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#ModelProblems: How Bad Could They Be?

Even though most models would admit they have it pretty good, people who pose for a living still find plenty of things to complain about. The NY Times just ran an article about #ModelProblems—a popular topic on Twitter, where the pretty posse whine about everything from  teeth-chattering lingerie shoots to mind-numbing hours in the makeup chair.

Blonde & Stupid Music Video

#ModelProblems: 4 AM call-time and 16-hour days shooting a music video

I know my model friends have some epic war stories to share (among models, Milan goes by the moniker “Viet-Milan,” btw), so I encouraged them to air their grievances. They promptly started lobbing their complaints like grenades onto my FB page. These just may blow your image of the model life to smithereens:

“Standing in a hollow tree being bitten by bugs, so the photographer could get the ‘perfect’ shot. I was itching for weeks. Another one was when I had to rock climb for a photo shoot for sportswear and I didn’t know how to rock climb. There I was in Ibiza, hanging over volcanic rock and the very angry ocean. I cried myself to sleep after the first day of FREE CLIMBING. Makes me laugh now, but I couldn’t move for weeks. Now I love rock climbing and that client gave me tons of work after that.” —Leslie Wayne

“Shooting fake fur coats in Dubai when it was 120 degrees… Dancing for a shoot in the middle Leopold Strasse in Munich, while it was snowing in December (10pm at night—for that evening shot) in a “metal” blazer, hot pants and six inch heels (those German’s know their style!). What really hurt was when the freezing metal on the jacket hit my skin, it was beyond painful!”  —Ricky Haas

“One of my personal favorites was the German client in Phoenix who had us do swimwear in the morning when it was freezing and coats in the afternoon when it was burning up… 3 days in a row!”  —Carter Gigandet

Umm, anyone notice a trend here… Germans?

Stern magazine job

#ModelProblems: German client asking me to march in a box of water for 2 hours

“My worst moment (week rather) was in the middle of nowhere by the Red Sea with clients who refused to speak English the entire week, where I was nearly killed on two occasions. Once while shooting in the sea and they all screamed and ran back to the beach and I looked down and a spiny poisonous fish (a stonefish, I think) was right next to my foot (thanks for telling me!). The other when they made me lean against an old building that fell down right behind me, a brick skimming my ear. The highlight of the trip was when they asked me to go topless (hmmm, no) and this was a Muslim country. The result of me saying no was a lot of shouting on their part. There was also a dead camel baking in the sun next to my hut and food poisoning… Lecherous photographers: there was the very famous one, who refused to work with me after I refused his advances….I could keep going…Re. clients…the Japanese worked us 14 hours straight, but they paid well, but to me they were the harshest, the Germans a close 2nd. Why do you think I moved to NY!?”  —Sophie Patitz

“Oh those Japanese were just downright cruel with the length of time they worked us and the enormous amount of BAD clothes we had to shoot!” —Ricky Haas

Nygard Bahamas shoot

#ModelProblems: A tree house for lodging, Wonder bread and undercooked boiled chicken for lunch, a lecherous client, AND I never got paid for the trip. (Supposedly the production company went bankrupt. Clients going bankrupt are always the models’ problem!)

“How’s this for a tweet? The New York Times representing models as shallow vapid robots without real human troubles. #REALmodelproblem: I’m sure there are no models out there worried about health care, how they’re going to pay their rent, and/or send money back to their poor family in…(fill in the country). Nope, just worried about their lipstick and their sushi. Sorry, Jill, yes, I have worn a bikini in Vermont in the snow in February and this article sucks as much at that did.” —Audi Martel

Whoa, I had to jump in here: I feel for the girls trying to support their poor families back home, but for the ones just trying to support themselves: if they aren’t making enough to afford rent or healthcare, they need to consider a career change. For the relatively easy, privileged, high-profile job they do, models should consider it a fair trade to be the brunt of some jokes. And in this case the models are fully participating in the joke. Plus, the writer started out with some model truths that the general public rarely think about: “The hours are grueling. Job security is nil. And while it’s flattering to be paid for your looks, the average gig won’t make you rich.”