Glamorous? This disturbing photoshoot shows why even top models can’t say no –

You can almost imagine the conversation that took place between them (and, as
a model, I have heard this sort of thing):

‘I know! We’ll bring back heroin chic but take it to the next level: an ironic
take on addiction. It’ll be so gritty.”

In reality, it just doesn’t work. The women in these images look vulnerable,
with their legs splayed and clothes hanging off.

And I’m not the only one who thinks so.

Social media users were quick to label the shoot as ‘wrong’, ‘awkward’ and
‘not ok’.

Photo: Twitter

Photo: Twitter

Photo: Twitter

I’m reminded of Tom
Ford’s shoot for French Vogue
in which six-year-old girls were
made-up and dressed in mini skirts. It might have seemed edgy when
discussing the concept, but the sad reality was that it displayed sexualised
young girls.

Sadly, when people are so high up in the echelons of the fashion world, there
can be a dearth of people to say ‘no’.

So who’s to blame? And – as a model – I have to question how these women could
go along with such a concept.

You see, among those in the pictures are some of the biggest names in fashion.
Lily Donaldson and Anja Rubik have graced numerous Vogue covers and
campaigns for brands such as DKNY and H&M.

Didn’t they wonder, as the grime was applied to their arms, what sort of
pictures they were creating and whether it might be irresponsible? How the
public might react?

Of course, making models look ‘wasted’ is nothing new.

Corinne Day’s images of a waifish Kate Moss wearing a skimpy vest top have
become synonymous with ‘heroin chic.’

Even I have a few questionable shoots from my early days in fashion. One saw
me lying on the floor by a toilet in the foetal position, eyes shut, wearing
just a pair of pants and a tiny vest.

The photographer kept every window in the flat open on that freezing February
morning, so that I was covered in goose bumps and visibly tense, from
shivering, in every shot.

I was 16 at the time, new to the industry and not at all savvy.

But would I say no to that shoot now – or the one in Interview? Especially
with such a prestigious magazine and photographer combination on the table?
Possibly not.

I simply can’t judge Donaldson and the other models who agreed to appear.

You see, models are commodities. But while we often read about young girls
being taken advantage of, or considered to be ‘replaceable’, the truth us
that even those models at the top of the industry aren’t immune. You might
have your face on every fashion magazine and billboard going. But if you
won’t roll around in dirt or pretend to pass out against a drainpipe, you
can be replaced.

You are utterly expendable and not allowed to forget it.

Models at the very top of the industry (with very few exceptions) are subject
to the same pressures as the rest of us – every season, a fresh batch of new
faces will vie for the limelight. It can be tough to stay relevant in an
industry that ever favours extreme youth and newness.

So to be booked by Baron, who works for the biggest global brands in fashion,
remains an opportunity not to be turned down.

Whatever you’re asked to do.

Follow Rebecca on Twitter: @rebeccapearson


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