Models' lives seem amazing, right? They post behind-the-scenes snaps of their sunny shoots in tropical destinations, they're dating celebs, and they're besties with some of the world's most influential people. But the reality behind all this glamour is often darker than you imagine.
A recent survey by Models.com revealed that sexual harassment, racism, other forms of discrimination, and self-esteem issues are rampant, according to the men and women surveyed, some of whom chose to remain anonymous. Read on for a few of the models' stories.
1. Inappropriate touching
"There are too many who take advantage of a model's young age and use this to their self-satisfaction. I was once shooting a lookbook where the stylist, helping me dress, used this chance to feel my body up much more than necessary and continued to do so throughout the entire shoot. Countless times have I had to undress in undesirable public situations, but even now I can remember the disgusting feel of this man’s hands tracing my body." —Fernanda Ly
2. Exhausting working conditions
"During London Fashion Week 2016, I felt dizzy and sick at a 90-minute static presentation. I went off the stage and told the casting director that I [couldn't] keep going, because otherwise I might faint, while another model was throwing up three feet away from me. She told me I have to go onstage otherwise I [wouldn't get] paid. I wasn't paid anyway." —Sidney Gaston
3. Prejudiced clients
"I got a semi-exclusive for an A-list show with an opening guarantee during my first season in Paris. When [the designer] found out I was transgender, something no one knows about to this day, they cancelled my booking; they somehow considered it a risk—that it would draw too much attention, something they thought would affect the brand negatively: A very doubtful decision, especially considering that I was [then] an unknown, new face." —Anonymous
4. Backwards thinking
"Sometimes, because I have a walk that exudes attitude, or because I represent the diversity the industry needs, that in itself gets me declined jobs and should frankly be the opposite. Naomi [Campbell] mentioned in 2012 that the industry is only moving backwards. Change needs to happen, and models should be treated fairly, as human beings." —Anonymous
5. Insane working hours
"It’s pretty normal to wait for a very long time for bigger brands. For the first big show I walked, I waited about 17 hours for the fitting." —Anonymous
6. Body-image issues
"The agency said that they loved me but wanted me to lose a little weight, and they gave me a month to do it and then resend digitals. And so I lost a lot of weight in a short time and just got obsessed with it after that. I became anorexic and was extremely underweight, passing out in rehearsals. After the month, they never got back to me and my mother agent. Since then, my weight has fluctuated so much because of how poorly I treated my body." —Anonymous
7. Stress-induced health problems
"I started modeling when I was 13 years old. Since the beginning, I was always told that I have too-big hips and thighs and that I should lose weight. I was never fat. I just have a larger pelvis and different bone structure from the other typical models. Since, I’ve always hated my body. I’ve never had anorexia or bulimia but I was starving myself from time to time. I guess I’ve developed body dysmorphia. I’ve realized this is a common problem which models have; I was chatting with other models who seemed to be even skinnier than me and they thought about themselves [as] how fat they were. I even had problems in my romantic relationship because I was insecure about my body shape and I didn’t love myself. Now at 18, I’m considering to quit [modeling]. Modeling psychically destroyed me, I’ve also experienced hair loss and heart arrhythmia caused by stress. I’ve decided that I’ve had enough. I’ve wasted so much time thinking about my weight that I’ve lost the person who I was before." —Petra Zatkova
8. Lack of appropriate compensation
"A lot of work and expense comes directly from the models and their pockets. I would say my experience as a model has been hard work with little payoff. Being confirmed for three months, then dropped the day before without compensation, is annoying, stressful, and a bit unprofessional—we have to eat and live, too! A huge improvement in the industry would be if casting directors and clients recognized that [models] are humans, too. Proper communication is key; being honest from the start is very crucial to everyone being happy." —Anonymous
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.