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All things beauty and then some. Andrea Claire has been a hairstylist and makeup artist for 23 years now. A Canadian based in Singapore since 2007, she has appeared on Asia's Next Top Model, Yahoo Asia, Canadian Idol, So Chic and more.

Why there is no hope for women.

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By Andrea Claire · March 15, 2012 · 0 Comments ·

Update:

"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?"

"Omg! Are you pregnant?"

"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.

image source

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.

posted by Anonymous
3/15/12

"Did you loose weight?"

Why can nobody spell 'lose' in the context of weight loss? Drives me mental.


posted by
3/15/12

If this is what you got from reading this post then I feel sorry for you. FYI: This would be grammar not spelling.


posted by Susan Thorpe
3/15/12

Actually Andrea, your attempted comback at the person is wrong. It is spelling, because you wanted to use lose but spelt it wrongly. I doubt there's any uncertainty or confusion on your part between the two words....

About the topic - stop the girls should stop feeding the industry. Get a good education and get a good job. Be an engineer, a scientist, a teacher. Diminish stereotypes. Start a plus sized agency. I know several model friends and they aren't the best example for women - they are vain, obsessed with appearance, and majority have no interest in school.

No one forced them to be models only or closed them to any other jobs - as with any other situation or industry, there are abuses and ill practices. Either stop feeding it or fight it.

It's a vain and pretentious industry - most people by clothes from Primark or the neighbourhood clothes store without stick thin models - the only stick thin models are on silly runways selling revealing and impractical clothes no normal people wear. That level only attracts designer goods, branding and supermodel/rich socialite perceptions.

So who's deluded or asking for it?


posted by Susan Thorpe
3/15/12

Actually Andrea, your attempted comback at the person is wrong. It is spelling, because you wanted to use lose but spelt it wrongly. I doubt there's any uncertainty or confusion on your part between the two words....

About the topic - stop the girls should stop feeding the industry. Get a good education and get a good job. Be an engineer, a scientist, a teacher. Diminish stereotypes. Start a plus sized agency. I know several model friends and they aren't the best example for women - they are vain, obsessed with appearance, and majority have no interest in school.

No one forced them to be models only or closed them to any other jobs - as with any other situation or industry, there are abuses and ill practices. Either stop feeding it or fight it.

It's a vain and pretentious industry - most people by clothes from Primark or the neighbourhood clothes store without stick thin models - the only stick thin models are on silly runways selling revealing and impractical clothes no normal people wear. That level only attracts designer goods, branding and supermodel/rich socialite perceptions.

So who's deluded or asking for it?

Wow looks like you even moderate your posts by approving, instead of deleting offensive posts? - not judging but that's a sign of self-centred or lack of openness to dissenting views.


posted by
3/15/12

Hi Susan!

Thanks for you long comment. I appreciate it and won't even call out your spelling errors. ;)

Sometimes it's about the points to be made and not about the Scrabble game.

x
AC


posted by
3/15/12

OH - PS Susan! I saw your follow up comment too. I was at an event and for some odd reason your comments were marked as SPAM and I was asked to 'publish' them. PUBLISHED

Here ya go. :) And thanks for not hiding behind 'ANON' that makes me MENTAL.

AC


posted by Yvonne Rosales
3/16/12

Susan, loose, lose whatever! Get the context, & it wasn't that beauty is bad! It's the constant judgement., and mostly by other women I feel. Although there are those dbag guys, who mostly live in Scottsdale...I digress..
I have been a stylist for 15 years helping women to look and feel MORE beautiful. Not just make them pretty, because they aren't already! Vanity is not a bad thing. I'm thinking you might need to make an appointment w/your stylist. Believe me it's less than therapy.


posted by
3/16/12

Thanks for your comment Yvonne!

I agree. Vanity is not a bad thing. "... pride in one's appearance [qualities, abilities, achievements]...'
If you shampoo your hair one has to be a little vain...

