Today, I’m going to explain misconceptions about the modeling industry that I have heard or had myself. Some people may argue that the models did this to themselves or they chose that line of work, but it doesn’t excuse the poor treatment they receive. Yes, there are many models who live the great life and get paid in millions, but the reality is, the majority are not living it up. I could make my character’s life super easy, but my job isn’t to appeal to the accepted image, but to show people what is behind the veil. My readers will get a glimpse of a model’s real life. Something that reflects the hidden reality of modeling. This isn’t to bash the industry, but to shed light on how it is. Nothing is simple and we shouldn’t assume any job is “easy”. Every job has its difficulties, its costs and benefits. It may not compare to other occupations, and that’s okay. The world isn’t black and white. In fact, there are so many gray areas, it resembles a dark storm cloud more than anything else.
Many models take on second jobs because they cannot live on that income either because it is not enough to pay their bills or because of the inconsistency. A model can work on a runway show for example, and not get paid for months. Sometimes they will receive clothes as a trade instead of payment. This may not happen to ALL models though. Of course, for more famous models (which there are few) they probably get their money. Some end up taking retail or fast food jobs. Some people with a loyal following on social media, may receive sponsorships from different companies to promote their products. It’s very difficult to live only on the model salary for a lot of people, especially if you are just starting out and do not get any financial support from anyone. Some people move to different countries, states, and cities. They start all over from scratch. Even if you saved money beforehand, it may not last long.
I never realized how much more complex everything was. There are models who live in expensive cities and cannot afford the rent. They spend countless hours working every week, but that effort is not reciprocated on their paychecks. “Models typically aren't treated as employees, so they usually aren't guaranteed to receive minimum wage… instead, they are often considered independent contractors. And this means that even after paying their agencies fat commissions of 20% or more, models often have to foot the bill for business expenses.” Blake Ellis and Melanie Hicken, The Outrageous Cost of Being a Model. For example, a model expects a fifteen-thousand-dollar check for the work done, but instead receives a three-thousand-dollar check. Even after the twenty percent cut, the government takes taxes out of that. They are not left with much to pay rent, buy groceries, or pay for transportation. This would infuriate anyone. It’s a very lackadaisical industry. There aren’t many laws or enforced laws to protect the models and ensure better treatment.
I’d like to thank Brandon Llovet (a real model) for clarifying and answering questions I had. Follow him on Instagram @brandonllovet and @BBLovet.
Next week’s topics are robots and artificial wombs for my book The Future. The title is a work in progress, don’t judge.
*All my photos are from https://freephotos.cc/ except the one from Wednesday.