Models’ Bill of Rights

To support our Model Alliance organizing campaign, models at our first bi-annual meeting produced this draft of a Models’ Bill of Rights, to empower models to demand fair treatment from agencies and clients.

 

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What are your thoughts on the drafted “Bill of Rights”? What would you add or change?

 

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39 Responses to Bill of Rights

  1. Nathan Roberts says:

    Am i entitled to view all the agreements between my agent in Holland and the clients? My agent is refusing to make this information transparent and i would like to check that the rates quoted to me are acccurate.

    Also they are late to pay and are constantly putting me off. What can i do about this?

    Any help much appreciated

  2. Kat L. says:

    I don’t think anyone under the age of 18 should be expected or asked to pose semi-nude/nude.

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  4. O says:

    There are a few important and basic rights addressed in this bill of rights, but it is troubling.

    What is ironic is that this “bill of rights” may in reality promote more of the things it is trying to stop.

    Say current models in the US do “unionize” and do demand these rights. What stops the employers from hiring models in Eastern Europe, Asia, or Africa? Models who are just as beautiful and willing to perform the same job but for much less pay and without this union.

    What stops your employers from moving abroad, to areas where there are no such demands? As acknowledged in the film “Picture Me”, there is a low barrier to entry to this profession. Models are therefore easily replaceable.

    The end result makes unionized models losing out on jobs they would have originally booked.

  5. maybe for legal reasons, the models will have to submit their real name with the story, complaint, review etc to Model Alliance, but Model Alliance should not publish that information or make it public, and just keep it stored away safe somewhere in case of Legal Issues.. so nobody would get to see who submitted the story or filed the complaint, except for the Site owners, who in turn give their promise to help protect the Models identities & privacy.. This would help to give the stories credibility and stop others from saying they are baseless made up fiction from anonymous enemies of the agency or artist or organization

  6. Equally important to bringing to light wrong doings for all to see, with agency/ artist/ organizer specifics, is praise, commendation, and publication of agencies, artists, and organizers who support models, or have given them a great experience, or gone out of their way to protect their privacy, treat them warmly, care for them, or who make a special effort to make them feel special, human, and appreciated, and who the model would like to recommend or give accolades to.

    and the industry needs to be taught that they must hire more models, rather than trying to turn 5 models into a show b having them jump through hoops and do flips back stage to try and get ready to go again..

    hey, hire another model, there, el cheapo.. or make a longer runway and send less models out, take your pick, but dont try to make a show where every girl gets groped and molested back stage naked for everyone to see..

    but i think we can safely say the amount of models is carefully chosen exactly so all the people involved get to grope, molest, and see naked models back stage.. treating them like object mannequins makes the people in back feel not only more privileged, but also more ‘artsy’

    a clause for an approximate changing time should be made.. such as a guaranteed 3 minutes or 5 minutes, or whatever.

  7. i also agree models should have complete anonymity for all the stories you publish and for every complaint they file or violation they bring to your attention.

    let the agency/organizer/individual guess which of their models complained..

    giving out there information will not help the cause, but only hurt it.

    victory and strength will come from detailing the violations and bringing to light all the offenses.. the individual, artist, agency, or organizers will be able to choose how they wish to be known, and their enemies will be innumerable and increase against them, and they will always wonder if the person looking at them is looking at them because of what they read about them on MA

  8. i suggest that model alliance should focus on Photographers, and other industry professionals as well, including the Agencies, and the Organizers themselves.

    Model Alliance could extend its seal of approval to Photographers, Designers, Organizations, and anyone else who wishes to join in and show their support for Models and Model Welfare, Well-Being, and Rights.

    I think MA should offer merchandise, Logos, Bags, Patches, Stickers, etc to kind of let people know this individual cares about you

    MA should work with Organizers on creating shows which are MA-Approved or with a MA Partnership, or which Promote or Support MA, and such Organizers and Events would limit participation to only those designers which used agents which follow MA guidelines

    You should also have a Blacklist of all Agents, Agencies, Designers, Photographers, or other Individuals who are in Violation of MA policies.