I find that many conversations about the anti-fashion / anti-beauty can come down to one scene in The Devil Wears Prada. Simply replace the sweater with [insert here]:

Miranda Priestly: [Miranda and some assistants are deciding between two similar belts for an outfit. Andy sniggers because she thinks they look exactly the same] Something funny?
Andy Sachs: No. No, no. Nothing's... You know, it's just that both those belts look exactly the same to me. You know, I'm still learning about all this stuff and, uh...
Miranda Priestly: 'This... stuff'? Oh. Okay. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select... I don't know... that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you're trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don't know is that that sweater is not just blue, it's not turquoise. It's not lapis. It's actually cerulean. And you're also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent... wasn't it who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it's sort of comical how you think that you've made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you're wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff.


posted by
3/16/12

Funny to comment on my own blog but....

My intention is to call out society as a whole constantly judging and pressuring women to be 'perfect'. This is not a blog about the 'big bad fashion industry' I love the industry. I am in it. I've loved, lived and breathed it since the early 80s. So I trust that is clear...

Readers will get what they may from this and I am happy to hear your comments. But if you want to correct my grammar or spelling maybe just chill a little on that.


posted by Nimse
3/16/12

Andrea, I'm with you! All the way!
In Asia, anorexic is IN.
I'm a size 6-8 and I find it hard to find clothes to fit ME! A mother of ONE. Because I swear the clothes they sell here are made for 10 year olds!
It's sooooo SUPERFICIAL here it borders on illegal...
U look FABULOUS - be it as a Mum of 3 or not! Kudos for writing this!


posted by Rachel G
3/16/12

Thank you very much Andrea,for writing such an honest and insightful piece.

I have to agree with Nimse, the clothes being sold here in Asia, is ridiculous, the sizes don't match up, there are some of us, who are making the change in ourselves and our habits, to live healthy and to look healthy the normal natural way,with a balanced diet and plenty of exercise, but whilst one dilligently does all that, sometimes when we want to buy new clothes as we progress on, it is very discouraging expecially if you've got a broad built, and are not petitie in anyway. I sincerely hope something can be done of the clothes being sold here in Asia, because, us girls who don't fall in the slim zone feel left out, there isn't much variety for us to choose from neither is there clothes that can actually fit us well.


posted by Lilyana
3/16/12

Hi Andrea,

Awesome entry! I agree with you - there is nothing wrong with beauty, looking prettier or polished. What's wrong are the judgement/s women (and some men) inflict on themselves and those around them. Judgement/critique is always biased (the question is to what extent). Which is why it is important for consumers/shoppers to exercise discretion when exposed to (all) media or uh.. shopping.

My cousin shared with me this link some time back, and I'm so glad she did. I guess it (the article in the link) confirmed my suspicions that retailers skew clothes fittings based on different measurements:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2012/feb/14/highstreet-clothes-s...

P/s: The writer is a computer programmer and fashion fan. She has brainzzzzz.. and they were put to good use in her data collection. =)

Cheers!


posted by
3/16/12

Dear Nimse, Rachel G and Lilyana,

Thank you all for your comments! [Sorry, is it a faux-pas to thank you all at once?]

It is annoying / frustrating that from one shop /designer to another the sizes are different. Many designers have 'house models' or a 'muse' to base their sizes from which is why they vary - still annoying.

That spreadsheet is genius!

x
AC
[ps... my blog is a pain because most of my own comments I have to retype as they aren't 'sticking'... OnSugar: What gives??


posted by Serena Kow
3/18/12

Hi Andrea

I am glad to see you touch on this topic. I am turning 34 this year and particular about my weight. The good news is that as I grow older, I realise that real women are not stick thin and we often are not able to look as good as Hollywood celebrities bec we have other responsibilities eg housework, juggling kids and career and we also do not have the money for chefs and personal trainer. What is more important is that we work towards being healthy, and that is eating well and exercising regularly. This will result in good health and of course a slimer body. A woman who is truly beautiful, to me, is one who is confident and secure in who she is.


posted by
3/18/12

Hi Serena,

Very well put!

Confident and secure are great traits in a beautiful person, I agree.

Thank you for reading and commenting.

