Let me first get the average question out of the way when it comes to the fashion industry and my position: "So you get to play with pretty clothes all day, right?" Or, "Waiittttt, you must be soo rich from all this." No. Nor do we (models, bloggers, whatever you wish to call us) get paid (majority of the time), keep the clothes (again, majority of the time), or have any real recognition unless you happen to be BFFs with the editor of (insert teen magazine here with heartthrob boy on the cover).
Fashion is not an easy industry. Competitive, cut-throat and nonstop? Yes, yes and yes. Whether it be modeling, blogging, social media, magazines, sales... most likely, you're going to be underpaid, overworked, and in way above your head. That doesn't mean this isn't the place for you, but unless you have that certain je ne sais quoi (cue Carrie Bradshaw), a traditional path can sometimes be more rewarding.
This article isn't one that is supposed to turn anyone away from becoming part of this world. However, take this as more of a warning signal. If you're driving down the road and you happen to make the yellow light before the stoplight turns red, good for you. The fashion world is the same. One minute you're in, and the next you're one day older than last season's Louboutins.
One of the most controversial issues of the industry is size. Models that (excuse my language) look like they are walking skeletons are the ones that grace the front of Vogue, or make an appearance in the Chanel ad. With more people like Kate Upton appearing, there is hope that the industry is taking a turn (especially with the new CFDA laws), but still, the question will always be: Why do editors and casting directors feel so inclined to choose girls who look more relatable to prepubescent boys instead of REAL women? Think Cindy Crawford and Claudia Schiffer. They had BREASTS, and hips, and beautiful curves, that look SEXY on the runway and in ads. People want to go and buy the latest dress from Cut 25 if they think they could actually pull the dress off, versus feel so intimidated by the 18-year-old model who hasn't eaten since her "cleanse" started.
I'm definitely one of the younger ones in the industry, and because I'm in the New York market, that makes it a whole lot harder. Lucky for me, my genes happen to be pretty suitable for the fashion industry (naturally slim and tall, fast metabolism sort of thing), but still, I don't have one day where I truly feel content with my body. I'm not sure if it's because I'm growing and my hormones are on a roller coaster ride, but I'm still waiting for the day when I wake up and feel happy with myself. Now, this isn't because I'm in the fashion industry (however, that makes a difference), but every teenager probably feels this way (or I hope so, because otherwise consider me crazy). Without a strong heart and a support system equally strong or stronger, the fashion industry will pick and pull at every little thing you feel self conscious about.
When someone tells me my waist measurement is too big or my cheekbones aren't high enough, I only let it get to me to a certain extent. There is nothing and will never be anything more important than being healthy. Beauty (as cliché as this is) comes from the inside, and everything on the outside is just an extra perk. Don't ever let someone make you feel intimidated or insecure because you can bet they are more insecure than you will ever be in your entire life. As with modeling, fashion is a career that may for some people only be short-lived, and that's why putting so much pressure on yourself to be something you simply aren't is not worth it. Nurses and doctors aren't asked to lose weight for their job, or to exercise so much they feel sick, so why are people in fashion industry expected to?
If you want to learn more, consider purchasing The Vogue Factor by Kirstie Clements, the former editor of Australian Vogue, who just published a tell-all book on the fashion industry and the lengths some models go to stay thin (tissues soaked in orange juice for breakfast anyone?).