    Post Violations, with the names and credentials of the individual who is in violation of MA policies, whether they know MA or not, as well as details of all known violations, etc.. As well as all Organizers, and shows Put on without following the MA Guidelines

    A Modeling Guild is not a Union where u need to advertise everyones name, its a power entity which drives the industry and dictates conditions and others either follow or are ostracized, banned, prohibited, or outcast

    I think MA should draw up its own standard contracts as well.. a contract for runway shows a contract for each individual kind of shoot, and a contract for each country/ region

    I would add to your Bill of Rights that a Photographer cannot take any photos of the model other than what was detailed and then only in the location, and composition to be used for production, and no paparazzi crap..

    and I would State sexual harassment rules a little more clearly, and that no model should be groped or handled without express verbal consent by the model for each and every touch

    and I would work with a team of lawyers to file law suits against any person stylist, photographer, or anyone else making unwanted sexual advances, or initiating unwanted contact with a model, the same as would happen in any office, with any powerful career business woman.

    and no, calling yourself gay or dressing like a girl, or claiming to be a true artist doesnt excuse any of it

    and private changing areas should be expanded to detail exactly that it is an area of complete privacy, and models may enter or exit the area without compromising the privacy of the allotted area

    breeches of the contract should be met with legal force, and publication of the offenders names and nature of the offense

    you should have an E-magazine detailing all of the offenses as well.. imo

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  10. Jennaa says:

    Oh and I forgot to add that MODELS ARE HUMAN BEINGS!!! they must be treated as such!!!

  11. Jennaa says:

    I agree with almost everything that others have commented.
    I’d like to add that agencies should not prejudice models who are unwilling to pose nude or semi nude. if anything they should take them more seriously.

  12. Margie says:

    I like the draft, but as many people have said, I too think that if you are going to put something like this in place that it be done in a lot more depth and not be left “vague” as this will only encourage abuse of the document. I too am a mother of a model and I also feel that the industry gets away with far too much. I would also like to see this document as an Industry Standard worldwide. Be bold and set a precedent worldwide as this is not just something that happens in the US but worldwide.

    Models do almost anything they are asked no matter how uncomfortable they may be feeling as there is a very good chance that if they do refuse the work, their booker becomes disinterested as does the agency and the model is seen as “difficult or even “unprofessional” and clients will almost certainly not use the girl again. Photographers all talk amongst each other and know each other and you are “blacklisted” in a round about fashion too. So the outcome is inevitably that you will not work in any of the bigger paying jobs and you get fed the scraps.

    Why are runway ages limited to NY fashion week? Any model that looks like she has anorexia, or extreme protruding bones or hanging skin, and there are many, should not be allowed to walk the ramp on any show. Period. Firstly it is sickening and unflattering. People watching the show can only focus on how “ill” or skinny the girl is instead of what the actual garment looks like, which is ultimately the models job. Secondly it is sending out the wrong message to the millions of young adolescents that watch these programmes, and lastly it also confirms to the model herself that it is okay to do whatever it is she is doing to herself to look the way she does as she knows she will get booked for the big shows.

    There are so many fashion weeks worldwide that exploit young girls and it is accepted worldwide. Is it because experienced, bigger models are more expensive to hire? That in itself is exploitation. How about age appropriate modelling? How many woman over 21 are a size 30″ at a height of 5’10″. At a guess I would say less than 1%.
    Average woman at that height are a size 34″ or a size 10. When I was a model we had to be no bigger than a size 34″ and not weigh less than 55kgs which is approximately 6-10Kgs underweight for that build to begin with. So to be a 5’10 model and be a size 28 (size 0 US) no matter what your BMI you are unhealthily and grossly underweight. Fact. Teenagers should model teenage garments and 18+ year old models should model adult clothing but be no smaller than a size 8 or size 32″, which in itself is still very small.

