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Meredith Hattam’s piece, "My Life Working as a Model in China", is depressing AF, my guys. But you should read it because, like Frontline, you need someone to point out fucked up shit in the world to keep you grounded. In this case, if you’re a CliffsNotes type kind of lazy, it's all about the international modeling scene and how it's super creepy and basically indentured servitude for a bunch of young people.
I thought modeling was all about bottle service and sometimes pretending to be bartenders at weird, niche industry trade shows and/or posing in front of import cars, but, evidently in China, it's a lot of last-minute travel on weird trains, eating only eggs, getting your passports taken and losing your whole paycheck to "agency expenses". Generally, shit is not a good time. Plus, there's the whole gross people trying to blur the line between modeling and prostitution thing, which makes me think every casting director is like the rapey version of George Costanza in Pretty Woman. I STILL CAN’T BELIEVE GEORGE WAS SO RAPEY IN THAT MOVIE.
What Hattam's piece really highlights is the need to regulate the use of underage models, which I believe extends to the high fashion shows of Milan and Paris. Guys, IT'S WILD CREEPY TO HAVE 16-YEAR-OLDS WALKING DOWN RUNWAYS. Also, it's pretty clear to me that a teenager without a strong support system will have a tough time navigating the insano lifestyle and distorted values system that make up the working model's world.
I dunno, maybe it's because I've watched Taken 2 on HBO Go, like, a billion times, but now anything like "overseas modeling" makes me think of thinly-veiled fronts for mail order brides and heroin mules. This article seems to confirm that, without the proper agency and support system, shit can get real weird real quick as a model. Like, you might find yourself having to pose for Terry Richardson and his Yashica penis. TWO THUMBS DOWN—WAY DOWN.