In the midst of New York Fashion Week, I went on a big fashion website, fashionista.com, to find out what was happening. One of the first articles I saw was “Kanye West and Kim Kardashian Sit Front Row at Marchesa’s Gorgeous India Inspired Spring 2013 Show”. I read the short summary, filled with descriptions of the glamour of the occasion. I could not help but think that the reason “glamour” was thrown around so much was because the article was about everything except the models.
Before I went on this website, I watched an Op-Doc on the New York Time’s website titled “Scouted”. David Redmon and Ashley Sabin followed around Ashley Arbaugh, a scout for aspiring models in Siberia. In “Scouted” there is a lot of focus on Masha, a 13-year-old girl from rural Sibera. She ends up getting high rankings because she fits the criteria: raw, fresh, “untouched by the world”, thirteen, does not yet have a mind of her own and easy to control. It is gross that such young girls are viewed in such a way that costs them their childhood and independence, and more gross that the scouters are fully aware of what they are doing.
Masha’s mom is interviewed, and openly appears uncomfortable by this process without admitting it. She knows the dangers that Masha could end up in debt or prostitution. The majority of girls are not paid or paid in clothes placing them in debt. Masha’s mom fidgets with her hair and hands, clearly not wanting to reveal the whole truth. She knows Masha may live a better life, but she may also live a worse one.
I am happy Arbaugh let this documentary happen. The video puts a life with the girls, and they are no longer just people who wear clothes down a runway. Unless a model works for Victoria’s Secret, they are not very well known so it is hard to figure out their story. Now I cannot help but wonder which models have gone through this ugly side of modeling.
I knew that scouting in rural places were taking place and I knew that many times it was a trick to put girls into forced prostitution. My question is, knowing the risks, why do the hundreds of girls still show up? They don’t have to. No one is forcing them to be in the cold room for hours, no one is forcing them to travel away from home or be viewed as someone to be controlled.
I think the girls show up because when people want to believe something so much, they will overlook anything that would prevent them from realizing their belief. The girls want to live a better and more glamorous life as a fashion model and are willing to overlook the prospect of being controlled or left behind. The Marchesa article I read behaves the same way. To talk about the models’ stories would damage this world of “glamorous” clothes, people, venues and parties. We have a tendency of looking over the unsettling parts of life, but “Scouted” forces us to look at one of those situations.