On the heels of Fashion Week, many in and out of the industry are gearing up for another round of awe-inspiring clothes, celeb spotting, and glamorous parties. But, there's another, darker side to the shows that most fail to take into consideration: The welfare of young (and often underage) models. We've all heard urban legends about girls fainting during long presentations, but according to this real-life tale on The Cut, that's only the beginning.
Jennifer Sky was a child model back in the mid-'90s, and she's now speaking out about the hardships she endured during her quest for fame, and the lasting effects the industry had on her. Sadly, Sky was diagnosed three years ago with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, caused by her experiences with abusive handlers and adverse working conditions. In her tell-all, she reveals struggling with everything from model housing (six girls crammed into a bed bug-infested two-bedroom) to work trips (being left to fend for herself in large, scary cities like Tokyo) to topless photo shoots at the young age of 15.
Sky eventually quit the business after becoming increasingly depressed and reclusive, but the sorrow didn't stop there. After moving back to New York to finish school over a decade after her modeling ordeal, she began to become crippled by panic attacks, anxiety, and migraines. She discovered that she suffered from complex PTSD, with her triggers caused by anything that reminded her of her modeling days. Today she is currently in treatment for the disorder and is slowly learning to control the panic, but she still faces the deep consequences of her long-ago abuse.
Sadly, stories like hers are anything but few and far between in the fashion business. While developing PTSD is certainly an extreme, many industry leaders agree that underage models need much more protection. Luckily for all the budding runway stars, this summer the New York State Senate passed a bill providing child-labor regulations for models, with protections like workday limits and regular chaperones. Here's hoping that Sky's ordeal never has to happen to another bright young star. (The Cut)
Photo: Via The Cut