The price models pay


Ethan Aupapa: “My thighs need to become the size of my arms.”

The modelling industry is usually associated with glamour and fame; what is not usually shown or discussed however, is the underbelly beneath all of this.

There are a number of alarming issues that young models are silently face, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, body dysmorphia and drug abuse.

The highly competitive and critical nature of the modelling industry’s unrealistic standards, causes models to be far more vulnerable to depression and anxiety. The environment is typically fast paced and highly stressful. Models are constantly scrutinised and being told that they are not good enough or they need to change in order to be a certain body size or look.

Eating disorders are characterised as a range of psychological disorders evidenced by abnormal or disturbed eating habits. This is common within the fashion industry, as models strive to get to that size ’zero.’

Ethan Aupapa – a Wellington-based model signed to Kirsty Bunny Management, told me:

“In the weeks leading up to a big show, I will eat little to nothing. My thighs essentially need to become nearly the size of my arms.”

Another problem models face is body dysmorphia. This essentially causes people to view their bodies as ‘ugly or ‘not good enough’.

Mayo Clinic defines this condition as non-stop thinking about one or more perceived defects or flaws in your appearance; a flaw that appears minor or can’t be seen by others. It can lead to feeling embarrassed, ashamed and anxious to the point of avoiding social situations.

It is easy to recognise how models could suffer from body dysmorphia as they are constantly being scrutinised and told to look a certain way.

Drug abuse is another issue that can manifest from a range of the overuse of abuse of prescription drugs to the use of illicit drugs that co-asides with the model ‘partying’ culture, and a way to escape the stressful and pressurized environment young models work and live in, and acts as a coping mechanism.  As this culture is highly common in the modelling industry, the use of these drugs are often found as the ‘norm’ in models social circles, and way of life.