    This may seem a bit extreme but it also eliminates girls who only model to make a “quick buck” and girls who model as a career choice. Models are in competition with everyone. People don’t realise how much a career model invests and the sacrifices that are made by her in her career and she is often seen as a nobody or “just a model” by many, including stylists, make-up artists and photographers alike because their contribution to making the model “look good” is more important than the actual model as it is a job almost “anybody” can do! Many of us know that it isn’t. People see it as a “glamorous” and easy occupation but don’t realise what it actually takes to be a model.

    I would also like to see that a model gets paid no more than 30 days from date of Invoice/Statement as is the norm in most business practices. They, like everyone else have living expenses to pay and people they have to pay don’t care whether she is a model or not.

    This draft is a great and much needed start, but many more points need to be addressed and many people have made very positive points in their comments, which you should consider adding, but again, please consider being more definite in its wording and adopt it for world standards. Many models worldwide would want to be part of it. They also need to know their worth.
    Thanks for all your efforts. Keep up the good work.

  13. Amelia says:

    There should (please) be an addition about living situations. Specifically about model apartments, and the agencies lack of attention to them, and how they avoid telling the models that live within them how much they are actually paying to live there, plus the current state of the apartments themselves, i.e. how many models there are, whether there is silverwear, fresh bedding, enough beds, etc. It should not be so acceptable for us to be living in such poor conditions, and not recieve any support if decided to move elsewhere.

  14. Victor says:

    A few notes:

    1. RE private changing areas – The definitions of “private” and “area” risks being interpreted too freely. Does it imply a separate room? If so, even if photographers do not have access to the room itself, will they have access to the area immediately outside the room (e.g. a corridor), or will this area also be off-limits to them? Unsympathetic and relentless photographers could always catch a shot of models changing as the door to their changing room is opened as models walk in and out. A clear definition of what a “private changing area” entails should be set out, especially in relation to backstage catwalks, because otherwise models could end up having to change behind a room divider or a screen partition or even a curtain!

    2. RE models’ right to control their carrer – As with any employment agency – not only modelling agencies – refusing a job offer doesn’t always goes down well with the agency, and may (mistakenly) put in question the model’s dedication or professionalism. This is also true of non-paying jobs or those that pay in “trade”. However, models, especially those that are new to the business, may feel compelled to accept such a job offer on the grounds that it will give them experience and exposure with the people in the business. Although it’s difficult to regulate the influences that push a model to accept a job, it’s important to consider that some decisions are not always the result of independent thought and self-control, but also of coercion. And if a model does decline a job offer, will the agency hold against her/him? And can this even be monitored?

    3. RE clause on nudity – As an extension of the clause on establishment of the terms of a booking before confirmation, if nudity or semi-nudity is part of the requirement for a casting or booking, this should be made known to the model – regardless of his/her age – by her agency prior to confirmation, and not in the middle of a shoot when the model may feel pressured to accept.

    4. Overall, the bill covers very important issues, some of which need no further explanation; but others could do with more detail. Purely in terms of format, subcategories or extra details containing specificities could be included under some bullet points clauses.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I agree with what Another note: said in regards to members anonymity. I too want to post everything without fear of being blacklisted. I also think that there should be a thumbs up or thumbs down option next to each post so we can get a better idea as to what the larger issues are and/or see what is irrelevant to most. Possibly a reply comment option as well so people can comment on each others posts.

    In regards to the bill of rights I feel a good addition would be that it should be a transparency standard for all models to be given a copy of the original check sent to the agency on her behalf before it is broken down. I also feel that another standard should be that models should ALWAYS be given a call-sheet with complete client/agency/production info so that she is able to contact any company she worked with directly for copies of any and all checks sent out to her agency for her if she chooses to.

    An agent that I was with 14 years ago lost her agency due to stealing funds from her clients. From then on I have requested copies of the actual checks received before broken down and this does not always go over so well. We shouldn’t have to ask. It should be the standard.

  16. Casey Evans says:

    I agree with all the comments- especially that no models under the age of 16 should be aloud to participate in runway. The basis for our societies obsession with youth and beauty comes from designers choosing to put their clothes on girls as young as 14. I know no matter what I do to workout or “make-up” I won’t ever look 14 again. This appropriate image of beauty and “thin” can be eliminated by not using prepubescent models.

