The Model Alliance Reveals Workplace Sexual Harassment Is Still A Reality In The Modeling World, But It's Not All Bad News

There’s a sad reality behind the glamorous life of a supermodel. For years, models have been victim to long hours, lack of privacy, and — arguably worst of all — sexual harassment. The unfortunate truth came to light when fashion photographer Terry Richardson faced lawsuits for allegedly sexually assaulting models. And the fight’s not over. It’s still not uncommon for models to be put in these situations — but The Model Alliance is determined to change that.

The Model Alliance was created by former Chanel and Banana Republic model Sara Ziff who wanted a community where all models could feel safe and report any forms of harassment. Their goals? Create a code of conduct for models and agencies, increase labor standard for underage models and make sure all models receive affordable health care. Sounds pretty reasonable to me.

What’s worse? The industry is full of models who are under 18, which means they can’t sue for sexual harassment or receive health care, and they have no union protection. It’s a scary reality for girls in a big city by themselves with little protection from the law. It’s not just girls, though. Models of all ages have confessed that they’ve been victims of sexual harassment. A new infographic released statistics of exactly what’s going on behind the curtain. The results? Horrifying.

Sure — most of us aren’t Karlie Kloss or Cara Delevingne, but we SHOULD be concerned about this. It’s a problem when any woman, no matter how lucky or well-off she seems, is uncomfortable at work. We should all have the ability to not only feel safe at work, but have our reports of sexual harassment be taken seriously. Sexual harassment in any work environment is a step back for all of us.

Luckily, New York just passed a law child labor law, which includes curfews on school nights and limits how long girls can be on set. In addition, The Model Alliance is pushing for a Bill of Rights, which would require photographers to tell inform models of nude shoots before they get on set and have a private changing area. They also urge journalists to pay more attention to models instead of glorifying photographers.

The statistics are sad. They’re heartbreaking. But — with the help of our favorite Fashion Week models — they can decrease to zero.

Images: Getty, Model Alliance