In crisis, fashion models are a forgotten demographic

With global fashion weeks cancelled and editorial shoots on a low burner, models are finding themselves out of work with little guidance on what options are available to them.

In the U.S., the Model Alliance has created a tailored guide for models who are seeking information about how to file an unemployment insurance claim, focused on the states of New York, California and Florida, where most models are based.

The New York-based non-profit organisation said many models are currently owed money by their clients or agencies. In a new report released by the Worker Institute, the Model Alliance COVID-19 Survey found one in five models did not currently have enough money to cover basic needs.

Lack of information

In an open letter to the leadership of modeling agencies in New York City, the Model Alliance said it is concerned about the lack of information, resources, and support models have received from modeling agencies during the COVID-19 crisis.

“At the epicenter of the virus, many models in New York City are unable to cover basic needs, fear contracting the virus without health insurance, and find it difficult to shelter-in-place far away from their families.”

“The Model Alliance recently partnered with the Worker Institute at Cornell to conduct a study on how COVID-19 is impacting models. More than 200 models represented by many of the top agencies responded. Fewer than one-third of respondents (30 percent) said that they had received guidance, assistance, or resources from their agency in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Around half (49 percent) of respondents said they were owed money by their agencies, and nearly half (45 percent) said they were extremely or very concerned that they would be proposed for fewer jobs if they refused work or requested extra protections due to the coronavirus.”

The Model Alliance said it is critical that agencies support models in obtaining income support while they are unemployed, noting a number of agencies have been providing models with incorrect and misleading information.

The Alliance is calling for agencies to suspend agency fees for the duration of the crisis, ensure models are paid what they are owed for outstanding bookings and invoices, and to provide timely and accurate information and resources on safety and health protections, and accessing benefits to all models they represent.

Image via Model Alliance website

 

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