Models speaks out against the worrying trend of prostitution in the fashion industry
Whilst we are all aware that the fashion industry has a decidedly dark underbelly, very few people on the outside have a true grasp on its inner workings. For years, the industry was plagued with criticism over its choice of models. Certainly, throughout the 90s and 2000s, the vast majority of models booked by the leading fashion houses fell under the umbrella of waif-thin and "heroin chic".
This naturally coincided with a greater incidence of eating disorders in impressionable young women, who were so used to seeing unhealthily thin models in magazines, films and television, that they were led to believe that it was the only "desirable" body type.
Whilst, things have significantly improved in that regard, it's apparent that the fashion industry still has a way to go before it's considered a largely safe space for women to work in. Certainly, London-based model Jazz Egger recently made the shocking claim that prostitution remains rife within the modelling industry.
The 20-year-old model stated that "big agencies" and "established models" are often embroiled in shady dealings, with some young models accepting up to two million dollars to spend time with high-flying male clients.
Egger alleged that she has personally been propositioned by agents who claim that "it's the most normal thing in the industry". She says that she was approached last summer after getting in contact with a top-agent at an exclusive club in London. He proceeded to offer her an "image modelling job" which entailed a yacht trip on a Greek island in the company of three male millionaires.
Although the Austrian-born model quickly declined, she was approached a second time, by another agent who invited her to a "private meet" with a supposed "famous actor" where she would be paid $2,000 for up to two hours of "natural intimacy".
After indignantly replying "excuse me but I'm a model not an escort!", the agent attempted to normalise the situation by claiming that "everyone does it" and that this is "how the fashion industry works".
In a slew of WhatsApp messages, he told Egger that "most models get to where they [are] through something like this".
"[They] realise the value of money and how much of a difference it can make. And everyone enjoys having sex especially with good-looking guys. What is the shame? Society creates double standards that make women feel guilty," he continued, adding that "all of these modelling agencies are run by hedge fund managers wanting to meet girls."
The man, who is known only as George, even told Jazz that one of the most prestigious international modelling agencies was a "partner client" with the business that had previously approached her to be an escort. Jazz was horrified by this exchange and is now seeking to use her platform to "do whatever it takes" to change the fashion industry. Speaking to the Mail Online, she said:
"I would never sell my body in such a matter. I couldn’t combine it with my morals really.
"I still respect those who do accept such offers. What made his offer highly questionable to me is that he asked me to keep quiet about it. This can’t be okay.
"[George] reacted by spamming me with messages, in an attempt to convince me to accept his offer. It seemed like he was very experienced in that kind of conversation. He sent me screenshots of models who he allegedly worked with."
Jazz also said that when she spoke out about what had happened to her, many of her colleagues messaged her about similar experiences that they had had, "it was sad to see that it's such a common and usual thing," she commented.
Well, Jazz Egger certainly deserves all the praise for being brave enough to raise awareness about this controversial subject. As we know, starting a dialogue about such issues is the first step to creating real change.