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A Sizable Change to Body Image

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Models are portrayed as people who have perfect bodies, but that couldn’t be further from the truth, according to sophomore model Ellie Hathaway.

“I think everyone feels self-conscious about their body, me included,” Hathaway said. “Even models get that sort of stereotypical skinny girl, perfect look, but it’s not like that at all.”

Currently working with her own personal agent, Hathaway got her start modeling two years ago when she lived in Seattle. She has modeled for about two years. Freshman Tess McMillan has modeled for about a year and got into the industry when her mom’s friends started needing models for their art. Both McMillan and Hathaway want to turn their modeling jobs into a professional career when they are older.

“I definitely want to continue modeling when I am older,” McMillan said. “My favorite part of modeling is getting my makeup done, and that sounds really girly, but I like it because I feel just really glamorous.”

Hathaway has her favorite part of modeling as well.

“I love the different clothes, and when you get a really fun and great photographer and crew, it’s really fun to work with them,” Hathaway said.

Common stereotypes can be found in modeling too, Hathaway said.

“I think the most common stereotype would be the super-skinny, almost anorexic and starving yourself just to model,” Hathaway said. “It definitely does not have to be like that. I don’t starve myself. You watch what you eat, but I don’t starve myself.  I know a lot of models that don’t, and most models don’t. So that’s a very untrue stereotype.”

McMillan said she doesn’t want the modeling industry to control who she is. However, the amount of requirements the agency makes Hathaway follow becomes stricter and stricter a few weeks before the shoot.

“For about two weeks before the shoot, you drink a lot of water and do a lot of de-toxes,” Hathaway said. “And then about a week before you really limit eating. Although I don’t starve myself, I really limit what I eat. Mostly just fruits and vegetables and juices, and then about 12 hours before you only have water. It’s really hard physically for me because I’m on sports teams. My energy really lowers, and you’re not eating a lot. Plus, you’re just really not that happy because your calorie intake is so low.”

Her body doesn’t thank her for this super-dieting, Hathaway said.

“I’ve wanted to quit a few times because I have just been so hungry,” Hathaway said, “and after some shoots I will just go get ice cream right after or brownies or something.”         

Hathaway said it can be hard for her to understand why she has to diet so much. 

“Physically, when I have to diet so much, I am very hungry and really tired,” Hathaway said. “And mentally it is tough sometimes because you are thinking, ‘When I was hired by them I was eating more and they liked me then.’ And then sometimes you are thinking, ‘Why I am doing this? Why am I dieting and limiting my eating?’ I guess you just kind of have to get over that and tell yourself that it’s only for a week and it’s really no big deal.”

Cutting down on food intake by a large amount is a huge stereotype regarding models, McMillan said.

“I don’t think that there is just one ideal type of beauty. It’s super-unfortunate that in this industry you have to be just one thing and that’s it,” McMillan said. “It also leaves out like a lot of beautiful bodies and faces. So yeah, I’m really focused on it not controlling my life. I have thought about body image a lot in modeling. I know that regarding modeling there’s just an image that you kind of have to be, and I don’t want that to control my life. I’m definitely not going to stop eating.”

Models in the industry find themselves comparing themselves to other models, Hathaway said.

“It’s interesting because the more I get into it, the more I compare myself to other models,” Hathaway said. “I’ll compare myself in pictures to other models and stuff. You absolutely compare yourself to other models in other pictures.”

Hathaway says when she goes back to look at her photos later on, the frustration sets in as she sees how much they have been Photoshop.

“It’s tough every now and then looking at the Photoshop pictures because you think, they hired me when they saw me in person and that’s what they wanted,” Hathaway said. “Well, now they go and change all the pictures and whatnot, and you know that it happens. And sometimes they don’t change it much, which is great, and you’ll think to yourself, ‘This is awesome. I look like myself!’ But then when they do change it so much you think, ‘Well, it doesn’t even look like me, so why did they even ask me?’ So it can be really tough that way.”

A law was recently passed in France to have a required minimum weight for models to comply with. Hathaway said it would be a good idea to pass a similar law here in the United States.

“I think there should definitely be a law for minimum weight,” Hathaway said, “because for someone to take it that far and starve themselves to death is crazy. I think there should be a minimum weight, 100 percent.”

McMillan said no one has the perfect body.

“I’ve learned that nobody is perfect and you can never be perfect and you can never have the perfect body,” McMillan said, “and there really isn’t a perfect body because there are so many different types of bodies.”

Her advice to models just starting out is simple.

“Don’t change who you are, mentally. And don’t change the way you look, physically, just to model,” Hathaway said, “because in a year or two you’re going to be out and it’s not going into be worth it. Don’t change who you are. Don’t change who you want to be.”

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A Sizable Change to Body Image