The Ugly Side of The Male Modelling World


The moment was fleeting, likely innocent, but it provided a glimpse into an aspect of the industry that is usually only whispered about: sexual advances, let’s-make-a-deal suggestions or downright harassment of male models, usually (though not certifiably always) by gay male photographers, designers, casting agents or other industry poobahs. In a year in which the famous fashion photographer Terry Richardson has seen mounting allegations of sexual harassment against him by a string of former female models, culminating in a New York magazine cover story and a very public discussion about the sexual abuse of female models, the male side of the equation has gone virtually undiscussed.

Read more at Yahoo.

Throughout my years in the fashion industry, I’ve heard several disturbing stories about male models who are coerced to pose in uncomfortable vulnerable positions. Most of the time, they are foreigners, who hardly speak English, young and just started to dip their toes into modelling. 

The most famous case I’ve heard was about a story of a Japanese male model who was coerced and promised for glittering career ahead (the photographer is rather influential). The model was persuaded to be shot fully naked with erection and ejaculation. It was such a dizzying experience for the model that he only realised what he had gone through the day after and submitted a report to the agency and an injunction to the court to hold the release of the book. All of his efforts fell into deaf ears. 

That’s the reason why during shoots, I only minimally help the models to get dress, to avoid touching inappropriately or to make the models uncomfortable, and ask their permissions whenever I need to do some fixing. Always ask the models whether he or she would be comfortable on a nude shoot and require everyone not directly involved with the shooting to get out before the process begins.