It might look simple to get dressed up, have someone else do your hair and makeup, and go walk back and forth a bit for cameras and audiences, but modeling is actually a pretty rough job, and one that isn’t nearly as glamourous as it looks on our Instagram feed.
Making it as a model requires dedication, hard work, and a lot of luck (and, if you’re like Kendall Jenner, some family connections don’t hurt, either). More often than not, models fail to make it in the industry because they’re lacking in at least one of those areas – and those that do make it don’t always have the best of times. Those of us who work on our feet all day know what it’s like to be exhausted, but what about being on your feet all day, in heels, under bright lights, with almost no food in you. Oh, and you’re likely not getting paid for it, either. This is the industry that will chew you up and spit you back out or else swallow you whole, and thanks to Whisper, women who tried to make it or who are still on their way up have told us their tales, who show the darker side of modeling – the kind that doesn’t make it onto the pages of the magazines.
15. Living Your Life For Someone Else
Thanks to all the glamour we see on Instagram as well as glossy magazines, even the behind-the-scenes shots of model life seem pretty spectacular. In reality, however, it’s not nearly so beautiful. In fact, it’s less like travelling the globe and attending prestigious parties (unless you’re reaching the supermodel stratosphere) and more like sharing a cramped apartment with a bunch of other girls and rushing off to go-sees where you’ll stand around for ages before being dismissed without a second glance for not having the right “look”.
In an industry that is based around appearance, a lot of controlling happens, by the models themselves and by those in charge of them, like agencies and managers. Tattoos and piercings can be forbidden, unless that’s part of your appeal, and walking around on teetering high heels and contorting yourself into convoluted poses aren’t exactly easy, especially on almost no food or sleep! It’s not all the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show – and even those girls are killing themselves to make it look so effortless.
14. Fake It ‘Til You Make It
Unfortunately, this is a refrain you’ll come across more than once in our roundup of model confessions. Perhaps not all that surprisingly, working in an industry that depends upon your physical appearance is actually not great for your self-esteem, especially if you already struggle with insecurity.
Some people might think that being asked to model or working as a model would be the ultimate compliment, a confirmation on your beauty. That is for sure the case more often than not, but it also throws you into an arena filled with other beautiful people, whom you compete against in order to nab that job, get that spot at an agency, become a manager’s newest client. It can take what beauty you possess and commoditize it for public consumption and comparison. It’s easy to get swept away in thinking that you SHOULD feel better about yourself, but it can have the exact opposite effect, as this Whisper user demonstrates.
13. Body of Work
Nude modeling is pretty common in the modeling world, but many women will have stipulations that they will not pose nude, for whatever reason. Lingerie modeling can also be a touchy subject, depending on the model, because what sleazebag with a camera doesn’t want to call himself a professional photographer in order to get the chance to shoot scantily-clad models? Perhaps in partial thanks to Instagram, any girl can call herself a model with a few artsy semi-nude shots, which might open up the opportunity for more people calling for this kind of work.
Whatever the reason, it can be demeaning to only receive offers for jobs that look at your body like a piece of meat, especially if you envisioned yourself doing high-fashion modeling or just fancier lingerie – even Victoria’s Secret has a great degree of prestige! Many might say that this Whisper user should just suck it up because that’s what she signed up for, but no one likes to not be taken seriously at their chosen profession, no matter what that profession may be.
12. Self Destruction
Modeling is a tough gig, and not many people can be cut out for it. It can be competitive, isolating, exhausting, poorly-paid, non-stop, and debilitating to your mental and physical health, especially when you’re just starting out. Clearly, that has been the case for this Whisper user, which is unfortunate. No one sets out to achieve their goals thinking it’s going to destroy them in the end, but that’s exactly what has happened here.
With the glossy magazine pages, the televised fashion shows, and the social media accounts of major models like Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner racking up millions of followers, modeling can seem like a very appealing career choice, but it’s one you need a thick skin to survive in. To be a successful model, you have a pretty short window in which to make it, and after that you can be left with no prospects, used up and thrown away. We sympathize deeply with this Whisper user, who gave it her all and got nothing except pain in the end, but it happens more than you might think.
