How ‘The Model Alliance’ Is Revolutionizing Fashion By Protecting Underage Models


When you think of underage models, you think of girls being exploited by older sleazy men in the fashion industry, pre-pubescent girls parading down the runways of the world modeling clothes for adult women, and young women who have been forced to mature before their time for the sake of selling an image.

One thing that is not present enough in the lives of young models, is protection from the law and regulations. Child actors, singers and performers have special labor laws which protect them from being exploited. They have chaperones and tutors on set, they only work a certain amount of hours, they get fed proper meals and are treated with such care.

Unfortunately, there are NO such laws which exist for models anywhere, and this is why it is all too common to hear about teen models being sent overseas to live and work and become victims of sexual exploitation because they have no one to protect them. Modeling is still a job, whether it is your cup of tea or not, and these young women deserve to be protected and respected.

One company working to revolutionize the fashion standards is the Model Alliance, who were partly responsible for New York State implementing a monumental law in 2013, that would see these horrible standards reversed. Executive Director Sara Ziff and model ambassador Coco Rocha joined Katie Couric on her talk show to share with her why this new law will change the way people see beauty altogether.

The two main things this law will do is A) give underage models the right protection and guardianship on all of their modeling jobs, and B) hopefully change what we start seeing in magazines and on runways. Because of the stricter laws, companies will be forced to fill out a heck of a lot more paperwork, adhere to strict laws and this will most likely deter many designers and brands from using underage girls to model apparel meant for a mature woman’s body. That last point alone should make enough sense for the fashion world to start making drastic changes.

Both Coco and Sara were 15 and 14 respectively when they started in the industry, and both experienced being on a job where they were told to do things against their will, namely get naked. New Yorker Sara and Canadian Coco tell Katie how most young models are very insecure teenagers who aren’t exactly popular at school, but then treated like the most beautiful thing in the world in the fashion industry. So it can be very confusing if there is no one to navigate the industry and manage the types of requests and demands put on these women.

“And if they are not young girls, they [are women who] have been airbrushed within an ounce of their lives,” adds Katie, showing there is such a huge disconnect between the fashion industry and reality at times.

But what The Model Alliance is doing, despite some opposition within the industry from people who think they are giving some a bad name, is creating some shred of authenticity and validating the modeling profession for all. They are forcing the industry to treat young girls the way the should be treated, and are telling women what really goes on behind the scenes.

Take a look at their interview and find out why we are huge supporters of these awesome women basically disrupting fashion’s delicately spun spiderweb by using their voice as a powerful weapon to breakdown injustice:


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