"I ask especially how we can leverage strong female-to-female alliances to confront and change that there is no winning here as women. It doesn’t actually matter if we are aging naturally, or resorting to surgical assistance. We experience brutal criticism." Ashley Judd as seen on The Daily Beast
Yup. Enough is enough.
My original post begins:
"You look great! Have you lost weight?"
"Everything ok, you look tired?"
"Did you loose* weight?" [ok... even if you are lying, I'll take that question any day!]
UPDATE: *Kindly note the grammar check to 'lose'. Check the comments if you care. Me... not so much.
Kidding aside: Can someone tell me where did these questions become acceptable in today's society?
People blame the world of fashion but these questions come from everybody.
Image source: PlusModelMag
Recently a mother emailed me. Her daughter is a model. Well, apparently her agent had suggested that she gain weight and become a plus size model since she couldn't maintain a 'models' 'weight... What were my thoughts... Hm. If you know me and ask my thoughts you should know that I will give them. She told me that her daughter needed to become a US size 10 to plus size model...wait...what!?! I think I am missing something as plus size was US 14-18...I suggested that maybe modeling was not for her daughter.
Hey, I am no models agent but what is wrong with the world that a US 10 is now considered 'plus'? If that's the case there must be a lot of obese people in the world. [BTW - some sites claim plus size starts at US 6 now... if someone knows for sure please comment below]
I've worked in fashion for 22 years now. I've worked in the US, Canada and now Asia. I have seen so many models of variant backgrounds and sizes. I have seen girls with obvious issues but I have seen many girls with great heads on their shoulders. The industry that I live and breath, I feel, has a responsibility to nurture these young women as well as a responsibility to the readers and general public to have believable standards that we can relate to.
Honestly, if you are motivated to model and can do so in an emotionally healthy and physically healthy manner then, do it! It's a fun, creative industry, you meet many amazing people (sure some douchebags but they are everywhere) and you can potentially see the world while making money!
I was on set last year, here in Asia, whereas we were shooting a celebrity. The stylist had said to her 'You look great! You've lost so much weight that your nose is thinner!' .... Um..... Yea, I mocked him on the spot for that. Sorry, you a) don't say that to someone about to go on camera and b) seriously the most unintelligent, superficial comment I have ever heard anyone say.
On another set, a male editor had proceeded to tell the woman we were about to shoot all about her facial flaws one inch from her face... he was not nice. She was a 'real' person; not a model. This leads me to the term 'real person' which I am open to suggestions as models are real people too.
This is unacceptable. There are zero situations where another person should be dissecting someones 'flaws' and if you do, let's hope you are 'perfect'.
Me, super bloated in Simply Her magazine.
I was in a photo shoot here and the photographer asked me if I was having my period as I appeared to be bloated. Fuck you... I mean no, I was not and a) no spring chicken and b) I have had 3 children and c) [insert monologue here]
I have worked with models who have told me that their agent has instructed them to only have one apple a day... One apple a day. Show of hands who can live on one apple a day? Yea, thought so.
These are the young women in campaigns that are selling you clothes.
I tend to stick up for the girls in my chair. When stylists pat their non-existent bellies and say 'oooh, a little fat huh?' I do not sit by quietly.
I have done jobs where we have either sent the girl home because she is too skinny or the client has reshot because the girl was too skinny.
I have had girls over to my house for dinner because they are overseas modeling with no money. I have had girls cry in my chair because they are young, broke and miss home. We had a model take some cash off set because she was broke. She returned it, teary and full of remorse. Many get $100 a week in 'allowance' but this is to pay for food, transport to jobs and castings etc... This can be used up within two days of castings. Ah, the glamorous life of a model. *Models overseas modeling typically do not get paid until they are leaving the country* [As told to me by many models]
No wonder they are skinny. They have youth on their side and no money to feed themselves. [FYI: they do have 'models' dinners' whereas the models eat then drink for free with bars who can then claim that they are a 'models hangouts' bringing in businessmen who think they are meeting models of age...]
But, let's not leave this just on the models.
Look at celebrities. Surgeries, crazy diets because directors, producers, agents etc tell them too.
Let us not leave out the general public. We are guilty too. As much as we create an uproar in the media about healthy body types and what is acceptable society is not guilt-free. Society makes fun and criticizes if you are curvy, fat, skinny... whatever. Apparently no one can do right anymore.
Skinny does not mean beautiful.
Curves do not equate fat.
This image was shot by Andrew MacNaughtan. RIP. XO Andrew!!
Funny story: when I was on Stylin' Gypsies I was called into the editing suite, shown a freeze frame of me bent over a colour mixing bowl, camera angle from the ground up and asked if I would work out or 'doing something about my middle section'... This was me post 2 children and in my early 30s already... I was not 'fat' and I was kickboxing 3x a week. Being the timid person that I am, I just said "Don't shoot me from a low angle that would make Kate Moss look fat"
I went on to do many TV appearances including Canada AM, Gil Deacon, Rogers Daytime, Etalk, Canadian Idol for L'Oreal Paris and five seasons of So Chic and more. I am pretty sure one does not need to be a waif to be stylish and on TV.
Have we really 'come a long way, baby'? [I'm not condoning smoking here so if you don't get it just ignore it]
I love what I do. I love that I have the ability to make other women feel great about themselves. Everyone is beautiful on the outside. Some just need to work a little more on the inside.
Don't judge a book by it's perceived as fashionable cover.
An opinion piece by Andrea Claire
Want to comment? Feel free.
And PS: You don't have to agree with me but nasty comments will be removed.