11. Just Another Pretty Face
Have we mentioned already that modeling is an appearance-based industry? Because here it is again! This Whisper user, unlike many of her peers, refrains from posting images of herself on social media – and who can blame her, if so much of your life is spent being photographed, anyway? But, not only is she sick of the cameras, but she doesn’t want to be seen as just another pretty face.
Most people with high-profile “pretty people” careers – think actors, singers, and models – have to combat the idea that they don’t have a lot to offer besides their looks. After all, it’s what we see first, isn’t it? Models in particular face the unjust idea that they’re stupid as well as stuck-up, because why would a beautiful person deign to talk to those less attractive than them and, if they bothered to, would they even have anything intelligent to say? This perception is clearly an unfair one, and one that impacts those who work in the industry, like this confessor, who wants people to know the person behind the mask.
10. Uncomfortable in Her Skin
As we slowly move forward in the body positive movement, we’re seeing an influx of plus-size models, both famous and just starting out in the industry. We haven’t by any means changed the status quo of models, but things are shifting as gorgeous ladies like Ashley Graham take the world by storm.
However, that doesn’t mean that these women are always as comfortable in their own skin as Graham is – and that can be said of any model! While it certainly takes guts to pose in front of a camera, especially if you’re stripped down to your skivvies, it doesn’t automatically mean that you feel good in your body and comfortable in your own skin. Case in point: this Whisper user. Despite working a job that should make her feel beautiful – that indeed she was picked for because of her good looks – she still feels like the “fat friend”, and still compares her body to that of her thinner friends. Getting a job as a model doesn’t erase your insecurities. In fact, it can magnify them.
9. The Ugly Side of Beauty
There is definitely an expiry date on models, to put it crudely. Very few models are lucky enough to stay famous and relevant enough to still strut their stuff on the catwalk when they’re in their 50s and older (of course, there are exceptions). While this confession might sound shallow and be difficult to sympathize with, there’s something very real about worrying what you’ll do with your life once your prime asset is no longer useful. Sure, this Whisper user could still be a great beauty when she gets older, but there’s no denying that the work will dry up, at least slightly, and then what does she have? If she’s lucky, she’ll have made a name for herself and perhaps sired a few little models à la Cindy Crawford to stay in the modeling arena, but if she doesn’t win that lottery, then what? We’d suggest she learn a new, marketable skill – and fast.
8. Competitive Couture
Competing with other models to get a gig is pretty much in the job description, but it can lead to a variety of toxic thoughts which can become that much more dangerous if you’re prone to anxiety or other mental health issues. From the sounds of it, that’s the issue with this Whisper confessor here, who worries, in part, that because she’s not as thin (in her mind) as the other models around her, she might lose work because of it. After all, despite more plus-size models walking the runway, the majority of girls at fashion shows are decidedly tiny.
While we’re not qualified to diagnose anyone, it sounds to us like there’s some body dysmorphia happening here. Her confession sounds a lot like someone who isn’t quite aware of what her body looks like, and may be envisioning it as larger thanks to being surrounded by skinny women. Should that be the case, we worry about what’ll happen to her should she stick around in this career any longer.
7. Ugly Thoughts
Like we’ve said countless times now, modeling is not always good for the self-esteem. This poor Whisper writer, despite probably being told how beautiful they are on a regular basis, doesn’t feel it no matter how many times she hears it.
Modeling is a cutthroat industry, one where you can fall as quickly as you rise. Since your marketability – and indeed, your self-worth – depends so much on your appearance, it can take a major toll on your mental health and self-image. Being forced into clothes and to stand in front of a camera for hours gives you plenty of opportunities to come face to face with everything that might be “wrong” with you, at least on the outside. Scrutinizing even the tiniest detail in order to get the perfect shot means that you can agonize over things that are imperceptible to the naked eye but, when combined, can make you feel ugly.
6. Fashionable Fakery
While this Whisper user feels like a fake for using diet pills and a waist trainer, as well as suffering from an eating disorder, she should probably know that the body type coveted by so many fashion houses and runways belong to less than 5% of the global population, so getting that look naturally is near impossible. It’s the biggest secret that isn’t so secret in the modeling industry: that these men and women abuse unsafe weight-loss methods like diet pills, laxatives, or disordered eating in order to keep themselves in the shape that gets them work. So, sadly, in that sense, this confessor fits right in with her peers!
