffered while working.

"The modeling experience, as someone who has first-hand encountered it all, and also as a black woman with curly hair, isn’t easy at all," an anonymous model says. "Sometimes, because I have a walk that exudes attitude or because I represent the diversity the industry needs, that in itself gets me declined jobs and should frankly be the opposite."

British model Emily Butcher shares similar thoughts, noting that while everyone's buzzing about fashion becoming more inclusive and diverse, there's still a major divide on set.

Never sacrifice your authenticity for approval ⚡️

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"Of course, there are wonderful role models like Ashley Graham ... championing body positivity but the industry’s reluctance to stray into the ‘middle ground’ of sizing is alarming and limiting," she reveals. "It also completely discounts a huge proportion of society. The acceptance of each person as an individual is something that we need to keep working towards."

"Body inclusivity isn’t just a trend or something that should be accepted in the industry to appease or satisfy a demand," she adds. "It’s not an exclusive privilege that should only be afforded to celebrities or activists. It should be a right across the board."

"The acceptance of each person as an individual is something that we need to keep working towards."

Australian model Fernanda Ly, best known for her vibrant pink hair, recounts the disturbing times she was sexually assaulted by stylists and forced to change her clothes in public.

"I was once shooting a lookbook 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," she confesses. "Countless times have I had to undress in undesirable public situations, but even now I can remember the disgusting feel of this man’s hands tracing my body."

"Most of us start when underaged, we develop and mature as women under all this as the norm," the Aussie continues. "What has already happened has happened, but please do not let this continue to be so."


But Ly's tale of sexual assault unfortunately isn't anything new.

Back in 2014, esteemed fashion photographer Terry Richardson, who has worked with the likes of Madonna and even former president Barack Obama, was accused of sexual assault by a brigade of women.

The allegations were significant enough that Richardson defended himself in a HuffPost blog. But nonetheless, other models spoke out in defense of the accusers.

"It’s been a rumor within the fashion industry for years and years and years that Terry Richardson is a sexual predator," model Nikia Phoenix said on 2014 HuffPost Live segment. "We’ve all known this, and I don’t know why they’ve still been able to exist in the capacity they have."

While the industry as a whole has a long way to go when it comes to finding a sure way to keep models safe from assault, on the inclusion front, major designers like Christian Siriano are making clear strides to represent all bodies through their work.

"People are people, we should all be celebrated in our own way," Siriano told The Hollywood Reporter backstage, following his New York Fashion Week show. "It's very simple. It’s not that hard to do."