Victoria's Secret Model reveals she was once forced to pose nude for a magazine
A Victoria Secret model has claimed she was once forced to pose naked for a "high-profile" magazine shoot.
Bridget Malcolm, who has walked in shows including Ralph Lauren and Stella McCartney, recently wrote a blog post on her website that candidly described an incident in which she felt "completely coerced and unsafe" by the photographer in question.
The 26-year-old revealed that she had been "assured" that there was no nudity involved in the photo shoot; however, after they began, she was informed that she had to strip off completely for "editing purposes".
Describing the incident, she wrote that she was "intensely uncomfortable, and initially showed hesitation" but was "pushed and pushed" to the point where she was "completely naked on a busy set".
"As there were a lot of mirrors in the room, he asked for everyone to leave the set," she wrote. "Not because I was naked and uncomfortable with a dozen strangers gawking at me, but so that he could get a clear shot. Later that evening we were shooting outside. The only thing I was wearing was a fur coat, and I was aware that there were people watching us from the street."
She continued: "He asked me to take the coat off, and I refused. He asked again, and I refused. He asked again, and this time I took it off, feeling completely coerced and unsafe. The stylist was a woman, and she attempted to shield me from the street.
"The shoot ended with me in tears, needing to take a minute to get my composure back. The photographer then came over and apologized, claiming that he didn’t realize we had an audience. I truly would love to believe him."
The Australian star went on to explain the effect that incident had on her, stating she felt "guilty about betraying the line that I thought I had drawn in the sand" and linked her feelings back to being a young girl. She wrote that young girls are taught "what you are feeling is not as important as your male counterparts, that their urges and experiences are much more intense and 'out of control' than yours".
"I feel that my family growing up did a good job of trying to keep things balanced between my brother and I," she continued. "But it is hard to mitigate the message that most of us do not realize is being forced down our throats the second we leave the womb. It is only recently that I have begun to feel my place on the earth, and to vocally embrace it."
After revealing she'd been through "a lot of reading, therapy and painful work" to reach a good place, she claimed she was at her "smallest" while doing the naked shoot and "lacked the certainty in my rights that I now have".
Discussing her "confidence in my right to say no," Bridget said that while it "saddens" her that she didn't walk off-set the second the photographer refused to take her seriously, she was "glad I had such a traumatic experience" because "it opened my eyes to the way the world works, forcing me to begin the work of reclaiming the right to my life".
The model - who revealed that no nudity was published in the magazine in the end - now describes herself as "a woman defined by women" and wrote that she knew that no blame lay with her for the photo shoot.
"It lies first with the photographer, but larger with the culture that allows for men like that photographer to function and thrive," she put, adding that she relied on the close, loving friendships she had with her female friends to get her through in life.
She finished the piece writing: "We are at an interesting time where we are able to take back our power, and align ourselves with the lives we should have always had the right to live. And this process begins always with conversation."
You can read the full post here.