It begs the question, how does a model know when it’s time to give up or keep going?
“Should (models) go for the money jobs, like fit modeling, commercials, or catalogs, and risk losing their chance at high-profile fashion work?” asks fashion blog Refinery 29. “Or should they take jobs for next-to-nothing (and sometimes literally nothing), in exchange for crucial exposure?”
While Fashion Week around the world can be a major money puller for the world’s top runway models including Cara Delevingne and Karlie Kloss, lesser known models can be reliant on one month’s income for much of the year.
“Making $4,200 in a week (during Fashion Month) doesn't sound bad on paper, but this biannual blip is by no means a regular income,” explains refinery29. It's not unusual for models to go weeks without a paycheck, and when there is money coming in, it's not like all that cash goes straight into the bank.”
Model Ashley Stetts of xoJane.com says runway shows actually offer the least income for some models because they’re paid in “trade” (ie, free clothes).
“It’s not unheard of for girls with smaller agencies to not get paid for jobs at all,” explained Stetts. “Models in need of cash can borrow money against their future earnings from their agency–and pay a high fee for the privilege.”
So is this a cause that deserves more advocacy? Should models be putting up with such poor payment?“After all,” says Refinery29, “a crowd of strutting, six-and-change-foot-tall models at a union meeting would be a force to be reckoned with.”