Cover Girl Culture website

Articles Written By: cgc

Maria Shriver features Nicole’s work

Mar 2012  Tips for Transformation:

How to Help Girls See Through the Cover Girl Culture and Reclaim Their Self-Esteem

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)

 

CFDA’s Red Herring for Fashion Week. Joke’s on us…

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.


The Teen Vogue stick model on the rings is obviously standing on a box for this shoot.  Simple physics dictate she couldn’t hold herself up in that pose with her shoulders cocked and wrists limp.  The other two women are REAL athletes with strong physiques who COULD have been used for this issue.

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.

Girl Scout’s comment after seeing Cover Girl Culture

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.
Immediately after the screening several girls approached me to thank me for my “bravery” in making the film and to ask me lots of questions and share their feelings.   One of the girls exclaimed, “I wanted to strangle the editor ladies for not seeing what harm they are doing!  I’m eleven and I see it!”    She and her friends were very angry with some ‘adults‘ lack of concern of care for children and girls.  New Media Renegades emerged from my workshop!

My superhero!

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.
Let’s create a CLEVER GIRL CULTURE!
Check out my new workshops for girls on media literacy, critical thinking and body image.

Body Image Issues & Victoria’s Secret Angels

Body Image Issues & Victoria’s Secret Angels
Lifestyle
Rhiannon Kay (interviewed documentary film maker Nicole Clark)

Many girls dream to become a Victoria’s Secret Angel. These angels are known for their beauty and skinny figures that most women envy. They strut down the runway with confidence and ooze sex appeal, wearing only lingerie and wings.

Nicole Clark, a former Elite International fashion model and a filmmaker created a documentary called Cover Girl Culture that takes a look at the impact media has on girls and women in our society.

“I wanted to help girls learn to see through the media’s often negative influence and take back their power, said Clark. “I used to be part of the problem when I modeled with Elite and now I’m part of the solution.”

After watching shows like the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, many girls feel they are not good enough and that they have to diet and start losing weight.

“They see that these are the ‘women’ men dream of dating or meeting and most girls dream of having a boy like them in the same way,” said Clark. “They hear their brothers, fathers or other boys making lusty comments about VS models. Girls are smart, they put together A + B = C.”

Facebook and Twitter blew up with girls commenting about how they wish they looked like the Angels and how they want to begin dieting and exercising.

@rachelbogle said, “Not even lying right now..going to watch the #VSFashion show while lifting weights and doing crunches…#motivation.”

One feature in Clark’s film focuses on solutions for parents and educators; to help young women love themselves.

“One of the solutions is to help teach media literacy or critical thinking to our girls when they are young,” said Clark. “Advertisers’ motto is “Get them While they’re Young” so we as educators and parents need to “Prepare Them When they’re Young” through positive self-esteem messages and teaching them how to decode the media’s messages.”

Many shocking problems are caused by the unhealthy sexualization of girls in the media. Problems like depression, low self-esteem and body image dissatisfaction.

“Girls, who have accepted the message from media that they are merely meant to be sexy for guys, become depressed and feel badly about themselves because who they are is not being valued.”

The Victoria’s Secret Fashion show is not the only culprit. Magazines, celebrities and advertising have such a powerful negative influence on girls and young women.

“Young people, in every culture, look to society to see who is upheld and admired or acknowledged and our society, sadly, upholds celebrities for shocking behaviours and qualities that have little value,” said Clark. “Girls want to be respected, admired and acknowledged and we’re giving them far too many examples of what not to emulate.”

CTV Provincewide: Nicole Clark & Daiene Vernille, 2011


Daiene Vernile, award-winning* host of Provincewide, interviews the director of Cover Girl Culture, Nicole Clark, on the impact the media has on girls.  *Winner of a prestigious International Edward R. Murrow Award.   (also worth mentioning – Nicole had a serious sinus cold during the interview)

www.covergirlculture.com

Excellent news story highlighting my passion: being a Media Renegade

This month in the Waterloo Chronicle, staff writer Bob Vrbanac covered my involvement with Zonta International in Kitchener/Waterloo as well as my life work to help girls with self-esteem and developing critical thinking skills when it comes to media and it’s agenda.

Full article here

CTV CANADA AM – Nicole Clark Sept 2011


Director of Cover Girl Culture, Nicole Clark, speaks up about the sexualization of girls in a new French lingerie line aimed at girls aged 4-12.
www.covergirlculture.com

Collection of some great reviews

Cover Girl Culture:

“A powerful and unrelenting critique of the marketing of sexiness to young women and even little girls.”
Joan Jacobs Brumberg
Author, “Fasting Girls: The History of Anorexia Nervosa”

Reminds others loudly that a true cover girl is one who is full of strength, power, confidence and compassion, not a vapid, thinned out display model used to sell self loathing to the masses.”
Dr. Robyn Silverman
Body Image Expert, Coach and Author, “Good Girls Don’t Get Fat”

A powerful teaching tool to deconstruct and uplift,…poignantly gives the girls’ eye view of the collateral damage in this fight for the hearts and minds of children’s perception of their own self-worth.
Amy Jussel
Executive Dir., Shaping Youth

“The documentary reveals the insidious reality of U.S. consumer culture and tells parents how to combat the beauty industry’s grasp on their daughters: Teach media literacy.”
Ms. Magazine

“Cover Girl Culture introduce(s) many constructs and themes essential to discuss in gender and women’s studies courses… Showing [it] at the very beginning of such a course would provide an excellent introduction to material that will be discussed in more detail throughout the course, generate students’ excitement and anticipation for the material, spark discussion…”
Tracy L. Tylka & Rachel M. Calogero
Sex Roles Journal

“I have treated Eating Disorders for 20 years. In that time, I have never come across anything that has the impact of ‘Cover Girl Culture’. The filmmaker did a brilliant job of exposing the media’s soul-killing influence on our girls today. I believe that all parents of girls should see this film.”
Kelly Boswell, PhD, Licensed Psychologist

“As a Girl Scout Troop Leader, I deal with the impact the media’s messages have on our girl. Cover Girl Culture is an eye-opening documentary I believe is important for girls in my troop to see.  We watched CGC in three parts with a discussion session after each segment.  I was amazed by the insights the 7th grade girls came away with regarding the mixed messages, hypocrisy and lack of responsibility the teen magazines and fashion industry churn out. They were so passionate about how important this message is that they chose this topic for their Journey Take Action Project.

These girls will never look at a fashion magazine or fashion ads the same way thanks to Cover Girl Culture. Because Girl Scouting is about building girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place, our workshop built around Cover Girl Culture was the perfect place to set an example.

I feel this is a video not only for girls, teenagers, and young women, but one that every parent should watch. Parents and adult women need to understand and realize how their behaviors and habits impact their own self-esteem, their daughter’s and other young girls who are watching!” – ELISSA M. JACKSON, Girl Scout Troop Leader, Cadette Troop 2943

Nicole makes the Mayor’s Honor List in 2010

Below is a letter of congratulations from the MP of Lambton County for my award from the Mayor.

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