Despite the overall perception that modeling is a glamorous industry, it's no secret that models are often subject to grueling work hours, questionable payment practices (does free clothes count?), and sketchy clients. Up until now, however, there was no official or unofficial group designated to represent their interests.
Enter: The Model Alliance, a program founded by model and filmmaker Sara Ziff (creator of the documentary, "Picture Me") in partnership with fellow models like Coco Rocha and Jenna Sauers (who writes for Jezebel, among other places). The group has enlisted the help of such heavyweights as the CFDA and the Fordham Fashion Law School in order to bolster its capacity to help aid young models coping with problems as diverse as weight issues and photographers who snap unauthorized nude photos of them backstage (yes, that happens). In an online statement, Ziff points out:
While I have been very fortunate in my modeling career, I have also seen firsthand how the industry often disregards child labor law, lacks financial transparency, encourages eating disorders, and blindly tolerates sexual abuse in the workplace. The lucrative careers of high-profile supermodels misrepresent the reality for most working models, who are young, mostly female, and uniquely vulnerable.
The non-profit's stated goals include supplying models with access to affordable health care, enforcing child labor laws, and promoting financial transparency -- all decidedly worthy goals. Indeed, modeling as an industry has come under the microscope more and more, between sexual harassment scandals and, recently, the CFDA's excellent Health Initiative. Here's to models getting the working conditions they deserve.