Being a model and having strong mental health don’t entirely seem to go together, or at least that’s the perception. The same goes for physical health too. Now, when it comes to the modeling industry, it’s always changing. Not every modeling job is the same; some agencies are very lenient about physical appearance, while others are too strict. Some have little expectations, while there are others that have massive expectations.

At the end of the day, the modeling industry is still known for being rough. Oftentimes, it’s heard on the news that agencies and companies are putting a lot of pressure on their models to lose a large amount of weight in a few days or to wear shoes that are unsafe to walk in or to keep silent when something horrible happens. Overall, being a model can be tough; you could even say it’s one of the hardest jobs in the world because everyone is looking at you, and you’re expected to live to an unrealistic standard.

But with that said, while it might feel impossible or even sound impossible, you can maintain positive mental health. While, of course, it all depends on your line of work, for the most part, you can have good mental health. You deserve it; you absolutely need it. So, here’s how to maintain positive mental health while working in the modeling industry.

Why is Mental Health So Important for Models?

Models are often perceived as living a life of luxury and excitement, but the reality is much more complex. Working in the fashion industry can take a significant toll on mental health. The grueling work, long days, and constant attention from the public can be very stressful for models. This can lead to a variety of mental health issues, including eating disorders, anxiety and depression.  There’s this idea that with the life of a model, it’s the whole “beauty is pain” mantra, but no, it should never be, ever.

No matter what your job is or what industry you’re in, yes, even those in the spotlight, you’re more than entitled to having good mental health. You’re more than deserving of it too. While yes, sometimes poor mental health stems from the fact that it’s literally just a chemical imbalance in the brain. But when it comes to modeling, there are so many expectations, and these agencies, photographers, and companies will even state (or give) the model what they’ll need to lose weight.

It can get to the point where the model won’t feel enough, and they’ll dive into drug abuse and alcoholism, and it might get to the point where they may need to go to rehab for alcohol. There’s always this ideal. It’s nothing but glitz and glam, attention, praise, and love, but that’s usually what’s shown, what’s advertised. But the modeling industry can sometimes be cruel. Maybe not always, but sometimes.

Best Ways to Maintain Good Mental Health as a Model

While any job is going to have its faults and can make it feel next to impossible to get through, at the end of the day, you’ll need to push yourself, but it all starts with your mental health. It’s your mental health that’s going to get you to where you need to be. It’s going to be the thing that helps out in relaxing you. It’s going to help remind you of your worth. So, here are some of the best ways that a model can maintain good and strong mental health.

You Need to Practice Self-Care

Models must prioritize their mental health and make sure they are looking after themselves. The industry can be a cut-throat and cruel environment, so it is important that models know how to look after themselves. They should be aware of different ways they can do this and always seek advice from a professional if they begin to feel the effects of stress. It is also important for models to practice self-care because it can help to build resilience and boost positive moods.

This can be done by taking regular breaks, exercising, getting enough sleep, and using creative outlets. This can help them to stay resilient in the face of adversity. Can it be hard? Yeah, sometimes, but you need to remember that self-care is meant to improve your health. Drinking alcohol isn’t self-care, escapism isn’t self-care, and bad habits, are not self-care.

Stay Active

While staying toned and chic is going to be important for your career, you don’t want to overdo it. It’s important to exercise, not to make your body look good, but to make it feel good. While yes, all models are expected to stay a certain weight and body type, even plus size models. But think of it this way; you’re exercising to keep healthy. You’re exercising to keep your mind busy, and you’re exercising to release those endorphins.

Learn to Say No

Although modeling may seem like a glamorous and exciting career, it can often be quite a cut-throat industry that can really take its toll on models’ mental health. Negativity, public scrutiny, and the pressure to stay in shape can lead to unhealthy habits. As such, it is important for models to know how to say no and to protect their self-worth. If they are uncomfortable posing nude, for example, or if they feel they are being ganged up on by photographers, it is okay to speak up and say no.

Can it be hard to stand your ground? It can feel that way sometimes, yes. After all, you’re left hearing, “You’ll never work in this industry again.” But you need to remember that it’s a power move, and you need to stand your ground. If you don’t stand your ground, you’re at risk of being walked on.

Don’t Overwork Yourself

Modeling is more than just posing. You can actually be overworked in this industry. It’s vital that you give yourself a chance to take some time off. Practices like meditation, mindfulness, and spending time in nature are directly correlated to lower stress levels, increased happiness, and greater mental health. Besides, this might lead to better performance if you’re giving yourself a chance to just take a much-needed break anyways.

Try to Keep Safe

This goes off of learning how to say no. But you need to keep yourself safe through all of this. Sadly, there is a dark side to the modeling industry where models are often taken advantage of by photographers and other industry individuals. If you’re a freelance model, then make sure to research companies and photographers in advance. Ideally, try to have a chaperone too. If you’re working for an agency, then it’s essentially the same thing. You need to keep safe, as SA is fairly high for models.

You don’t want to be taken advantage of; always make sure to stand your ground, always.  You can have a modeling career without being taken advantage of. Unfortunately, the industry is filled with people who are looking to take advantage of models, and those are the ones to stay far away from. They scare you and manipulate you to do what they want.

Stay Far Away from Substances

This goes for both drugs and alcohol. Does the modeling industry have a reputation for partying? To a degree, yes. You’ll even find photos on IG of models posing at nightclubs and bars. Sure, it’s glamorous, but alcohol, specifically a lot of alcohol, can impact your mental health for the worst. The same goes for substances, and that even goes for tobacco too.