The VIP members only Pirelli Calendar has just come out and it features old pros like Daria Werbowy and Isabeli Fontana posing nude and smoking cigarettes alongside wild animals. As if posing with potentially dangerous animals who could trample your head at any second isn't scary enough, the girls had to pose with humongous scary bugs on their face.
That's Isabeli Fontana, one of the world's top models, crying. Now this made me think, what if, at your job, the boss told you to put a potentially harmful bug on your face or dance around with mammoth-sized, head-crushing elephants? You would say no, right? Ok, I know that that probably wouldn't happen in the office, but you get the idea: Sometimes you get asked to do ridiculous things at work that could be borderline illegal/inhumane.
But models have to put up with a lot of crazy requests and can't really say no because they need to make money or be in a "prestigious" calendar. Where is the models union when they need one? Should there be a limit on what models can be asked to do? Who's standing up for their rights?
The thing about models is that if they get really hurt, their modeling career could be over. Or if they take a long time to heal, they could miss fashion weeks, ad campaigns, editorials; opportunities for their face to be seen. If they are out of circulation, they might not be in demand next season.
"Tatiana the anonymous model" over at Jezebel wrote a great piece (which I can't find anymore) about models' rights (or lack of.) She says that sometimes models go through excruciating pain just so that photographers can get a pretty photo. Her example is her model roommate who had to put shards of glass on her eyelids and eat sand for a photoshoot and ended up vomiting the whole night. If one of us non-models were vomiting from work, I think we would do something about it. But models can't.
Here's a behind-the-scenes video of the making of the calendar where you can see Isabeli crying and the fear in the models' eyes as they frolic with elephants and dead birds.