I have never trodden the path of least resistance, mainly because being dyslexic and shy meant I was always on the edge of something, pushing my way though and never quite knowing how it would all end up.
At school I was encouraged to draw Roman soldiers rather than learn Latin and I was told I could not take science as it was too academic a subject for me. However, I ended up going to University, became a master herbalist, naturopath and therapist. I wrote three books and set up two companies and presently I am in the midst of a tsunami of change in one of the greatest industries ever to exist, the fashion model industry.
When I was young, I read comics rather than books, which meant I became creative and visual. I read the language of the body and the rhythm of the voice, which made me read dis-ease in the body differently. I learnt to listen to people, because I found speaking difficult. I took this training and I began to interview people within the industry, casting directors, photographers, models, model agencies, brands, worldwide and wrote a 40-page document about the industry and what was happening. I outlined how, if I could, I would resolve some of those issues and I gave it to the British Fashion Council in May 2016.
The model industry has remained institutionally deaf to the need of its most important charges. With Weinstein, #metoo, #timesup and the Epstein scandal opening its Pandora’s box, it is having to look at itself in a new light (unlike the great legend, I intend to let Hope out of the box). My deepest wish is that the industry begins to see how, while creating new systems for the consumer, while massaging the need of the buyer, they have not yet stepped up to change the institutionally ‘old guard’ attitude toward the model.
Models need to be modernised, respected, trained. There needs to be a step-up into modelling that gives the model the feeling their job relies on something other than their pretty face. They need to understand the complexities of social media, being a brand and how contracts can make or break their careers, alongside health and beauty and how to move in front of the camera.
Minors thinking of being a model need to know that this career is hard work, long hours and that you have to have something really special to succeed. It is not about being a pretty face or having a large following, although this may help. It is much, much more.
The Responsible Trust for Models (RTM) was created:
· To educate and regulate the worldwide modelling industry
· To ensure that all fashion models, but in particular young models, wherever they may be in the world and wherever they are from, receive the education they need and deserve to survive and succeed.
To this end my role is to be an educator, a campaigner and a reformer.
I hope you will join us and follow us on this journey towards a safer, brighter, better and more modern future in the model industry.