When raw beauty isn’t enough to earn a taxable income, women often choose cash dates.
Fashion, runway, print, bikini, lingerie, and commercial modeling. To many the entire industry represents a lower class existence. To others it represents glamour, glitz and a type of high life. Both are true and false. The reason? There are two sides of modeling within the industry that spans from Milan, Paris, New York, Hamburg and London. But these are only the tip of the dirty icebergs that move innocent 17, 18, 19, etc. year old women into a world of either respect or self destruction. One president of an agency once said,
“Most of these agencies in Miami, Dubai, Milan are just brothels. Ok, perhaps they have a 3 to 5 girls on their boards that actually work and that gives the illusion of a modeling agency to outsiders looking in. Out of let’s say 50 or 100 girls, only 3 to 5 you might see working in catalogues, ads, fashion, that sort of thing. The rest are just ordered to go out and meet guys on boats or meet men for dinner and the agents are calling it ‘modeling’. These girls have no concept of what they are supposed to do. They are scooped up at such a young age so they are impressionable. They are often forced to go out and mingle with friends or investors or some sort of person who is looked upon as a VIP. After a few times of getting passed around in those social circles and feeling obligated to sleep with photographers, they just think it’s normal. These girls think just that’s how the way it’s supposed to be done, a way of doing business. Even worse, they are encouraged to smoke and do other things to suppress their appetites and are always made to feel low or so beaten down emotionally they think it’s just a normal day.”
Just another day as he put it. Young impressionable women away from their home, country and families and into the hands of all too intelligent agencies. Interesting words that seem not theoretical but factual. After all, who the hell ever heard of an agency in Dubai anyway? Another booker said:
“I mean come on. These girls go to Dubai for one thing and one thing only, sex for money. It may not be so obvious or written out that way on a piece of paper or an email. Usually there is some sort of photo shoot so they can show their friends or have a record of work. But what is really happening is that some Madame has arranged for girls to come over and then is paying them something like 2,000 or 5,000 Euros per day just to hang around. The lucky one or the one that is chosen will sleep with the sheikh or whoever, pocket way more money and then be shipped back off to Europe or wherever she came from. At this level it’s an exchange for services rendered, to put it mildly.”
Now reflecting upon numerous photos from friends of friends on Instagram or Facebook, it does seem to add up. How could some girl from one of these impoverished countries (mainly the majority of the population regardless of GNP and GDP) travel to Dubai or around the world for that matter, with no formal education, no significant track record in modeling? It makes a lot of sense. Clearly they are doing what every man wants to do, travel and sex it up (while getting paid). But we are not praising this lifestyle, merely pointing it out.
But this is the dark side of the modeling world, very sneakily wrapped up or packaged as acceptable. Some may argue it could be promotional modeling. Yes, in fact they would be correct. Some promotional models are paid to show up on someone’s boat, perhaps pass out shots of a liquor brand or wear a brand name bikini around a pool or even wear jewelry and mingle at a cocktail event. Sure there is promotional modeling. But when does it transcend into escort servicing and then deeper into prostitution? The moment the model is being manipulated or forced into attending a dinner, show, party or some social event as an “arm piece” to someone or to entertain with their looks by “sitting and looking pretty”. This is the moment it becomes escorting. From that point on prostitution can be but one step away. One man in Milan said,
“Many young girls come from poor places like Romania, Ukraine, Russia, farther East. Milan seems to be the first step for them as models. If they make it in Milan then they go to Paris. If they make it in Paris then they come to New York and stay. Incredibly beautiful young women come to Milan and they can’t even afford to eat. If you were to invite one of these models out for a simple pasta, it’s like they think you are the greatest person in the world! Kind of sad because they just don’t have the background. Some of them are so amazing looking you would be in shock with their natural beauty and how they could live so low. It’s crazy. If they don’t make it in Milan sometimes they try other places like Greece or Turkey.”
So basically, from what we have seen is that some, not all, of these young unsuspecting girls are being pimped out by agencies and develop a Stockholm Syndrome style attitude towards the “workings” or mechanics of this so called darker side of modeling. As our first interviewee expressed many models see it as normal or just part of the job. To us, this would be the flip side or hidden side of the modeling world. Why haven’t more women of success come out of the shadows to discuss this? Sure, on occasion you hear about the nasty photographer or sleazy agency owner that has intercourse with several teenage girls. One reason, an awful one, is that some come from such horrific backgrounds that moving into the dirty flip side of modeling is a step up, refreshing and aspiring. One model said:
“When I was much younger, like 17 they asked me to go to Dubai. I was offered $20,000 for one week. Sure, I knew some girls that went. Some girls stay there for a long time. But I knew I didn’t want to go this way.”
From the outside looking in, it appears like almost self induced sex trafficking. If women, and not all women, consider their sexuality and looks as their primary asset, additionally feeling they need to be compensated to enjoy it. Perhaps, at this junction, it is more a self induced reality. After all, there is a choice unless the woman is handcuffed and thrown into a van then flown illegally to some sex slave nation. It is difficult to see where the victim begins and where the expert ends.
Most of the world, from a media standpoint, is exposed to the successful modeling sector in ads and commercials, even more so now with television programs centering around the industry. This is the more obvious and industry people think of, the poses, meeting with casting experts, discussing jobs they are up for after hustling around their city with their book, all trying to be the next Candice Swanepoel. This could be categorized as the cleaner side of the modeling profession. The most the girls have to worry about is being pressured to perhaps hang out with a promoter for one or two nights per week as he gets paid $300 to $500 for each stop he makes with attractive models. The women are happy to tag along for free drinks and food. After several late nights repeating the mini circuit, they burn out and face the choice of heading back home or seeking out willingly some old, short, overweight, bald man with a hairy back as a boyfriend (and chest) who will pay the bills and insure their appropriate geographical location (undeserved). Sure, it is also sleazy but it’s not quite like hopping on a plane knowing full well they will be butterflying their legs open for a cash or gold brick amount per day! On occasion, after several shopping experiences (home is where the handbag is), vacations, gifts and several ounces of cocaine, many of these girls become attached or fond of their funding source. Some even dare to call it, LOVE. Good for them.
It seems as with any other industry in our global capital environment, there is a bottom and a top. The bottom of modeling can seem much harsher and perhaps borderline illegal (in some countries) from certain angles. But who is around to regulate the industry? Perhaps there should be some sort of governing body that intervenes and checks on the ethics of the industry so some modeling agencies are not allowed operate like escort agencies. Perhaps many will shut down. Perhaps some people would even go to jail, wouldn’t that be something? The industry seems to have deeper issues than the billing department of agencies charging models for postage and office fees, virtually taking 20 to 40% of the models income then shoving all additional expenses on to them as well. It’s almost corporate slavery. No wonder why they are forced to go eat and drink with promoters. Keeping a girl suppressed in a 1st world economy isn’t an easy thing to do. I wonder how the IRS or FBI would react if they send a few special teams of investigators into the business “undercover” and expose with extreme prejudice the less discussed side of modeling. But for now, as they say, “a girl’s gotta eat”.