Ugly side of modelling world - Metro US

Ugly side of modelling world

The lawsuit launched by a Vancouver woman against a top Hollywood talent agency is raising questions about the behind-the-scenes workings of the modelling industry.

Claire Robinson, who was Miss British Columbia 2004, is suing International Creative Management (ICM), alleging she was sexually assaulted and exploited. ICM denies the charges.

In light of the lawsuit, Metro asked three Vancouver models to offer their insight. Sarah Karst, 25, a model/actress, said the profession leaves women vulnerable. As an 18-year-old she was left alone at a late-night shoot with a photographer in Milan.

After insisting on driving her home, the photographer placed his hand on her knee. “I was asking myself whether or not I could jump out of the car safely,” said Karst. When confronted by her agent, the photographer accused Karst of flirting with him.

On the other hand, Narda Singh, a retired commercial model, said it’s not unheard of for some to use sex to get ahead. “You have to be realistic about how far you will go to become a star,” Singh said. “You shouldn’t have to change yourself. You either have it or you don’t.”

Taylor Hobbs, 20, said some unreputable agencies charge for expensive portfolios upfront, suggesting to models that this guarantees work. “People promise to give you things, but you never get anywhere,” Hobbs said. “The whole business is like that.”

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