One Model’s Resistance To the Dark Side of the Fashion Industry

Photography Credits: Robert Sakowski

International model Jazz Egger has been featured in Cosmopolitan, Refinery29, Daily Mail, Business Insider, and Elite Daily for re-captioning her Instagram photos with #TruthBehindThisShot. She revealed the dark side of the fashion industry by giving followers insight about her less-than glamorous experiences during photo shoots and the pressures of social media.  SincerelyMC followed up with Jazz to learn more about her experiences and her message of spreading authentic and truthful media, self-love, and body confidence. 

What first inspired you to become a model? How did you break into the industry?

I started modeling at the age of 14 to work myself up in order to be able to change the industry from the inside out one day. I never really wanted to stand in front of cameras and walk catwalks, but I knew I had to gain my voice to have people listening to what I have to say. Of course, it might take years to change this industry, but I know it can be done.

I remember when a scout messaged me on Facebook in 2012 to ask if I wanted to take part in one of the biggest modeling contests in the world. I questioned everything  — especially myself, but in the end, I said yes because I felt (and I still feel) that you have to follow a system to break it in some way. I ended up in the finals of the contest and was fortunate enough to sign my first modeling contract.

Describe the modeling and fashion industry in three adjectives.

Manipulative – Powerful – Massive.

I think these words don’t need any explanation.

What are some of your experiences with the dark side of the modeling industry?

 I think my latest article describes that pretty well. Have a look:

“For example, I’ve had some photographers tell me to change in front of them because “it’s what professional models do”. They’ve also made me take off my bra because “it’s distracting in the portrait”. I’ve even had photographers message me late at night to “come over” to their place or even promise me modeling gigs if I let them “do things”.

And it’s not just photographers. It’s agencies themselves, too. They’ve told me to lose weight and get a nose job. I’ve had to fight to get my paycheck — and sometimes never get money transferred into my bank account. They’d schedule outdoor bikini or underwear shoots in the winter when it’s -5 degrees.

I’ve had agencies make me dye my hair and then fire me for doing it.

Agents aren’t always your friend, either. When my aunt passed away and I needed to go home for her funeral, a former agent of mine said she should’ve never signed me while I was crying in front of her, asking if we could schedule the shoot earlier to fit my travel time.

Agencies would also send me to fashion events and my agents would encourage me to flirt with high ranking executives of a big magazine and “do whatever it takes” for him to “like” me.

This led to mental breakdowns at school, fainting spells thanks to starving myself to get ready for shoots….

What would you say to teenagers who see your photos or other model’s photos and feel less than?

One of my main goals is to have people question what they see online. I’m trying to achieve that by showing the truth behind my modelling pictures. I hope that there won’t be any people feeling bad after seeing my pictures — I want to achieve the opposite. But to those who feel bad after seeing perfectly retouched pictures in magazines, online, on tv and on billboards, I would like to say it always takes hours of preparation before they publish pictures and the background stories are often crazy and ridiculous.

But I’m not only about educating. I’m also about teaching self-love. Our society is so f*cked up. It’s not the fault of the people who struggle with self-love… it’s the system’s fault. So, to get back to your question. Here’s what I would say:

You are so much more than what the world expects you to be. Don’t let anyone tell you who to be or what to look like. Look into the mirror and embrace your scars, wrinkles, curves, and all the special features of your face that make you you. If there were no so-called “imperfections,” there would be no life. Imagine looking into a doll’s face. It might look pretty, but it doesn’t tell any stories. It always makes me sad when people say they have trouble loving themselves when they have every right to do so. You are perfect and please never wish to look exactly like someone else. You are way too beautiful to do that. Imagine a field of flowers: they are all different, but all perfect in their very own way. It’s the same with humans. We only need to realize it.

What must we as consumers, fans, and readers do to help bring more realness to the industry?

Question EVERYTHING. Question everything you see. Next time you catch yourself thinking “Man I wish I looked more like…” STOP and remind yourself that whenever there’s light, there is also shadow. And it’s not only about looks. It’s about the media in general. Take headlines… Do you really think it has to be true just because a Million people on the Internet say it is? Oh hell no. Question! Question as much as possible and as often as you can.

Is there anything else you would like to say to young people?

Photo by Flemming Skov Pedersen

Believe in yourself. Sounds pretty lame, huh? But let me tell you: That’s how all great things start. Whatever you want to achieve in life, it all starts with the first step. You don’t need someone to believe in you in order to believe in yourself. It’s okay to feel down or to lose motivation; as long as you get up and KICK ASS after you’ve regained energy. Sure, beginnings are hard. But you need to start in order to become good, or even brilliant.

Life can be pretty scary, but as long as you have that focus in life, that one goal in front of your eyes – you will be able to achieve it. No matter if your goal is climbing the Mount Everest or simply finding the courage to love yourself. You can do it if you truly believe in yourself. I promise.

Thank you to Jazz Egger for this brilliant and eye-opening interview!


Mary Claire is a 17 year old student and writer who loves politics, campfire smores, traveling, classic movies, and new music.

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