It's a sad time in the model world. Last week we sadly announced the suspected suicide of Tom Nicon and as discussed, the last year has seen the death of Daul Kim and the attempted suicide of Noémie Lenoir. Unfortunately, news broke on Friday of another death in the model world. Bollywood actress and Indian model Viveka Babajee allegedly hanged herself from a fan on the ceiling in her apartment. According to local newspapers, the 37 year-old suffered from severe depression.
As Jezebel's contributor Jenna Sauers said in an article last month, "Suicidal models are fashion's worst trend". All we can do now is hope that the trend does not continue.
When Jezebel's Jenna Sauers opened her email inbox to anyone with a sexual abuse allegation against Terry Richardson, she might not have expected the flood of stories she got. Although Richardson claims his innocence ("I don't like to exploit anybody. That's not my bag. Everyone has fun on my shoots."), an increasing number of members from all levels of the fashion industry are coming forward to say they've felt violated by the photographer, or that they know someone who has.
We had no idea where to start here, so consider these stories. First, a report from a woman who modelled in London in the late '90s: "I was booked on a Terry Richardson job for Arena Homme Plus. The shoot was at an amusement park, and I would estimate that there were 30 models in total [...] and we were told that all of us would be given an opportunity to shoot a cover try. Being familiar with Mr. Richardson's.....peccadillos, many of the models were eager to please; pleasing in this instance consisted primarily of pulling down pants, pulling up skirts, losing blouses, and a bit of finger sucking thrown in for good measure. It seemed painfully clear to me that the phantom lure of a cover try was sufficient reason for a handful of young women with waning career prospects to humiliate themselves in front of each other while Terry Richardson giggled, panted, said 'That's hot,' and pushed them further. During lunch, I approached him and asked him if he had any moral quandaries about exploiting the sad dreams of models who hadn't yet made it and probably never would. I asked him if he realized that they were enacting what they believed were his expectations and fantasies in order to gain his favor and hence gain a cover or a future booking. 'I don't really think about that stuff,' he told me. 'I guess you're smarter than me.'"