There are two models making headlines this week for things other than wardrobe malfunctions, their alleged "diets", or their hot actor boyfriends. Victoria's Secret model and Columbia graduate Cameron Russell, 25, readily admits she won the genetic lottery, but insists modelling isn't a career to be admired. Another Victoria's Secret model, 21-year-old Kylie Bisutti, just announced she's stepping away from modelling lingerie because of her ever-growing Christian convictions.
These women represent a recent uptick in a fashion industry backlash, and thank goodness they're speaking up.
Kylie explains that it was her belief in God that drove her to stop modeling in the near-nude, as well as a close family member who inspired her to rethink her chosen career -- it was her 8-year-old cousin who said she wanted to stop eating so that she could look like her.
Cameron, on the other hand, gave a TED talk last year about explaining the simple notion that no one seems to understand: looks aren't everything. She admits that she's beautiful and that her 23-inch waist has gotten her jobs, but goes on to say that modelling isn't something little girls should aspire toward. “Saying that you want to be a model when you grow up is akin to saying that you want to win the Powerball when you grow up,” she explains.
While Kylie and Cameron are making great strides to expose the modeling industry for what it truly is, they're not the first to do so. Paulina Porizkova was the highest paid model back in 1988 and admits that blatant sexual harassment was interpreted as compliments by the underaged girls. She said, "If a 16-year-old is kind of flattered by a man pulling out his penis in front of her, that’s kind of noteworthy." Noteworthy, indeed.
Jenna Sauers, a Kiwi model who used the pen-name Tatiana Anymodel to blog for Jezebel, frequently wrote about the mistreatment -- financial, emotional, and physical -- models would experience while on the job.
And most recently, model Sarah Ziff is fighting along with some of the top models in the industry to get fair labor laws on and around the runways. Sexual abuse is a "pervasive problem", she explains, one only made worse by the fact that the young girls are often in strange places alone without any chaperons.
The more Camerons, Kylies, Jennas, and Sarahs in this world, the better. Even though models have been speaking up for a few years now on the unfavorable if not downright illegal behavior which the modeling industry tolerates, more women need to lend their voices to the cause. Because, well, there's no time like the present.
What are your thoughts on the modelling industry?
Photo via James McCarthy/Getty