Fashioning a Response:
Results from the Model Alliance COVID-19 Survey and a Call to Action
The coronavirus pandemic has attacked the health of hundreds of thousands of people in the US and generated acute economic stress for millions more. Among the workers experiencing serious hardship are fashion models.
Between March 20 and April 1, 2020, the Model Alliance conducted a survey to better understand the needs and concerns of fashion models during the COVID-19 crisis. A total of 212 working models responded to the survey, which was distributed over social media channels. Researchers at the Worker Institute at Cornell provided input in developing the survey and analyzed the results, which included the following:
- One in five respondents (20%) said they did not currently have enough money to cover basic needs, and just over half (51%) said they could not cover essential needs in the event they were unable to work during the next three months.
- Respondents of color—and black respondents in particular—were substantially more likely to say that they would not cover basic needs both at the time of the survey and following three additional months without income.
- Fewer than one-third of respondents (30%) said they had received guidance, assistance, or resources from their agency in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
- More than half of respondents (55%) said they were owed money by clients. Around half (49%) were owed money by their agencies. A little over a third (36%) were owed money by both. Nearly one-third (30%) said they had outstanding payments for which they had waited more than ninety days.
To read more about results and the Model Alliance’s recommendations to government officials, agencies, and advocates, please check out the full report: Fashioning a Response: Results from the Model Alliance COVID-19 Survey and a Call to Action.
Voices of Models
The Model Alliance and The Worker Institute at Cornell also collaborated to interview several models on their experiences in the industry and navigating the COVID-19 crisis. Check out the video links below, and please feel free to share comments on what resonates.
To the Leadership of Modeling Agencies in New York City:
The Model Alliance is concerned about the lack of information, resources, and support models have received from modeling agencies during the COVID-19 crisis. At the epicenter of the virus, many models in New York City are unable to cover basic needs, fear contracting the virus without health insurance, and find it difficult to shelter-in-place far away from their families.
The Model Alliance recently partnered with the Worker Institute at Cornell to conduct a study on how COVID-19 is impacting models. More than 200 models represented by many of the top agencies responded. Fewer than one-third of respondents (30%) said that they had received guidance, assistance, or resources from their agency in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Around half (49%) of respondents said they were owed money by their agencies, and nearly half (45%) said they were extremely or very concerned that they would be proposed for fewer jobs if they refused work or requested extra protections due to the coronavirus. To see the full report, please follow this link: Fashioning a Response: Results from the Model Alliance COVID-19 Survey and a Call to Action.
Without models, there is no modeling industry. We are calling on modeling agencies to provide models with guidance, assistance, and resources in response to this unprecedented crisis. As part of this, it is critical that agencies support models in obtaining income support while they are unemployed. A number of agencies have been providing models with incorrect and misleading information. For more information on how models can apply for unemployment insurance, please refer to this guide developed by the Model Alliance: What Models Need to Know About Unemployment Insurance.
Our community is stronger, safer and healthier when we come together in moments of crisis. We know that many modeling agencies want to do the right thing. To join models in solidarity during this crisis, we ask agencies to take the following key steps:
- Suspend agency fees for the duration of the crisis
- Ensure models are paid what they are owed for outstanding bookings and invoices
- Provide timely and accurate information and resources on safety and health protections, and accessing benefits to all models they represent
We request your reply by May 1st to inform us of your efforts to address these concerns.
The Model Alliance Leadership Council
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