  17. boris says:

    i would like to know what you think about the internet contract today? I think internet was considerated as a trivial way of communication when i appeared and the model’s remuneration for this kind of advertising was nothing because his power was overlooked…and it’s stayed until now even though all the fashion industries and clients know how powerfull internet is. Today models are paid almost nothing for be present everywhere in the world through a website of one company, and for ever in the archives of the web. It would be helpful to regulate this market for the model.
    what do you think?

  18. Britt says:

    First of all, thank you for this proposal. Models have been treated unfairly, and I dare say abused, in this industry for too long. I applaud The Model Alliance for standing up for change.

    One addition I’d welcome is better cancellation policies. I’m a model based in New York. I’ve had clients “drop” me hours before a booking, or even once I’ve arrived at the booking. Fortunately, this does not happen often, but when it does, I’ve found it inconvenient and even costly. There’s the opportunity cost: I could have accepted other bookings. Rarely do clients compensate models for last minute cancellations, and this must change.

    Models are expected to show up to bookings, and similar expectations ought to be held upon the client. It’s unprofessional for a model to “flake” and inconvenience the client; it’s equally unprofessional for a client to cancel the model at last minute.

    With any business, be it a salon, a doctor’s office, et al, cancellation policies require a twenty four hour notice, at least. Modeling should be no different.

    Unless there is due cause (ie, the model shows up to a booking intoxicated), clients must endure financial consequences of last minute cancellations. For example, if a client cancels a model less than twenty four hours in advance, the client must pay 50% of the booking rate, and the full rate if the model is “released” upon arrival at the booking. If the job is TFP, a cancellation fee of $100 should still apply.

  19. Samantha says:

    Great start. It could definitely be expanded on, too. In regards to the point of models being aware of the requirements/outline of a booking, they should have the right to leave the booking when the time they’re booked for is up (unless otherwise noted in the contract). It’s not okay for a model to be stuck somewhere for an extra 4 hours, without pay nonetheless, if the designer or photographer “just needs extra time.” Well, as many smart business people say, “Time is money”. The girls should either be guaranteed overtime pay or the right to leave the booking when time is up without any negative repercussions.

    Also, the model, upon signing an agency contract, should not only receive an explanation of start-up costs, but also a complete and detailed list of ANY and ALL costs the agency will charge the model. As an independent contractor, models have every right to know what their business is costing them in every aspect. I don’t think it’s right that an agency can charge models for things as small as office supplies because the agency is also trying to run a business, so they should be responsible for at least some of the operation costs!

    Overall, I’m a big fan of this movement. Modeling is not as easy as the world thinks, and when girls are beginning at such an awkward and confusing stage in life, they need protection and guidance.

  20. KG says:

    I agree– absolutely no one under 18 should be asked to pose nude or semi-nude. Is there a difference, really, between photographers who snap un(der)dressed teens in suggestive poses in the name of fashion–and those who are in prison for taking such images for private use? An industry so immensely creative can do much better than reducing itself to exploiting children and calling it art.

    For castings and bookings– models should receive complete details ahead of time including exact location, scope of work and the photographer’s name if possible. Children under a certain age (16?) should be required to have a chaperone present at castings, fittings and shoots; no model under 18 should be discouraged from bringing along a designated personal safety advocate to their assignments. Utilize the international expat mom community to your advantage!

    So glad that Model Alliance is working to create an environment where if a model is uncomfortable or finds herself in an inappropriate situation, she can walk away confidently knowing that she does not have to forfeit her dignity for a career. Keep it up!

  21. Ruth says:

    I think as a want to be model this is a great idea. I would so like to get more information about this.

  22. Jasmine Foster says:

    Also, I know that many plus-size models are asked to gain unhealthy amounts of weight. I think that that pressure needs to be curbed as well.
    If you can’t work as a plus sized model or a regular model, find a different career. There are plenty out there that you don’t have to abuse yourself for.

