As a consumer of fashion magazines and a lover of most things fashion, my mood was seriously dampened after some recent exposure to the masked side of fashion.

As a petite person I can’t say I’ve had serious modeling dreams as a teenager since I literally stopped growing at age 12. But I do love fashion models, in their photoshopped glory, plastered all over Vogue and Vanity Fair. I guess what I chose to overlook, and what the fashion industry has tried to hide, was that many of these glamorous women doing glamorous things in glamorous fashion spreads are leading very unglamorous lives.

A new documentary called Picture Me, which will open in Manhattan and Los Angeles on September 24, is the brainchild of Sara Ziff, a former big time fashion model who walked and booked campaigns for some of the biggest names in fashion. The film explores the exploitative nature of the modeling industry and exposes some of the truly ugly underside to an industry that thrives on dreams and imagination.

I guess I am plugging this movie because I keep reading about young women who aspire to be fashion models without truly understanding the nature of this business. Time that could perhaps be better spent exploring new hobbies or discover hidden talents was wasted on this dream that could perhaps never be realized. Or a dream that, once realized, turns into a nightmare. 

Some people may feel that becoming a model is a choice and that if things get bad enough these models can always just quit. Most people might even feel completely unsympathetic toward the flight of these often underaged girls. After all, models are portrayed as being young and gorgeous and living the high life. But I personally have a difficult time continuing to support an industry built on broken dreams and wasted lives, I believe something can be done. What, though?

Here are some light reading material related to this post.

Gawker’s coverage of Picture Me

Jezebel’s coverage of the teenager modeling scam

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