"I’ve used these two photos as I submitted to modeling agencies. Each time I was called in, I was told to loose more weight or gain weight to fit into the curvy section. At what point is it enough?"
Nicole Kemmet, actress, model, body positive advocate and one of my friends, posted the picture below on her social media channels to shed light on the realities of the industry she's in:
Looking at this picture, all I can think is that Nicole looks like a normal, healthy individual. After reading her post, it seems crazy to me that some think otherwise. At what point is enough?
The modeling industry has always been notorious for recruiting and showcasing extremely thin men and women. A recent study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders stated,
"The International Journal of Eating Disorders confirms that unhealthy weight-control practices are a serious problem in the industry. Too often, models are being pressured to jeopardize their health and safety as a prerequisite for employment. No one likes the hassle or expense of increased regulations and paperwork. However, data shows that the American fashion industry has yet to prove that it is capable of following healthy practices on its own.”
I think we, as a society, have come to a realization that only seeing these types of models does not represent all men and women. It is obvious that this stigma and prolonged behavior have been a trigger in the development of eating disorders - not only for the models, but those who consume the media they're in.
The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) reported that within three years after western television was introduced to Fiji, women, previously comfortable with their bodies and eating, developed serious problems: 74% felt “too fat;” 69% dieted to lose weight; 11% used self-induced vomiting; 29% were at risk for clinical eating disorders.
Data does not lie - this continues to be a real issue. Like I mentioned in my previous post, some organizations and industries are starting to acknowledge this issue and break the mold - but more work needs to be done.
Being an actress and model at a young age, Nicole struggled with her own eating disorder that carried into her adulthood. As she's working in this field, she wants to break barriers and help create the space for average, healthy models. With that, Nicole also wants to share her story to not only raise awareness but inspire others to do the same.
"I would love to see more people openly share their eating disorders. I think those that were in the dark become the light to those currently in the dark. I would also love to see a change within the modeling industry. Aside from social media, tabloids play a huge part in our blurred vision. The stick thin, Amazonian look has become the defenition of beauty, when beauty has a million varieties. I love how Ashley Graham has become the voice for bigger woman, but they’ve left out the average woman. That’s where we need to implement change."
A lot of this change starts with movements online, especially with social media. Stimulating these types of conversations are what sparks the fire to change.
As Nicole is trying to get herself exposure in the modeling space, she not only recognizes how social media has made an impact on what she decides to share but also how it can be a foundation for change:
"I think the world of social media puts pressure on how we should look, what we should have, where we should go. It becomes a voice your head that overpowers your own voice. We then become the shadow of the world around us. However, if used properly, I think social media could be a platform for change. It’s a matter of where we want to put ourselves on the spectrum."
Be on the other side of the spectrum - the side of change.