Articles Written By: cgc
Mar 2012 Tips for Transformation:
I grew up in rural Canada and, while at university with my sights set on becoming a veterinarian, I was swept up by Elite (model agency) and traveled the globe for 4 years.
My intention was to earn enough money modeling to complete university. Instead I became privy to a world few people had the chance to experience.
In high school, I remember lamenting the issue of brands being the dictator of someone’s status or girls believing they needed to be ‘thin enough’ to be accepted and ultimately loveable. I didn’t know how to help them break free of these false beliefs. Ironically, as a model, I became part of the problem and was paid handsomely to further enable these issues.
In my fourth year with Elite, I could no longer, in good conscience, be a part of its machinery. My exodus was prompted when I helped a fellow model reclaim her health and leave the industry for good. I never looked back, except to make my documentary Cover Girl Culture.
My film explores the impact media has on girls and women in our society but also addresses solutions. I invested several years of my life to research and produce Cover Girl Culture. I leveraged my background to secure interviews with editors of Teen Vogue and Elle magazine and created a film that reveals the pressure tweens and teens face from the fashion world and our celebrity-centered-culture.
The most disturbing problem I encountered was the sexualization of girls by the media. This was never an issue for my generation yet today it’s linked to low self-esteem, eating disorders, depression and risky sexual behaviors in girls at younger ages. Girls are losing sight of what is valuable in themselves and others. It is our duty to help them remember. (for more of my story/work – click the link)
Joke’s on us: Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) recent move: releasing an updated set of guidelines to ensure the health of runway models during the upcoming New York Fashion Week, Feb. 9-16.
As a former Elite model I can tell you this will have LITTLE to NO effect on designers choice of using ultra-thin, skeletal models on their runway. This is a sad attempt (which seems to have tricked the N.E.D.A) at playing ‘nice’ when in reality most designers have little interest in using realistic, diverse body-types on the runway. It’s a ploy that was used years ago and nothing has changed. (see Teen Vogue’s 2012 idea of “athletic models” for their Sport issue – it boils my blood)
Some of the new guidelines include educating the industry to identify early warning signs in an individual at risk of developing an eating disorder and encouraging models who may have an eating disorder to seek professional help in order to continue modeling.
From my experience in the modeling world, agencies and designers KNOW DARN WELL when a girl has an eating disorder. They turn a blind eye (in most cases) as long as she’s booking jobs. I’ve been in the Elite agency in Miami when I heard an agent ONCE tell a girl she’s lost too much weight. To them it was about earning $$ and she’d stopped.
If Auschwitz-thin models book the runway jobs then agents will keep their lips sealed. One of my many roommates earned over $200K a year and her agents knew damn well she was wracking her body to stay thin enough to book catalog jobs.
When I interviewed designers for Cover Girl Culture, every one of them said they can tell from looking at a model that she has an eating disorder, they see it far too often. One designer told me she wished to use healthier models and has tried but the other designers stick with thin models. She got harassed about it and received the ‘message’ that if she wishes to continue to show she better shape-up. Some designers DESIRE to be part of the solution….they need our help. We have to take action.
Guidelines and tips to help the fashion industry detect eating disorders is like telling a vampire that humans are food. They already KNOW perfectly well.
Teen Vogue released their MARCH 2012 issue with an “athletic’ editorial spread. It infuriates me. NONE of the models have muscles visible, they are shapeless insect-like sticks that girls around the world will see and believe they should be that thin if they are into sports.
Teen Vogue’s idea of athletes are anorexic looking girls with as many muscles as Iraq had nuclear warheads. Our girls need to see a TRUE representation of ATHLETES. Not phony, unhealthy ideals perpetuated by an industry hell-bent on keeping girls in a body-hatred matrix. If you subscribe to Teen Vogue – rip it up, toss it out, call up and cancel your subscription. We outnumber them — your $$ is your VOTE. We ARE THE CHANGE.
Jan 2012 Los Angeles.
I hosted a workshop for a few Girl Scout Troops in the Culver City area. After the workshop they watched Cover Girl Culture.
My sentiments exactly! Riley Rocks! When I was a kid I played with Tonka trucks, smurfs, a hand-me-down barbie/skipper, gi-joe, legos, Star Wars action figures.