I'm A Professional Model And TRUST Me — It's Not Always As Glamorous As It Looks

Photo: instagram / @jazzegger
Why Model Jazz Egger Started The Truth Behind This Shot Campaign
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It might take years to change this industry, but I know it can be done.

I basically sell my body for a living — but not in the way you think. I’m a professional model. That means my entire body is used to advertise clothes.

You might think that this living, breathing clothes hanger must live a glamorous life. But contrary to public belief, the life of a model is fairly mundane. We go to castings, attend photo shoots, walk the runway, go to fittings, and work out. It’s a career and we treat it as such. We’re expected to be professionals and we expect people who work with us to be professionals.

Well, that wasn’t the case this particular time.

It happened in Munich a couple of weeks ago. I canceled all my appointments and rescheduled my timetable to organize and shoot this one particular music video for a band that I absolutely love.

We ended up shooting beyond schedule and I had to stay an extra night in Germany to finish it. When I got back to the model apartment, I was so totally exhausted, I crawled into bed and fell asleep with what I wore that night.

Well, that morning, I saw on my phone I had multiple missed calls from my agent — he had even come to the apartment and knocked on the front door. I didn’t know there were three shoots scheduled in the studio of my model apartment and that they didn’t have the keys to enter it. I called my agent, who practically shouted over the phone that I ended up missing a meet with two big clients and that I missed out on multiple castings he had organized for me. I apologized profusely.

He gave me an hour to pack and leave the apartment.

I was overcome with guilt and I felt anxious and worried because I messed up big time. At least there was that music video, right? Wrong.

Fast forward a few weeks when the video edits were just about due. I received a Snap from the videographer asking me if I wanted to see his [penis].

His [penis].

I couldn’t believe he had actually asked me if I wanted to see his junk.

 

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I quickly gathered my wits and responded in the calmest way possible.

“Could we get back to being professional, please?”

A day later, I gathered enough courage to email him asking for the final version of the music video. I didn’t receive a reply from him, so I emailed him again. Turns out after I asked him to act professionally, he blocked me on all forms of social media.

That meant no music video.

No music video for rejecting a man when I thought we were working as professionals.

It ended up that I had to apologize to the band for not being able to send them the finalized video.

I put all my creative passion and energy into this music video. I canceled important appointments just to have the opportunity to shoot it. That videographer didn’t even have the balls to message the band himself to tell them why they won’t ever get to see the video to their song.

The videographer had sent me screenshots of the video before he got all weird and after he sent me that Snapchat message, I decided to post the screenshots to my Instagram. The caption was the story of the music video I have never seen. This ended up with some of my well-intentioned followers to message my agent.

My agent emailed me minutes later to say he will be terminating my modeling contract with them because of the Instagram post.

I didn’t understand. And I still don’t. Why am I getting punished for telling the truth? I clearly state in my Instagram caption that I was the one who organized the video shoot, so that should’ve taken the heat off the agency. I guess he was simply afraid the agency could get dragged into this “disaster”.

This isn’t the only time I’ve experienced situations like this.

For example, I’ve had some photographers tell me to change in front of them because “it’s what professional models do”. They’ve also made me take off my bra because “it’s distracting in the portrait”. I’ve even had photographers message me late at night to “come over” to their place or even promise me modeling gigs if I let them “do things”.

And it’s not just photographers. It’s agencies themselves, too. They’ve told me to lose weight and get a nose job. I’ve had to fight to get my paycheck — and sometimes never get money transferred into my bank account. They’d schedule outdoor bikini or underwear shoots in the winter when it’s -5 degrees.

I’ve had agencies make me dye my hair and then fire me for doing it.

Agents aren’t always your friend, either. When my aunt passed away and I needed to go home for her funeral, a former agent of mine said she should’ve never signed me while I was crying in front of her, asking if we could schedule the shoot earlier to fit my travel time.

Agencies would also send me to fashion events and my agents would encourage me to flirt with high ranking executives of a big magazine and “do whatever it takes” for him to “like” me.

 

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This led to mental breakdowns at school, fainting spells thanks to starving myself to get ready for shoots….

And through all of this, I would get hit on by producers and photographers. They would withhold photos and videos I worked on all because I didn’t want to see their [penises].

All of this is part of many reasons why I started #TruthBehindThisShot.

I started my hashtag a few months ago because I was sick of people thinking that everything about the fashion industry is full of only magic and glamour.

I used to spend up to 10 minutes thinking of the right captions to my Instagram posts. One day I decided to stop that bullshit and instead, just tell the truth by using my new hashtag. Turns out people were really into that.

I was very aware of the consequences that my #TruthBehindThisShot campaign could bring, but I was willing — and still am — to risk it all.

When my hashtag went viral, I received messages from people all over the world who wanted to thank me for speaking up and helping them with personal issues. That was absolutely amazing to me and I knew it was the right thing to do.

After a year with my mother agency, they terminated my modeling contract because I posted about how I experience the fashion industry.

I’m not going to stop.

I started modeling at the age of 14 to work myself up in order to be able to change the industry from the inside out one day. I never really wanted to stand in front of cameras and walk catwalks, but I knew I had to gain my voice to have people listening to what I have to say.

Of course, it might take years to change this industry, but I know it can be done.

For one, I think the industry is slowly changing and people are starting to open their minds to more real things. I mean, people are into truth. Take Dove’s beauty advertisements. People love that. Fake just isn’t IN anymore! If I can’t stay where I am right now, I will simply create new ways. When opportunities aren’t given, you have to go and create them.

However, I keep seeing new dark sides of the industry. I think there are still many crazy things that go on that I don’t know about. It’s not only about modeling itself but the impact it has on people, especially young men and women.

Models start at a very young age where they are still children. It’s about children growing up surrounded by perfect faces and bodies. How can they grow up loving themselves, loving their features when the media is telling them they all need to look a certain way in order to be successful?

I grew up reading fashion magazines and watching models on TV and on billboards. I was surrounded by perfect faces and “flawless” bodies. My middle school self did a bit of reading on what this constant exposure does to people like you and me. I learned that many people end up with some sort of disorder because of these crazy standards. I was shocked.

I remember when a scout messaged me on Facebook in 2012 to ask if I wanted to take part in one of the biggest modeling contests in the world. I questioned everything — I questioned myself, but in the end, I said yes because I felt (and I still feel) that you have to follow a system to break it in some way.

I ended up in the finals of the contest and was fortunate enough to sign my first modeling contract. I experienced firsthand how aspiring models were treated and I remember feeling sick to my stomach.

I receive tons of positive messages from people and I see people using #TruthBehindThisShot on Instagram. To me, that’s proof that people are longing for more realness in media.

I know it will take some time for the big fashion houses to finally wake up and put an end to what we should consider are ridiculous standards — after all, they are the ones who set the “rules”. I can only encourage the movement.

I hope more and more people will start to question everything they see in fashion magazines. If they believe in themselves, they don’t need someone to tell them what they’re supposed to look like.

And maybe one day, we won’t be seeing exclusively highly retouched photos of underweight models in campaigns. And instead, we’ll see real beauty. Natural beauty. Beauty with scars and birthmarks and tan lines and stretch marks and wrinkles and lots and lots of confidence and self-love.

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This article was originally published at Movie Time Guru. Reprinted with permission from the author.

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