05/09/2017 11:39 SAST | Updated 05/09/2017 11:40 SAST

Models Share Harrowing Behind-The-Scenes Tales Of The Modelling Industry

"I shot with someone who went to jail for paedophilia."

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Model Stacey Grant at Skylight Clarkson Square during New York Fashion Week.

If you thought posing in a bikini in the cold is as tough as the modelling industry gets, think again.

US-based models shared with The New York Times some of the harrowing behind-the-scenes tales of the industry -- with objectification, racism and the lack of diversity at the top of the list.

Here are our top 11 takeaways:


"I had one guy who wanted my nipples to look hard for the shoot -- to show through. He literally just grabbed my nipple and was like see, we need it to be hard," Renee Peters.

"One of my first test shoots in New York – we drove out to the Hamptons and nobody told me that it was going to be topless. So I shot topless on the beach. The poses he was asking me to do...I have never felt so uncomfortable in my life," Grace Mahary.

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"When I was young I shot with someone who went to jail for that was really difficult to hear because he shot a lot of young women," Stella Duval.

Mother of dragons

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"They would talk about my body in front of me...they would say Julia is very wide, everyone keep that in mind, like in a meeting in front of people," Julia Geier.


Extreme youth

"I was at a casting call...felt like everyone must've been 16, 17, 18 and here am I like past 25 –- really questioning am I still beautiful, do I still hold worth?" Renee Peters.

"Other people would say that adolescent girls have sort of a prepubescent physique that is favoured by designers," Sara Ziff.

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"There are about two spots in a show for black girls – out of maybe 50," Diandra Forrest.

"We've also been sort of brainwashed that these Euro-centric Caucasian are what is attractive," Forrest.

"There are things that I did to compromise my authenticity in order to get my foot in the door – just straightening my hair, changing what I wore," Ebonee Davis.

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"My first agent here changed my name from Precious to Victoria," Precious Lee.

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"There's a petite category, a plus-sized category, but there isn't a category for people with disabilities." Jillian Mercado.

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