  23. Pamela Miller says:

    As the mother of a new Model..I have found the agency to be very controling of my daughters career. My daughter was told she had a booking and all of a sudden when I refused to sign a World Wide Contract, she no longer has this booking..we have run into quiet a few issues like this…my daughter was sent on a shoot for 4 hours only to find out the shoot was for the photographers portfolio…this is very disturbing..we cannot even get pictures from the shoot. I read the Models Rights Draft and believe what Models Alliance is doing, will work..we are totally behind this. Our agency has even contacted other photographers and ask that they not work with my daughter because she is not ready…I have a problem with this “behind the scenes” game.

    My daughters shoot on Friday had the stylist bringing models into the Lobby, in which I was setting and they changed clothes. Not good..I was embrassed and one model made a statement to me that she hopes she was not putting me on the spot..the interesting thing about this, was we were on a fourth floor building with the blinds open to the other tall buildings.
    Thank you for what Models Alliance is doing.

    Pamela Miller

  24. Jessica says:

    You’re off to a great start! My suggestion is that the private changing area be extended to fittings. This is not to say that all models have to use these changing areas. I know that it not often practical. It would be nice for models, specifically underage models, to have the option to use a changing area at shows, shoots, castings and fittings.
    I thought of some other things, but I’m not sure how they would be included. An agency should not mandate or require any specific method of body modification, e.i. a model must do a cleansing flush before a show. It is fine for an agent to recommend these things, but requiring them is criminal. I think it would be beneficial for agents to have literature on nutrition, visiting nutritionists, nutrition seminars, and/or access to an interventionist for eating disorders. I have also thought about some sort of formalized channels for reporting cases of suspected eating disorders and ways of investigating these claims.

  25. Athene says:

    Many doctors actually acknowledge that the BMI system isn’t necessarily the best way to determine health. I have a BMI of under 15 – but my doctor has confirmed with me that I am by no means unhealthy, even though I would be considered deathly underweight by anyone going solely by BMI. When you work with a team of doctors who all confirm that you are nutritionally balanced and healthy it is very, very hard to see people get up on your for being naturally slim. My father is 6’6″ and his sisters are 5’10″-6′+. I happened to inherit that, and I wouldn’t want to be barred from working simply because of my genes.

    That said, I do think it is very important to have some sort of recognition of what “too skinny” is. I just don’t think BMI is the way to do it – it has too many limitations. Admittedly, however, it is probably the easiest method, and I can’t think of another time-efficient way to confirm that models aren’t unhealthy. It’s simply not realistic to call up all their doctors (which of course ties into another point – the Model Alliance’s commitment to help models receive support for both physical and emotional health).

    Another note:
    I think the Model Alliance should allow anonymity to all its model members who so request it. The Organization for Transformative Works (http://transformativeworks.org/) is a nice example of a society which allows members to join but does not publicly list members or release information without prior consent. I blog anonymously in order to protect my professional identity – I feel that the opinions I share online are important, but I am very rightly scared that sharing them could have a negative impact on my career. As many previous commenters have noted, models who do choose to speak out are often blacklisted by designers/photographers/etc. I think that protection of free speech rights is an extremely important part of any fair labour organization – as in, protecting a worker’s right to say what they will and not be dramatically penalized for his or her opinions. Anonymity gives us a sort of cloak to hide behind when we feel the need to speak up. It’s very empowering to be given the means to speak one’s mind without feeling that it will end a career.

    Of course, it should still be required to validate stories and such – you don’t want to spread false information. But if a model wants to publish a personal narrative on this site, then he or she should absolutely have to right to have it attributed to a pseudonym, or completely anonymously.

  26. Hunter Sterling says:

    Recommend every contract be reviewed by Model’s Business Atty. Atty only negotiate, proactively w/ Agency.
    Use standard business guidelines of specific payment terms, 30 days w/in finish of assignment, scope of work, addendums and changes in writing, approved w/ signature, no verbals, for all contracts.

