Australia’s Top Model contestant Ashlea Monigatti was told she had to loss weight. She is a 16 year old girl, at 175cm, weighing around 62kg. In my eyes, she is the perfect healthy specimen. To the judges she doesn’t cut it to becoming a professional catwalk model.
Now lets be real. Not everybody is built to be a PROFESSIONAL CATWALK MODEL.
A sporting athlete must be physically fit and gifted with certain physical traits – not everybody is tall enough to play professional basketball, not everybody has be lungs to run a marathon. If you don’t train your body and exercise regular, you won’t have the physique to perform at a professional sporting level.
A body builder must be muscular – not everybody has the genetic makeup of Arnold. But for those striving to become a professional body builder, constant weight lifting and proper dieting and supplements is a must to sculpt the body to perfection. The minimum standard is to have a muscular build and strong frame. You won’t find Homer Simpson competing in a body building contest.
An accountant and actuarial must be good with numbers – not everybody has the mathematical brains and number skills to work the tax system and calculate probabilities and premiums for insurance companies.
A swimsuit model must be curvy – not everybody has the curves to be a swimsuit model. The busty breast, the firm buttocks and the flat abs is something most of us don’t have. We can all go to the beach with our bikinis, but on a professional level where calendars are made and advertising budgets are high, the pressure is on to have a desirable body.
Cover Girls must be beautiful and pretty – beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but not everybody is beautiful in the eyes of the general public.
CATWALK models must be tall and thin – not everybody is over 170cm, a size 8 and less than 55kg. If you don’t even meet this minimum entry level requirement, then you’re better off working behind a desk.
Ashlea says……“Right now, I’m a [size] 9-10… I wouldn’t call myself fat and have never thought of myself as a curvy girl because, compared to everyone else that I go to school with, I’m normal. “I also didn’t realise how skinny the other contestants would be,” she continues. “They were all tiny and I felt fat in the house. I knew that I had chunkier legs than the other girls and I felt less comfortable when it was pointed out.”
Sacrifices will need to be made if success is to be achieved in any field. If you want to make it as a professional catwalk model, then you better stop complaining when judges say you have to “loss some of the baby fat”. If she wants to maintain her weight at 62kg, then she may consider modeling for Kmart and Target catalogs, but she sure isn’t cut out for the high end of catwalk modeling.
Off course there are always exceptions, but there are standards and rules which every participant must abide by in any professional industry. Modeling is not a game, it’s a profession. There are rules and requirements just like every other profession, and it should be treated seriously and professionally.
Now since this contestant is only 16 years of age, I beg to question whether she’s even fully aware of type of industry she is getting herself into. 16 in my opinion is too young. I don’t believe she has developed the mental capacity to make a informed and mature decision for herself, and in my opinion, the entry age should be at least 19 or better yet 21.
Instead of condemning the fashion code, I think educating these young girls is the key. Considering teenage suicide is one of the main leading causes of death for teens, the modeling and fashion industry is walking on a fine line when placing so much emphasize on body weight and body image. Catwalk models like athletes are role models for children that both reflect and shape societies perceptions of the body.
– Educating young girls that the modeling industry is not only about glamor and fame or fun and games.
– Educating young girls that there is a healthy thin weight and there is an unhealthy anorexic skeletal weight.
– Letting them know that the extreme of either side of the weight bracket (overweight or underweight) does enormous damage to your health.
– Building self-esteem and teaching young kids to learn to love themselves the way they are.
– Letting them know the darker side of modeling (drugs, sex, betrayal…… but i guess you get all that working in an office. Office politics is quite dark as well)
Every professional industry has its pros and cons, but sacrifices will need to be made if you want to make a name for yourself. Before entering through the jungle, you want to make an educated and well informed decision coming out with no regrets. Sadly, many of these young girls entering the modeling industry don’t know what they are getting themselves into.
Article contributed by Amanda Cartwright