Beauty has no boundaries and neither does the modelling industry when it comes to some of the most-talked about models today. At Talent Management, we’re ecstatic that today’s models are ousting the outmoded, rigid beauty standards in favor of ones that reflect society.
From 93-year-olds upstaging models a fraction of their age to those with disabilities and ‘flaws’ that now earn admiring glances, today’s models are a far cry from Barbie and Ken—and that’s a good thing.
Still More to Be Done
The modelling world hasn’t exactly been turned on its head. There’s still plenty of conventional beauty scoring work out there. But the industry has undergone and is still undergoing a monumental shift in attitude.
Many will agree that there is still a fair distance to go if the industry really wants to offer a truer reflection of society, but change is change and the signing of size 22 models, gay couples and transgender models are evidence that beauty in all its forms is being celebrated by the modelling industry more than ever before.
We at Talent Management have observed that the general public is reacting positively to this influx of a ‘different’ breed of model, a factor that will undoubtedly lead to still more signings and success for the men and women who would formerly never have made it within a mile of a high-profile catwalk show.
Hari Nef, Andreja Pejic and More
Some of the most talked about names right now include Hari Nef and Andreja Pejić, who are paving the way for future transgender models. Hari has been signed by IMG, whilst Andreja was the first ever transgender model to make an appearance in Vogue.
Andreja was also chosen as the face of Make Up For Ever and after having gender reassignment surgery, she hit the catwalk for Giles at London Fashion week.
Both of these women have become an inspiration in the transgender community but their success is also spurring on a far wider collection of modelling hopefuls, who no longer have to boast standardised statistics and bland personal lives if they want a shot at their dream career.
Even those with no aspirations to be involved in the fashion or modelling industry are being inspired. It is a sign of a positive shift in society when differences are not a cause for ridicule but are factors deserving of celebration.
Beating Back Bullies
Madeline Stuart is another model currently breaking boundaries. Maddy is proving that sheer determination and effort can lead to success in the face of factors that would normally be seen as an impediment. She has Down’s syndrome. So what? The world thinks she’s beautiful and, most positively of all, so does Maddy herself.
The 18-year-old worked tirelessly to shed almost 50 pounds to help make her modelling dream a reality. Today, she is not content to simply celebrate her own success; she wants to be instrumental in prompting even more diversity within the industry.
At Talent Management we note that diversity is already being seen in the form of size 22 model Tess Holliday; a trend that is likely to continue thanks to movements such as Stefania Farrario’s #droptheplus campaign, urging the industry to see the beauty in all of its shapes and sizes without the need to categorise.
The industry is not quite ready to drop the plus yet but, as more and more larger models enter the mainstream, there is no doubt that the plus will be a minus in a growing number of cases as time rolls by.
Tackling prejudice and beating the bullies have not always been synonymous with an industry that has traditionally celebrated the conventional and ignored the different, and yet there are now a growing number of instances where, whilst not perhaps achieving these aims as a cohesive industry just yet, it is allowing individuals to successfully take a stand.
Chantelle Winnie, for example, was regularly bullied as a child as a result of the impetigo which has left her with different coloured patches of skin. Now known as Winnie Harlow, the model is firmly showing those bullies who is the boss.
The couple affectionately known as Jarlos – alias John and Carlos – are also rising above a shadow of ambiguity to celebrate their sexuality in a way never seen before. Where once they were asked to effectively hide a major part of their lives, the DKNY campaign models became the first ever gay couple to be signed by a major agency.
One of the most dominant prejudices that has long-existed within the industry, however, relates to age. Does ageism still exist in the modelling world? Of course, but look at Iris Apfel for evidence that it is not as all-pervasive as it once was.
A monumental shift is clear to see when a 93-year-old was not just chosen as a face for a Kate Spade ad; she actually managed to upstage Karlie Kloss.