    Allow each contract written case specific w/ standard guidelines. This is how all independent Subcontracts work. Why should Fashion Models, as Brand Reps, be different?

    Cheers, Hunter Sterling @ Green Investigator

  27. Glynis says:

    Why only girls under 17 should have the right to decline posing nude or semi-nude? All models should have a right to decline a nude or semi-nude photo shoot.

  28. sarah says:

    I think that this beyond anything is a reasonable start….i have worked as a model for 15 years, I’m now 30. There are many other things that need to be addressed, but we have to start somewhere! Where do I sign up?!

  29. cat says:

    I’d like to see some changes on how models are marketed. All of us models know that the measurements on the cards and the websites are not accurate reflections of many models including most of the top models.

    I believe the “smoke and mirrors” of the sizing contributes to the image dysmorphia of many new models as well as their audience. It also sets a standard becoming more and more strict that didn’t exist about 10 years ago. Really? 32-23-33 at 5’10.5″? Really? Nowadays that seems like the ideal but no one actually lives up to it.

  30. Anne says:

    I love your concept-… but I have talked to several models and they are plain scared of not getting any jobs if they join a model union. “clients will only hire Eastern Europeans (EEs)” who are underage and never complain. Who will make sure that these rules cover all models? What will happen to all the 14 and 15 year old EEs if child protection laws go into effect?

  31. AF says:

    Agents should be held as fiduciaries – often they treat payment from clients as “their” money and use it to pay other bills without sending it on to the one performing the labor (the model). The title “agent” implied a fiduciary responsibility but most of agents have little or no understanding of this.

    I’ve seen too many agencies fold while still owing their models massive amounts of money which have already been received, running their business like a ponzi scheme and using funds received on behalf of one model to pay their liability to another.

  32. Theresa says:

    As the mother of a model who is currently working overseas, I would like to say that the pressure to have a certain look is unyielding. She is beyond slender, eats very healthy, exercises and still the comments are we can’t book you until you tone your inner thigh. This industry and make no mistake it is an industry does not tolerate anything short of perfect. Thin upper thighs which for some people goes against their body type and the exact measurements are the only way you will book jobs. Kudos for writing this charter of rights but models will still be expected to work unreasonable hours, have photoshoots in the back of sweatshops and be ripped off by their agencies. The business is run by people who will never see your charter people who will listen to a models
    demands and then hire a girl who won’t complain.

  33. Sarah says:

    No one under eighteen should be asked to pose nude or semi-nude.

    Models under the legal drinking age should not be served alcohol by their agencies or employers.

  34. Madeleine says:

    The BMI issue is a touchy subject… While it is of course ideal to have a healthy BMI, it’s hard to use that to distinguish between sickly skinny and genetics. I have a “underweight” BMI for my height but that does not mean it’s because I’m a model and feeling pressured to maintain my measurements. Just something to consider..

  35. Vivi says:

    There should be someone checking models BMI before being confirmed for the runways, and, after all campaigns, showrooms and photoshoots…I saw somewhere in the news that in Brazil and Spain they started doing that too. If model’s BMI is under healthy weight guidelines according to her height, she should not work. So many girls I know who wouldn’t pass the BMI test. PS: a-lot-of successful ones…!

    The comments about food, having breaks, bathrooms, and a private place to change are also basically needs for all models…!

  36. Kay says:

    I would also like to add the number of shoots I’ve been on where there is no food/water or bathroom facilities. When you are stuck somewhere for 12 hours, this is unreasonable. Actor’s unions have provisions for breaks/food/access to bathroom facilities; why shouldn’t we?

  37. Sabrina says:

    No model should be too thin, like no model should have eating disorders or look unhealthy and walk the runway.

    I think you’re going to have big success with that alliance! If I was a model I’d turn to you…

  38. cat says:

    No one under 18 should be asked to pose nude or semi-nude.

    I’d also like to see if there is a way to eliminate or diminish the prevalence of eating disorders and unhealthy/unbalanced eating…

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