Modelling is a dream job for many teenagers. When they think of modelling, they picture the lives of supermodels like Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell – being flown around the world in private jets, followed by an entourage of make-up artists, hairdressers and stylists, going to endless movie premiers wearing thousand-dollar dresses.(...)
FASHION AND EATING DISORDERS Over recent years, the fashion industry has been criticised for the harmful effect it may have on both models and the general public. Although the fad for super-thin ‘waifs’ has passed, models are much slimmer than the average girl. Emily says, "I make my living with my looks, so I watch what I eat. But I don’t struggle with my weight as many girls do – girls whose natural size might be much bigger than models like me, but who feel pressurised to be like the people they see on the catwalk." She says that no one has ever commented on her weight, but admits that every female model knows that if she puts on a lot of weight, she will stop getting jobs.
But how serious is the fashion industry’s influence on young girls? Tom thinks that "It’s possible that the fashion industry could harm people’s self-esteem, but self-esteem is based on many things. If your parents have brought you up well, you will know that all aspects of yourself – from your looks to the way you think – are important, and you are unlikely to be harmed by the fashion industry." As eating disorders are a type of mental illness, your upbringing and genetic factors play a larger part in their cause than the fashion industry ever could.
Futhermore, the fashion industry only presents the images the public wants to see – if people stopped buying magazines full of skinny models, then the magazines would be forced to change. FASHION AND AGE Another aspect of modelling which has caused concern is the young age of those involved. But while most male models are aged between 20 and 23, the average age for girls is much lower – they are usually between 14 and 18 years old. Many girls drop out of school to concentrate on modelling – a career which may well be over before they hit 21. While modelling agencies should make girls aware of this, the decision to leave school is a personal one, which ultimately no one else can be held responsible for. It is up to the girl and her parents to decide what is the right thing to do. But perhaps other countries should change their laws, as Brazil has recently done, so under-eighteen’s can only work as models if they can prove they are still in education. (...)
A CORRUPTING DEMON? So it seems that in reality, the fashion industry is not quite the corrupting demon it has been touted as over the past few years. Although it opens society to certain dangers, many of these dangers are ones which parents and the rest of society are also responsible for. And the industry also brings benefits – fashion is fun and diverting for members of the public and the fashion world alike. While it is not a long-term career option, it is one that is easy to get into. If you have the right look, all you have to do is walk into a modelling agency, and they will tell you then and there if they thing you have a chance as a model. It gives you flexibility, and many musicians, actors and artists use modelling to fund themselves. But many find the sitting around incredibly boring, and for most people, it is not a career which produces any real sense of achievement, or which allows you to progress.