Andrea


posted by
4/11/12

Hello,
My name is Jennifer im 15...and a model. It makes me sick when people asume that the modeling makes people go anerexic, this is not true for the large mijority. I am a size 0 to 2 but I have a high matabolisam and so does almost every thin model. The only modeling agencies with anerexic girls are the high fashion ones and they dont tell girls to loose weight the most they do is suggest you to tone up which is totally diffrent, in fact if you do go anerexic you can get kicked out because they dont want you hurting yourself to me a model. Angencies look out for you and inform you how to take care of yourself. The aisan indistry look for girls of a certain size and nothing is wronge with that they dont force you to be any size. The reason they need girls for this size is because the designers make the clothes at a set size, this size is diffrent for every designer but they need to find girls that will fit the clothes. Plus size modeling is not a bad thing either, they are not calling anyone over weight it is just a catigory of modeling, just like any other modeling catigory (high fashion, runway , cammerical, or print) the sizes for Plus size modeling depend on who you are trying to model for, some start at 6 other 8 and others 10. I hope I cleared up some of those areas for you, thank you for your opinion but as grown adults you should research and know what your talking about befor you asume lots of people think the same thing as you but most of them have no idea what they are talking about.


posted by
4/11/12

Dear Jennifer,

I applaud your courage for commenting.

All I can say is, you are 15 and once you have experienced life a little more you may feel differently.
My post is not about the modeling industry; it is deeper than that. But on the industry topic, I have 22 years in the business so my information is fact.

I hope you have a wonderful modeling career, if that's what you are wanting.

Best to you,
Andrea


posted by Charity tay
4/11/12

So I have read this post several times since you first posted and have wanted to comment, but not exactly sure what to say. After reading some of the previous comments I am beginning to think they have missed the point you were making. Industry aside women, whether they admit it or not, dress to please other women. To get approval and admiration from other women. Whether it is the natural competitiveness to look the youngest, be the thinnest, be the super mom, or the successful career woman. Whatever the category or circumstance it always comes back to insulting or judging or finding fault with others.
On the industry side I have been in it for 18 years and can say that I have had all of those questions (from he beginning of your post) said to me. Except the on asking if I am pregnant. In all honesty I have pretty much been the same size since I was a teenager so when approached with these questions I normally ask myself,"do they have this image of me in their minds where I am so much fatter?" because obviously I haven't changed yet they seem to think I have. I have also been told on many occasions to lose weight. Seeing that I refuse to go on any crazy strict diets I decided I am who I am as long as I am healthy and feel good.
I agree with some of the previous comments about asia only in that I always feel like a giant when I go. It amazes me and I consider myself a thin person seeing as I am underweight for my height. Yet I have trouble sometimes fitting into the clothes there.
Sorry for such a long comment I have so much to say, but should stop. I hope that we as women can support each other instead of judge and encourage drastic measures to be a size 0.


posted by
4/11/12

Charity,

I think you are right, some people are missing the point.

I made a joke on my Facebook thread about this being Disney's fault because after all: "Who is the fairest of the land?" But I don't want to make light of my point or the topic.

If you have read Ashley Judd's article [linked above] she says the same thing you did, which I agree. There is this inane competitiveness that leaves no one the winner. And even though I touched on our beloved industry - it is more an overall society thing as comments are made from everywhere.

I had a woman on Twitter tell me that a friend of hers asked her employer what could she do to improve. Her employer suggested weight loss. How does weight effect your job skills??? Maybe if you are a tightrope walker; but I don't think that was her job...

I think those who want to get all fiery when reading my post could consider taking a moment. Have a mint tea. Reread and think. And decide how will they make the change? Do they want to make a change? Do they care? [fiery is ok too - just keep your passions intact]

It's not about skinny models vs the world. It's not about fashion industry vs office cubicles. It's not about youth vs age. It's not about celebrities vs the fans.

Of course, someone will read this, or Ashley Judd's letter or anyone else who has something to say and take from it what they will. Agree or not with someone's views. At least the conversation and awareness is there.
One can turn a blind eye or one can do something about it.

I've decided that I want to make a change and obviously sharing my views without any intentions of hurting anyone or getting someone defensive; and with strong views there is bound to be one or two getting the wrong idea or disagreeing. Totally cool with that. Happy to clarify if I have needed.

I would be happy to see another view from someone who can articulate without attacking. Why be nasty? Mean Girls was just a movie.

Like you Charity... so much to say and I'll stop here too. :)


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