When people hear that our agency offers part-time modelling jobs to students and young people, many share the same reaction. They assume that the work our models undertake is ‘easy’ and simply a quick way to make money. But this is not the case. There are still many misconceptions that people have about the modelling industry.

Modelling takes a lot of hard work and some may fall at the first hurdle. Becoming part of an agency and getting started in the business can be very rigorous and competitive. Then, there is the need to gain experience and slowly build up a portfolio in order to attract clients and bookings. Often models will start out by attending castings without getting paid, or taking on low-paid jobs. Success in the modelling industry doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time to start accepting bigger jobs and better opportunities. Once models have been in the business for some time and built up their knowledge of the industry, they can be required to work long days with high physical demands. Therefore the belief that modelling work is ‘easy’ is far from true.

As well as this, there is a lot of rejection in the modelling industry; constantly being judged based on appearances can be very damaging for self-esteem. This is why, as an agency, we place such a huge emphasis on the importance of models being more than just pretty faces. It’s not just about looking good, it’s about dedication, a strong work ethic, and a little bit of patience. Modelling can be a stressful and demanding line of work. Consequently, the industry has particularly bad name for mental health issues, eating disorders and drug and alcohol-related issues.

Young British models such as Cara Delevigne and Adwoa Aboah have spoken out about their experiences with mental health. It has been reported that around 40% of fashion models suffer from an eating disorder or depression. In 2016 Adwoa founded Gurls Talk, an online community for young women to discuss issues like mental health, feminism and social media. Since then, she has run free events to discuss these topics and ran sessions in schools. Movements like Gurls Talk highlight the importance of talking openly and honestly in order to address the problems.

Although modelling can bring lots of fun and excitement, along with enabling our models to earn money to support their studies, it is not as ‘easy’ and straightforward as you might think. By being part of the BFMA we are always committed to putting our models’ well-being first. Despite the challenges, we support our models, helping them to find work and gain confidence in their abilities to make their experience the best it can possibly be. With all the glamour that surrounds the modelling and fashion world, it’s easy to forget the struggles that can be faced by all those involved in the business.

Sophie xx