Maybe the news has been slow but over the last two weeks I've read not one but two stories of models who have been told by their agencies that they are "too fat" and have decided to speak out.
Firstly an Australian model called Rosie Nelson has decided to create a petition to try and stop models from getting too skinny, and secondly a model called Charli Howard has written an 'open letter' on Facebook to tell the world how cruel her agency was.
These stories pop up every now and again - a pretty, slim girl steps into the limelight because, despite being a size six, their agency have been totally unreasonable and told them to lose weight. The media really love these stories because it's easy news; the innocent fair maiden, the evil pantomime villain agency... not to mention it's a good excuse to print pictures of pretty models which the newspapers absolutely love.
But there is another side to these stories which the media always neglects to mention. Now I'm never one to defend the large modelling agencies which you'll know if you've read my previous blog posts but quite frankly I'm fed up of our industry being demonised because of the action of a small minority of agents.
There have been plenty of news stories about plus size models this year, yet as soon as another stick thin model who was told to lose weight pops up everyone seems to forget about that and suddenly decide that all models are underweight again.
The modelling industry actually represents models that range from stick thin to plus size and everything in between. The industry isn't actually about being as thin as possible it's about being as well-proportioned for your dress size as possible.
My agency works with some of the biggest brands on the high street - Topshop, River Island, Selfridges just to name a few. The majority of our models are a size 8 or a size 10 yet they work regularly with these brands because it's about a healthy, well-proportioned figure. In fact, we only represent one size six model and she is finding it almost impossible to get work because she's just too thin! Clients are actually telling us that she needs to put on a bit of weight!
On the other hand high fashion agencies such as the ones these girls were clearly hoping to be represented by are the ones working with the massive fashion houses and the big Fashion Week shows. What high end fashion brands - and by extension the agencies - look for in a model is very different. This is the world where a size 6/8 can be too large and size 6 girls can be asked to tone up.
But models will often do it because it's a chance to walk at Fashion Weeks and work with the Alexander McQueens and Burberrys of the world. Maybe models working at this level are too skinny, but that's a conversation for another day and regardless of online campaigns and lip service by politicians I assure you that things in the high fashion world are never going to change.
So next time a model pops up with a sob story about how their evil agency told them to lose weight - just remember that there are modelling agencies out there like us who would snap up a good size 8 model in a heartbeat; it's just that many of these models are only interested in working with high fashion agencies and high fashion brands. Regular work with high street brands like we could offer them isn't of interest to them.
But when I read stories like this it makes me really angry. Rosie's Change.org petition is quite clear - she walked into one of the "UK's biggest model agencies" as a size 8-10 and was told to lose weight, which she did. It was only after being told to lose more weight that she decided to kick up a fuss. It seems like only when it became clear the agency didn't actually want her did she decide to fight back. But there are at least half a dozen agencies in London that she could have visited as a size 8-10 that would have taken her at that size.
Just like Charlie Howard - as a size 6 she could stroll into a commercial agency but she WANTED to work in the high fashion world where her weight would always be an issue. In fact I have emailed Charli in the past to tell her that there would always be a place for her at Sapphires but I've never received a reply.
Call me a cynic but her epic stand against the modelling industry seems to have motivations way beyond just trying to get justice for models - it also seems to be a way to slag off her agency and promote herself as a media spokesperson at the same time. If you don't believe me then consider this: have Charli or Rosie actually quit modelling? No, of course they haven't. In fact the chances are that their modelling will probably pick up after their little online crusades against the modelling industry and will probably give any future career they chose to pursue a little boost too (I notice that Charli has started referring to herself as a 'writer').
So before you get outraged by the way agencies apparently treat models please remember that not all agencies operate in the way these models claim - not to mention the fact that their treatment has come about as a result of the type of modelling they chose to pursue, NOT because of the industry as a whole. In a sense this is my own 'open letter'; if models out their genuinely feel under too much pressure to lose weight by the top agencies - Sapphires will be happy to take you!