Underage Models Get Protection

Thursday, June 13, 2013

From Teen Vogue May 2012
Well it's about time. This week the New York State Senate and Assembly are finally taking steps toward protecting young models. Spearheaded by Coco Rocha and the Model Alliance, this legislation paves the way for better working conditions for the teens we see so often on the runway and in magazines.

Just like other child dancers, actors, and musicians, print and runway models under the age of 18 will finally be recognized as child performers and will be granted the same protection and working rights. This means chaperones will be able to supervise photo shoots and the kids will have on-set tutors so they won't miss out on their education. Also, the kid models will have only be allowed to work a certain number of hours a day with a meal break and rest time between jobs. And when it comes to money, mandatory financial trusts will be set up for the model's earnings. I'm sure this seems like the basic labor laws, but you have to understand that teen models have not been afforded the same rights until now. Coco explains the need for the legislation like this...

"For children and young teens who just want to please, the pressure to succumb to demands from adults is often damaging and life altering -- dropping out of school; foregoing education and their health; allowing predators, sexual and otherwise, to harass and victimize -- it has to stop."

The truth is, most models begin working between 13 and 16 years old. A large percentage of those young beauties are exposed to drugs and alcohol on the job and often succumb to depression and anxiety. These statistics come directly from the Model Alliance that has been fighting for years to improve conditions for working models. Can you imagine being a teen and having just as much responsibility as an adult to be work a job, stay thin, and support your family? Exactly, it's just wrong.

This legislation is monumental, but we've still got a ways to go. Maybe New York will start an trend and encourage other states to protect their young models too. California and Florida, I think you're next. We've got to fight for the rights of child models and anyone else who doesn't have the means to protect themselves.

For more information about the Model Alliance and protecting underage models, click here.


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