Taking On The Unregulated Modeling Industry


Ondria Hardin

The former model and founder of the Premier agency, Carole White, met with Jo Swinson, a member of the British Parliament, to discuss just what to do about the highly unregulated modeling industry.  At this point, the fact that it’s populated by underage girls who are largely unsupervised and expected to maintain levels of thinness well beyond the norm is a well-documented problem.  But where to begin righting it?

If MP Jo Swinson had her way, 14-year-olds like Ondria Hardin wouldn’t necessarily be banned from the runways, but they’d certainly have a parent along for the show.

Well, the two women may have not reached any hard and fast conclusions, but the two most important notes to come out of their conversation were the importance of chaperoning and the fact that the different parts of the fashion industry need to work together.  Swinson, in particular, sees the problem with a gimlet eye.  She pointed out that each cog in the wheel — designers, magazines, agencies — claims to be merely accommodating the ridiculous standards of youth and weight requested by the other factions.

But while it’s going to be a Herculean feat to get those different groups to change their views, what else can be fixed first?  That’s where chaperoning comes in.  Though it ought to be obvious at this point, Swinson argues that models younger than 16 need to be given the same protection as child actors (a far more carefully watched, regulated bunch).  Chaperoning would be a big part of that.  It’s not a groundbreaking assertion, but one that’s rarely addressed by the fashion industry — Swinson deserves recognition for saying it out loud.


7 Responses to “Taking On The Unregulated Modeling Industry”

  1. mfergie889

    I am a model in Los Angeles, and there are so many predators working in the industry. Many of the young girls at castings come here from abroad and stay in model apartments where drugs, partying and eating disorders are rampant. One girl I worked with said her 18 year old roommate was currently on a “cotton ball diet”, in which she soaked cotton balls in water and ate them. I moved to LA when I was 18 and have been approached by MANY straight photographers and others working on photo shoots in a sexual way. There are photographers in the area who are notorious for trying to get girls naked for test shoots (a test is a shoot for the photographers benefit as well as the models, as you get free photos for your book). Agents even SEND girls to these predators, cautioning you before you go of their reputation. Its totally unacceptable, but no one seems to care. I do hope something is done about it soon, because it truly is a problem that no one talks about.

    Love your blog BTW!

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