Some days things do not phase me and other days I feel very frustrated or upset by humanity and the thinking that would automatically go along with seeing an individual showing skin. Your thoughts and opinions off course do not affect me nor upset me. What upsets me is that so many people build their worth on other’s thoughts and opinions. More so; some individuals are taken advantage of because of what they do (or perhaps want to do?)
Today was a long day in which three separate cases of sexual exploitation came to light. And it triggers me. Something about the fact that another human thinks it is okay to take advantage – sexually – of another human. Especially young women. Now I have always said that I know that I am in an industry where you would have to have thick skin to make it or survive. I am not naive enough to believe that with our profession you would have a plain sailing journey with no one judging or even trying their luck. Though I really would like to believe we all look out for one another and furthermore report any suspicious activities.
As creatives we should be allowed, or rather able to (since “allowed” to me equals ownership); be freely who we want to be and express freely what we want to express. And why should we not?? However, this industry has always had that dark shadow lurking over it with the tainted opinions of seedy untoward activities. Along with that comes the unsupportive public that is quick to shout: “Yeah but what did you expect? You’re naked!” or “Yeah but if you are posting pictures LIKE THAT you are practically asking for it”
Most the time I have very supportive people who follow my social media accounts and more often than not incredibly supportive. You get the here and there that tries their luck, however most the time it’s likely harmless luck they attempt. You then have those who frequenters try to engage and try to “get to know” you. Who feels like they are building some form of bond. They relate with you, then they encourage you and then they have to go and ask for a nude. Or sell you on some kind of idea that they want to promote you but please send a nude selfie. And perhaps you think you would never fall for that, however, it happens. And again today, two young ladies feel embarrassed and violated as they fell prey to some fake agency who tries to take advantage of ladies who want to become successful models. And it’s quite the process you see.
You have some form of mutual following, then liking one another’s images, then the person starts complimenting you, agreeing with you and starts showing what looks like genuine interest. Next, they slide in your Dm’s, tell you how amazing you are, and how they love your (choose any of these) smile/eyes/clothing/taste in music/mind/creativity/drive etc. Then they tell you that they aren’t sure whether you’d be keen buuuuuuuuut there’s this opportunity (this is where they tip their toes into your ineterst a little more). Now we start talking business, usually in dollars; and of course the “I can’t promise anything”
Now if this sound familiar; then you have either been scammed before or you know where this is going because you see through it. The thing is; not everyone sees through it. Especially when other women contact us ladies. You want to believe that since she’s female she would be compassionate and kind. There is so much jealousy in our industry that another friendly female who showers you with compliments are more than welcome. Most the time the person is likely not a woman either. And m most the time when they pursued you to send nude images it’s too late. It’s been done.
You do not EVER have to share or pose nude. EVER.
It’s frightening how many people fall for this. Or for the photographer that contacts you and tells you how incredible you are. What a muse you are. He must shoot you. In fact, he’s working on (please choose) a project/with a TV show/with a magazine/cosmetic company/ fashion house who’s been looking for someone and YOU fit the bill. Or they tell you that they haven’t come across your beauty for a while. Or that (insert brand name) is looking for fresh faces like yours! They have contacts! They will hook you up! And before you know it; to be considered they will need your portfolio, your ZCard and some extras (you know because it’s for something specific). And your side and front profile. With your body. With preferably little clothing because we need to see the shape of your body. No with less than that. Perhaps you have images where you are nude – unless you do not feel comfortable with that – however you are a model and if you can’t be comfortable nude than you will certainly not be successful. Because on set and on the catwalk you should be able to change quickly so you can’t be worried about nudity.
Furthermore, the said model may then realise shortly afterwards she err in her ways of thinking. Perhaps rationale returned and she panics. She asks for the person to not use the images or to delete it. The person either agrees to it and lies or throws a strop telling the said model how incompetent she is, how unprofessional she is and how no. one will work with her. Or a while down the line – like today – you find your images on some secret adult website where seedy men posts these and share other stolen content.
The worst part about this is… have personally worked with some of these horrible people aeons ago; unbeknownst to me who they are or what they get up to. I sometimes watch them and the people they work with and without a stitch of proof cannot do anything other than sending warning messages as often as possible. I see the young women they are working with, dragging them deeper into the adult industry knowing full well that some of these girls initially set out to make a success of modelling – now in a rabbit hole where they will likely regret that they went down that route. Every now and then I would get a message from them asking why we stopped shooting. When. will we shoot again? Or hear via the grapevine I think I’m better than everyone. Well if I see through your BullShit sir, yes I’m much better than you and your lack of guilt and conscience.
I was once part of a brand. A management company that was meant to help fitness athletes with brand representation and sponsorships. And what a great idea it was! I am fortunate to personally know some prominent figures in the fitness industry as well as the fashion and beauty industry and for me this was a genius idea. I then called the owner out on a few things and suggested that I helped him with management and he agreed to it. I was going to help with workshops too, and even counsel some of the girls. Then that BAAAAAAAD feeling struck. One Sunday sitting with some of the prominent figures in various industries this topic came up. And listening to everyone I decided to follow my gut and take a step back. That evening I told the owner that I have no need to be part of this. However, he insisted he needed my part of it. In fact; Wonderbra needed four ladies to promote a bra. Please send bra measurements. I was under the impression that Wonderbra would not quite be after my look, never the less the measurements were sent. He then required a video of my breasts. I laughed at him and asked whether he was fucking kidding. He loved his voice notes. Then told me he was kidding. just a shot from the side. Then sent me shots and videos of the other ladies who sent him shots of their breasts … don’t stress he says. They were in bras.
This was the beginning of cracks. I left the group. I was not going to be played by some small guy with a big ego thinking he ran a playgirl house. I was then contacted by another lady who I became good friends with. She asked me why I left and I explained something is off. She then told me that this guy abused her trust. He spun her stories and managed to get nudes out of her. she did some digging around when she realised what he did, and turns out he did this with MANY of the girls. Due to the fact that this is also an ongoing legal matter not much can be said or given away. He is operating again and only works with what appears girls between 15 and 18.
There’s more… I did a couple of photoshoots with a photographer, who was a nice enough guy. There were little niggly things that bothered me; however, he was friendly and kind to me. One evening a mutual Facebook friend tells me how she’d love to have “one night” with me. I told her that she was out of line and she apologised. Said that she told this photographer friend that she was going to tease me a little. She then proposed that I join her “modelling agency: which is international. I politely declined. Called a coffee meeting with the photographer and he happily admitted to talking about me – and many other female models – to her. That her agency is willing to pay great money for his “scouting fee”. I can make lots of money. I can make $15K per gig!
You would have a private client that would want a film of you having sex with someone or in a scenario. “Don’t worry; it’s for private clients”. I was appalled. I asked him. how would feel if I was his daughter? He said that she’s an adult and out would be up to her. I’ve never spoken to him again apart from calling him out every now and then on FB.
I’m saddened that the guy with the “agency”, the scaly photographers, the dodgy agencies and all these horrible people that think it is okay. Okay to take an impressionable trusting person for a ride. And there is not much I can do. Other than being there for them. Help them and advise them. We need better support for this. From the police and as a community. To avoid not only sexual exploitation but the abuse that goes hand in hand. I will host as many workshops and counselling sessions as it takes; however we need more than that. I need help from the Police.
I’m even more saddened that nudity has that negative connotation. That lures the freaks out from under rocks. That allows people to think that there is a sexual element… no; a sexual INVITATION attached to showing the human body.