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Fashion Models Take Tumble During Tough Economic Times

naomi_450x438.thumbnail.jpgEven the really pretty, popular girls are feeling the pinch–and instead of their flesh, it’s the pennies that are getting squeezed tightly.  Yes, because demand is down, fashion models have been forced to take a cut in pay, with rates dropping almost 30% in some cases! 

There was a collective model industry gasp when Miami’s venerably sexy Irene Marie Models–featured on the MTV series 8th and Ocean–closed its doors in February; they repped close to 1,500 models. The agency cited a 90% fall off in business during 2008–and Irene Marie isn’t the only agency feeling leaner times.

Neal Hamil, director of Elite Model Management North America–which has become a household name by awarding contracts to winning contestants from America’s Next Top Model and repping many familar faces says:

We have to make adjustments in the business right now, as we are a service business. There’s definitely less work out there.

According to Advertising Age retail sales of clothes, make up and fragrance have declined, meaning less revenue for manufacturers and less money for ads:

 Ad pages in Condé Nast’s high-fashion magazines W and Vogue were down 24.5% in the fourth quarter of 2008.

With fewer pages of ads and fewer pages of fashion layouts (which let’s face it, are basically ads), fewer models get gigs. While it’s easy to laugh about models getting less work and say

Oh well, at least they already know how eat less, they won’t starve,

for every model making $10K a day, there are hundreds if not thousands not getting booked. Okay, whatever on one hand,  why pay anyone 10K a day just because a genetic soup makes their cheekbones look really good on camera? But their unemployment both reflects and affects the economy, from magazine writers to garment workers, from to salesclerks to the guy rents the studio for shoots and all the people hired to work on them…

Pity the poor fashion model
Designed for cosset and coddle
But her sad fall
Should concern us all
As the economy continues to dawdle

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Lisa Derrick

Lisa Derrick

Los Angeles native, attended UC Berkeley and Loyola Marymount University before punk rock and logophilia overtook her life. Worked as nightclub columnist, pop culture journalist and was a Hollywood housewife before writing for and editing Sacred History Magazine. Then she discovered the thrill of politics. She also appears frequently on the Dave Fanning Show, one of Ireland's most popular radio broadcasts.