The Model Manifesto is a campaign to end the exploitation of fashion models.
Fashion models are often signed before the age of 18, bound by unfair contracts, are pressured to lose weight, have zero control over the jobs that they do or potentially even where they live. Money is withheld from them and spent on their behalf without their permission, meaning that some models are in a constant cycle of debt and abuse.
Models are exploited:
With no proper, standardised checks on clients or photographers, agencies may send models to work with people who wish to exploit them. They may be encouraged to pose nude, engage in sexual relations, be harassed or simply made to feel uncomfortable.
Models often attend castings and photoshoots in private homes of strangers and hotel rooms. This leads to intimate, dangerous situations where they are open to abuse. FINANCIALLY
Model agencies usually have the legal power of attorney for a model, meaning they can spend money on their behalf without even informing them and deducting this from their payments. Many agencies even charge interest on these expenses, paying models cash advances in order to survive the typical 3 month waiting period for payment. This entraps the model in a cycle of debt, whereby they are forced to stay in the industry with no realistic prospect of paying off such debt.
Many jobs are also unpaid or have extremely low rates of pay, even when working for famous clients. Agents take a percentage from the model (usually around 25% in the UK) and a percentage from the client (around 20%). The model usually only knows about the rate inclusive of the 25%, never seeing or hearing about the additional 20% taken from the fee.
It is emotionally very hard to work as a model - faced with constant rejection and open to scrutiny from complete strangers on a daily basis. Models find out their daily schedule the evening before every day, and must ask their agency for permission if they wish to book off any time at all, even the weekends - during which time they can still be called up to work anyway.
Models are often spoken about as though they cannot hear what is being said on a job or in an agency, they are treated as products and their feelings are rarely considered.
It is common for models to be pressured to lose weight by their agency. They may be encouraged to do this by using expensive nutritionists, taking drugs or not eating. Many struggle with body dysmorphia, as they are quite literally told off for growing hips or called fat by strangers.
Furthermore, many physical working conditions for models may be unsafe, such as working in extreme temperatures or unfinished buildings. Models are rarely covered by insurance and are not told about this.
The best way for this exploitation to end is for models to be empowered to speak up about abuse, support each other in a global community and educate themselves on their careers. By asking for simple respect and transparency to be shown to them, such as being shown their individual job booking contracts or enabled to see what their week ahead holds without having to wait until the night before each day, models can change the industry they work in by standing up for themselves.
The Model Manifesto is aimed at providing a community, the knowledge and support for models to protect themselves. Self-regulation and legal regulation does not work if it is not enforced - models must be the ones to enforce it.
By contributing to this cause you are allowing us to help vulnerable models, grow our reach and continue this campaign. We aim to create technology to assist with global barriers, campaign to the government for legal changes and hold events for models to come together as one.
Thank you very much for any help you are able to provide.