By Kirsten Humphries
Picture this: It’s Fashion Month, Kendall Jenner is in one of the four Fashion Capitals (my best bet is Paris) and Vogue Magazine are filming a cameo of “Life in the day of a Super Model”.
Enter the opening scene: Jenner sits in her hotel room eating room-service pancakes. In between mouthfuls of sweet, maple syrup glazed pancakes, Jenner explains that fashion month is like the Olympics – yes you heard right, she said Olympics. The video then skips to Jenner in the back seat of a private car, driving her to one of the various runway locations she’s walking in. Jenner, who is vicariously shaving her legs, looks down the lens of the camera and claims ‘there is no time to do anything during Fashion Month’ whilst face-timing fellow supermodel friend, Cara Delevingne, who knows all too well about this routine.
By now I’m sure we’re all fully aware that the modelling industry is far from easy. Expectations, after requirements, after needs – whatever the industry wants, models must oblige. While some people view Vouge’s video to highlight a positive view of what the modelling industry involves (insert private hotel rooms and a to-die-for designer wardrobe) what Jenner has really informed us of here (if only in a few sentences) is the fact the industry is indeed hard-work.
Being a successful model is tremendously demanding, a price that is too much to pay for fellow supermodel friend of Jenner’s, Cara Delevingne. Mental health issues are more-often-than-not the outcome of constant judgement, an extreme work schedule and the requirement to maintain a certain image.
At 23 years of age, at the height of her career, Delevingine decided to quit the Fashion Industry for good, explaining that it had taken a serious toll on her mental and physical health.
“I was, like, fight and flight for months. Just constantly on edge,” Cara says about her life as a model to The Times, saying it affected her so much that she developed a psoriasis outbreak. “It is a mental thing as well because if you hate yourself and your body and the way you look, it just gets worse and worse.”
“Modeling just made me feel a bit hollow after a while,” she adds. “It didn’t make me grow at all as a human being. And I kind of forgot how young I was. I felt so old.”
What’s worse is that we live in a society that is so concerned about image, that someone’s personality, traits and talents are often pushed to the side. This makes it’s easy for a model to forget about what it is that drives them and motivates them. Their passions should be considered too. No one should be perceived as just a ‘pretty face’.
“I ended up feeling a bit empty,” she later revealed. “Fashion is about what’s on the outside, and that’s it. There’s no searching, it’s just creating pretty things.”
Cara, I hear you loud and clear.
She isn’t the only one that thinks as such either. Native Australian Model, Abbey Lee, also left the stigmas of the industry to pursue a career in acting. Likewise, a well-known British model, Agyness Deyn, has made like both Delevingine and Lee leaving the industry due to it not being enjoyable anymore. Lastly, to a more world-wide issue, Ajak Deng, the Melbourne born model who is favorited on the Lavin and Louis Vuitton runways, quit due to racism in the industry.
Whether you want to be a supermodel al la Kendall or your passion lies elsewhere, following in the footsteps of Cara, don’t be afraid to voice your concerns. A saying that we may have heard before from our mothers, or perhaps you’ve figured it out yourself: if something isn’t right for you, change it- like Cara and so many others before and after her. Just remember there is always more to learn and ways in which to grow.
Expand your mind, expand your world.