Models: Marginalised and Uncredited

The creative industry has witnessed so much improvement in the past few years. Such growth has caused a handful of creatives to have found their way unto the international scene. For years on end now, however, it’s been visible from industry insiders that a certain group of them have a lot more on their plate than the world gets to see. These creatives put out an image of lifestyles people look forward to having yet, on the inside, they can only dream of what they portray. They are sadly just, breathing, walking, living mannequins. These set of creatives as we know them are the models.

In the world of visual representation, the subjects need to be viewed as key elements in its process and should be treated with such deserved respect. However, nothing is seen of them and designers have resorted to making them slaves to the idea of the common term, “exposure” while they make a profit off the clothes the models wear. The most at risk, however, tend to be the new and gullible ones who designers source for as “cheap labour” so they don’t have to pay them at all. They might have their faces on the internet, flyers, or billboards, but what they take to be their main source of income has close to nothing coming in most times. To models, it’s their livelihood but to designers, they are tools to work with and dumped when done with.

Scrolling through the designers’ social media pages, you tend to find an almost endless list of uncredited models; this same credit they’re supposedly meant to be paid with. After all, the only exposure that can be thought of besides having their faces on clients’ pages is the credits that come with the images posted online. Having a face with no name attached is an incomplete exchange for what clients promise. Models are, afterwards, left unpaid and uncredited.

It’s bad enough that they don’t get paid or paid well enough, they’re also at risks of being verbally abused by clients and looked down upon by other creatives. It’s a “do as you’re told” and “speak when spoken to” world for models. Models, who are usually younger than most of their clients, are at a disadvantage of not being able to talk back at a much older person. The fact that they would be paid at all means they cannot talk back when verbally attacked. Photoshoots don’t seem to be fun once you’ve been to some of them with rude clients.

That doesn’t also include the risks of being in unfair environments under unfavourable weather conditions. In order to be cast for fashion shows by people who don’t know what they want/are looking for, or about fashion shows, models have to wait under the scorching sun. Seemingly looking like they’re being tested for perseverance and resilience. It seems unending for these creatives as they put their hearts into their profession; stake their all by not taking the same corporate brick wall path as their peers.

In several interviews, similar issues have been raised concerning how models are treated and what needs to be changed in the industry they unhappily belong to. The industry breaks their pride so much, it’s become a shameful profession; a profession they’re not proud to tell people about. When industry insiders only see you as a tool, nobody on the outside would see you any differently.

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