Our story started a few years ago when our founder was stuck at home recovering from a broken back and surgery. Without being able to work, he ended up watching a documentary about the dark side of the modeling industry. One that showed how anybody, you, me, or anyone we know, could set up a website, steal some photos, dress up nicely, and go out into the world pretending to be a scout or an agent. How these people would travel to poor countries and take advantage of vulnerable kids, sometimes for work, sometimes for exploitation, and sometimes for human trafficking. All by just offering them a modeling career. Part of the horror was that their parents would sometimes give their blessings, since they believed these people. They were essentially dooming their own kids to a life in prostitution and exploitation.
The first thought was simple; Why wasn’t more being done to stop this, was it just a third world problem, perhaps there was no money in a solution? But then we looked at the Western world, and it is certainly not just a third world problem. In the US – one of the best regulated markets in the world – almost 1/3 of all professional models have been forced to have sex with someone at work. 1/3 of professional models in the US… just thinking of what it might be like for non-professional models in less safe countries, is terrifying. It is out-of-control. It is a global problem. One of the major problems is that they start out so young, often only at 15-16. At that age you don’t have any real-life experience, don’t know how to handle oneself, what to do, what’s correct or not. They are extremely vulnerable for exploitation. The power imbalance between older, more authoritative industry figures and a young, vulnerable and inexperienced kid is immense.
And so with a clear global problem we started thinking… can’t something be done about this? In our day and age, with the technology we have at our disposal? Can’t we use some of this technology to find some solutions? Now, we have a lot experience from outsourcing, having managed over 70 international projects, and hiring people from across the globe – essentially just via the internet. All you really need to know in these situations is that the person you are talking to is that person, and that their reviews and references are real and reliable. And therein lay the first key to our solution. Transparency.
Transparency is so important because without it exploiters can continue exploiting because they know they can get away with it. That there are no consequences. Knowing this we set about designing a safe work eco-system for the modeling industry. With a range of fantastic ideas, the help of an accomplished team and great backing from fantastic organisations we were on our way. So our story began.
By combining unique technological ideas, training, pro-bono lawyers, special feedback systems, anonymous reporting and much more we are now creating a revolutionary new eco-system. A system which is designed from the bottom up with the user’s safety and success in mind. A system with the potential to revolutionize our industry.
The first part of that system is our fantastic training program. A program designed to empower young people, models and influencers, to teach them how to stand up for themselves, stay safe and become successful in our digital and global age.
May the story continue.