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."

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

A post shared by Grace Mahary (@gracemahary) on

"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

A post shared by Stella Duval (@stelladuval) on

"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.

A post shared by Sara Ziff (@saraziff) on


"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.

A post shared by Ebonee Davis (@eboneedavis) on

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

A post shared by PRECIOUS LEE (@preciousleexoxo) on

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

A post shared by Jillian Mercado (@jilly_peppa) on