It is a truly unfortunate state of affairs when a person has to harm themselves both physically and mentally in order to keep the job they’re in, but it seems to be a common thread for many models. Although some are naturally thin – and this is not to discredit them in any way – many resort to these means to stay in the sample size range.
5. Bad Influences
See, this is why the Whisper user from the last confession does the things she does: because people like this Whisper user’s agent are telling them to do it!
Clearly, this agent believes in the “waif” style that was big in the ‘90s – and is unfortunately still very relevant in high fashion today. While buxom yet toned bodies (an almost impossible achievement) are the most desirable today among celebrities and within the pages of magazines like Sports Illustrated, models are still of the tall and narrow variety, especially if they’re doing couture work or doing a little turn on the catwalk. Muscle tone is as absent as fat, because clothes look better from coat hangers than people.
That being said, advising someone in your charge to take drugs and limit their exercise to stay in the desired body type is absurd and dangerous! If we could say one thing to this Whisper user, it would be find a new agent and avoid this one at all costs, because they’re not looking out for you.
4. A High Price
Okay, we need to know who this Whisper user was talking to, because anyone who has that response to her confession needs to be taken out with the trash! Even though her job is in modeling, one which has her body on display, it does not mean, under any circumstances, that approaching her for s*xual favours is okay. Morals may not pay the bills, but they’ll certainly let you sleep better at night!
We feel for this writer, who lost her shot at modeling because of her decision, but really, if that was the price, would it really be worth it? It could set up a pattern that would have her wondering just what earned her her newest gig – her talents as a model, or as something else? We hope that she was able to pick herself up and find something that she loves and fulfills her, because if that was the cost of making it as a model, she was right to turn it down.
3. Starving for Success
Far too often, struggling models resort to living in cramped apartments or houses with a bunch of other models, running off to early morning or late night casting calls or go-sees, dealing with a schedule so irregular that getting a real job is impossible and you’re barely paying the bills. An easy way to control the uncontrollable is to focus on food (or a lack thereof), and when you’re working in an industry where thinner is better, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a full-fledged eating disorder.
In recent years, many runways and Fashion Weeks have banned models with a BMI under 18.5 walk in their shows, but they still showcase thin models rather than featuring plus-sized women, sending a strange message. Young models just starting out in the industry are the easiest targets, too, since they’re vulnerable to established industry people and will do whatever they say – even lose dangerous amounts of weight – to make their dream happen.
2. Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder
It’s a bit of a misnomer that model = beautiful, at least in the traditional sense. Many models are actually chosen for their unique look and original features, especially when it comes to high fashion. Models with conventionally attractive features are actually rare when it comes to the couture catwalks! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, after all.
With that being said, it doesn’t make this any more okay for strangers or friends to say that this Whisper isn’t “pretty” and therefore undeserving of a job that is based primarily on appearance. Maybe she doesn’t fit the mould of what they consider to be beautiful, but clearly someone thought she was striking enough to give her a contract and a gig that has her strutting her stuff in designer clothes! Jealousy comes in a lot of colours and a lot of ways, and this user might be able to comfort herself with the fact that it NEVER looks good.
1. Destroying the Myth
Similar to the last Whisper confession, this user takes issue with the idea that models have it so easy, in particular plus-size models. We’re used to seeing images of extremely thin women presented as the “sample-size” models, so any woman who is of a “normal” dress size automatically becomes considered plus. On the contrary, these women are usually in excellent shape, with curves in all the right places, and the appropriate amount of tone. Walking that fine line must take a great deal of discipline – plus doesn’t mean you’ve let yourself go, especially in the modeling world!
We totally understand where this Whisper user is coming from, especially as more body-positive models come into the mainstream. It might LOOK like they don’t try as hard, because they’re not starving themselves to be the size of the girls on some of the runways, but it doesn’t mean that they get to slack off, either! It’s a tough job, even if it looks like a breeze.
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