Fernanda Ly Reveals On-Set Harassment
MODEL Fernanda Ly has spoken out about an encounter with a stylist during a photoshoot, during which she says the man in question exploited the vulnerable position she found herself in while getting changed to “feel my body up much more than necessary”.
“There are too many who take advantage of a model’s young age and use this to their self satisfaction,” said Ly. “A regular, normal-minded human should not be attempting to prey on a girl who is there to work and is afraid of speaking up (as being someone ‘hard to work with’ may cost you a job). 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.”
Her comments have been published as a part of an editorial survey on Models.com, for which 22 models were asked to answer the question: “How do you, the model, want to be treated?” Out of the 22, 13 preferred to make their contribution anonymously, presumably wary of possible repurcussions. Ly was joined by Jay Wright, Emily Butcher, Ekaterina Ozhiganova, Margherita Tondelli, Cailin Hill Araki, Sidney Gaston, Petra Zatkova and Wyomi in allowing their name to be published alongside their comments.
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In addition to her revelation about how she was mistreated, Ly also gave an articulate account of the reality that a lot of young models find themselves in when their dreams of becoming the next big supermodel don’t come to fruition.
“Success arrives exponentially as a model, however once your time is up, you are thrown away like used goods as another model comes to take your place instantly,” she said. “There are models who are trapped in very long, slave-like contract periods with very little to show for it. I personally know of many who receive almost no money after tax, agency commission, and conversion rates: These girls were fed dreams that instead became nightmares as agency debt piled up; who else is to pay for constant travel, accommodation, food, language classes, comp cards building up, but the model? These girls that I know of have, not surprisingly, disappeared from the industry only to return to their remote village without their promised success.”
The survey comes shortly after one of the most controversial issues to hit Fashion Week in years happened in February, when model casting agent James Scully elected to name and shame brands and individuals accused of mistreating models, specifically – allegedly – at a Balenciaga casting. One of the models who spoke with Models.com – but who opted for anonymity – revealed that she was present at the controversial casting.
“I was at that Balenciaga casting that has brought up the recent conversations, and it definitely wasn’t nice, but I didn’t think it was that exceptionally bad because it’s a fact that 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.”
Read the full accounts from the models here.