Okay so a few weeks ago, I posted a blog on my life and some of the struggles that I went through to become who I am today. I didn’t get the chance to talk about modelling and my personal experiences in the industry. From doing photoshoots to working big events, it was honestly fun for a bit but over time I learned that it wasn’t for me. An industry that is solely based on your looks and not your skills or personality pushes unhealthy habits on young women and I eventually learned that the hard way.
I feel like so many people are fed this illusion through social media and advertisements that models live a perfect life where they always feel confident and everyone adores them. But the reality is that there is a lot that goes on behind closed doors which is why I decided to write this blog.
Let me start by saying this- I’ve stopped doing professional photoshoots and attending castings and I’ve never felt more confident! The modelling industry made me feel like I had to always care about the way I looked and I am so happy that I finally feel free to be myself.
The Harsh Reality
I started modelling when I was about 19 and my first photoshoot was for the Toronto Sun Newspaper. I didn’t take it too seriously at first, but as my following began to grow and as I started to get more opportunities, I naturally put more time into it.
If you scroll all the way back on my instagram feed to my first posts before modelling, I would post things I was interested in like crystals, nature and healthy food. But as I started working with more people, I stopped posting the things I liked because I felt like I needed to fit in. I started uploading photos of me in my bikini and selfies because those are the photos that got the highest engagement amongst photographers and brands. I was also copying what I saw a lot of other models doing.
I completely lost my sense of individuality. I was smart, enrolled in Pre Health Sciences and had a passion for natural health but I didn’t feel like that was valuable. I put all of my self worth in my appearance and started to disregard the things that made me unique. And the interesting thing is that you still see this playing out on a lot of models feeds.
The reality is that the industry is extremely competitive and puts a lot of pressure on young girls. You have to basically fit yourself into a box and follow today’s beauty standards to attend castings. If you’re too short, too tall, overweight or underweight- you won’t get called back and they’ll make it apparent why.
I remember being told so many times that I was too short because I’m only 5’2 and look too young multiple times. It eventually got to me and became an insecurity which is something I don’t even care about now.
The sad thing is that after attending multiple castings and not getting called back, you can only really attribute it to your looks since that’s all the industry cares about. This is exactly why there is such a high prevalence of eating disorders in the modelling industry. Approximately 40% of models have eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder.
What we are doing to young girls in exchange for photos is extremely detrimental to their health and our societies beauty standards. Women are literally starving themselves and getting cosmetic surgery to sustain an industry by men, for men.
We are trusting an industry that is run by men to tell us what women should look like.
I personally think that the whole industry is flawed. Sure, there are plenty of good agencies and photographers, but that’s not the problem. The problem is the image the industry is selling to young girls. We should be teaching young girls to strive for more than just looking good in a photo.
I never thought of the fact that younger girls may be looking up to me until recently and that’s what made me really want to change.
Because it would have only taken one model or influencer to open up about these things to make me feel okay with being myself at 19.
I’m so happy that throughout my modelling experience, I was in school. But many young girls don’t pursue schooling and just get right into modelling just because of what they’ve seen on Instagram or on billboards.
But don’t let that fool you, so much more happens than the public sees.