I watched this documentary in the plane called "Girl Model". It followed a 13 year old girl from Siberia who was scoutted by a modelling agency to work in Japan. Basically it talked about how these young girls were promised jobs in Tokyo and got sent there, even though in fact the agency has no jobs lined up for them. They spent their time in Japan going to different places to look for modelling jobs. These girls are underage in terms of Japanese Labour Law. A lot of girls were told to lie about their age to pretend to be older. When they actually landed a job, they were either never
paid, or get paid very little, the majority of the fees went to the agency. The main character in the documentary didn't speak any English and was totally lost in Japan. She ended up 'owing' the agency who sent her to Japan for all the accomodation cost she incurred there. One of the scouts from the modelling agency said a lot of girls unfortunately end up being prostitute. That scout is a former model herself and knows fully what the girls will go through when she scouted them in Siberia, yet she still turns a blind eye and keep bringing the girls overseas. If you think 13 year old girls are too young, the modelling agency actually wanted girls to start modelling between 5 to 10.
The documentary reveals how unethical the fashion industry can be. Modelling seems to be a very glamourous life - which I am sure it is for the few top models, but for most, especially young girls like the girl in this documentary, are exploited. They were told and promised one thing, but ended up in a totally different situation. The client of the modelling agency don`t care where the girls are from, the agency don`t care about the girls that they sent to overseas. These girls are too young to protect themselves and to know what their rights are. A lot of girls like the girl featured in this documentary are from poor families and they lack the resources for legal rights. Their families depend on them to bring the bread home. Imagine when they thought their little girl was scouted as a model to earn money overseas, but in fact they only bring home more debt. In order to repay the debt to the modelling agency, the girls have to keep working for the agency. Sometimes there is no way out. We are not talking about really small agencies. In fact the agency in this documentary, although not the top ones, are not small. They pretty much rule the Russian modelling scouting business - imagine how many Russian models we have!
It is also unhealthy to have really young girls modelling adult clothes and posing as adults. It is sending to the world how women should look like girls which they are not. Everyone should be pretty for who they are. Of course it's great to do make-up look pretty and all, but I do believe that`s only one part of being beatiful. Timeless beauty is really inside each one of us. Look at women who are considered beautiful throughout history, e.g. my fav Audrey Hepburn - she was definitely pretty but as she aged, she was still pretty for her elegance, confidence, and caring for other people. Look at Kate Middleton, she is pretty but she is also nice to everyone, humble and elegant. These are qualities that make us all pretty, not looking like what the fashion ads tell us to look like.
For those interested, check out this documentary. While we enjoy all the fashion and beauty ads, I think we should learn about the truth as well, and say no to designer who employes girl model.