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Recently my wife, Ella, brought home a copy of Vogue that she brought home from the Y. At $72.00 per year for the monthly copy at the news stand it is sure not cheap.

When I explored the magazine that is supposed to be the fashion epitome of the elite models. All of the expensive houses of good taste were represented. Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Cover Girl, Calvin Klein to name a few had full page photographs to extol their products.

I was taken back at the gaunt-like bodies of mostly young women posing for the camera. On the whole the majority of the pictures were devoid of any smiles and happiness.

Reminds me of the lyrics: ‘I’m too sexy. I am a model you know what I mean. I do my little turn on the cat walk, I am too sexy by far.’

Recently I had the opportunity to interview a real life New York fashion model. Serena is a very attractive tall, twenty-one year old high school graduate.’

She made me promise that I would use a fictitious name to conceal her identity. If the agency learned that she had told me her story she would never be able to acquire work modeling.

Her vital measurements: 6 ft one inch tall, bust 34, waist 24 but darn it her hips are way out of line. She told me that her career was on hold because her hip size had ballooned to 36 inches. Anything over the magic mandatory number 34 and the agents aren’t interested in promoting her.’

When Serena was fifteen years old the opportunity presented itself for her to attend the ‘Model & Talent Search Canada’ show that was held in Toronto.

Check out the London’s modeling schools web sites and you will find that they are eager to enroll girls at the tender age of ten to learn all about life skills, makeup & manicures

Off Serena went to the Sheraton Hotel/Toronto with her $500.00 entrance fee in her hand to get a chance to model bathing suits and evening attire on a runway for two days. Agents from New York & Paris were in attendance looking for that girl with that certain special look.

"The agents were searching for girls 5' 10 to 6ft in bare feet, skinny, long necks/legs, full lips & good skin. It sure helps if you are comfortable with your body and have a pleasing personality. The agents prefer their models to be young. There are absolutely no educational requirements. Male models are looked on merely as accessories to their female counterparts."

"There is no runway work in London. Toronto has casting calls. If you are lucky you receive & e mail from your agency to try out. If you are chosen there are the necessary photo shoots & fittings with no pay."

"A week-end of posing can earn a model $300.00 gross with her agency taking up to 30% of her pay".

"Every quarter inch on your hips can hurt your persona & thus your career opportunities. Many young women smoke marijuana /cigarettes and do cocaine to stay thin. Some girls are desperate enough to swallow cotton balls soaked in orange juice to fill their empty stomachs."

"Often up to ten models share run down apartments trying to pay the rent. Everyone seems to be poor chasing their dream with only 5% making a decent living."

Hard to have a positive self concept when you are told repeatedly that you are: "useless expensive hanger".

Recently Serena got her big chance to model for two days in New York City. In lieu of pay she was allowed to keep the clothes she modeled.

I called London’s own Diane Diachina for some advise She was in the fashion business for twenty years. Her advice: "look at modeling as a part time short lived gig to earn a little extra money. Get a college/university education. Remember the fashion business is a tough meat market were very few find success"

Perhaps the unhealthy impossible magazine model photo images contribute to many teenaged girls false concept of what they are supposed to imitate to be happy and successful.

Many of my young women age 16-19 complain of the stress of wanting to be perfect. Perfection has it’s price causing lack of sleep and in the end a poor concept.

Does Serena’s sad story sound familiar? Please drop me an email.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com