Model Jazz Egger speaks out on sexual harassment in the fashion industry
COMMENT: I basically sell my body for a living — but not in the way you think. I'm a professional model. That means my entire body is used to advertise clothes. You might think that this living, breathing clothes hanger must live a glamorous life. But contrary to public belief, the life of a model is fairly mundane. We go to castings, attend photo shoots, walk the runway, go to fittings, and work out. It's a career and we treat it as such. We're expected to be professionals and we expect people who work with us to be professionals.
Well, that wasn't the case this particular time.
It happened in Munich a couple of weeks ago. I cancelled all my appointments and rescheduled my timetable to organise and shoot this one particular music video for a band that I absolutely love.
We ended up shooting beyond schedule and I had to stay an extra night in Germany to finish it. When I got back to the model apartment, I was so totally exhausted, I crawled into bed and fell asleep in what I wore that night.
The following morning, I saw on my phone I had multiple missed calls from my agent — he had even come to the apartment and knocked on the front door. I didn't know there were three shoots scheduled in the studio of my model apartment and that they didn't have the keys to enter it. I called my agent, who practically shouted over the phone that I ended up missing a meeting with two big clients and that I missed out on multiple castings he had organised for me. I apologised profusely.
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He gave me an hour to pack and leave the apartment.
I was overcome with guilt and I felt anxious and worried because I messed up big time. At least there was that music video, right? Wrong.
Fast forward a few weeks when the video edits were just about due. I received a Snapchat from the videographer asking me if I wanted to see his d***.
I couldn't believe he had actually asked me if I wanted to see his junk.
I quickly gathered my wits and responded in the calmest way possible.
"Could we get back to being professional, please?"
A day later, I gathered enough courage to email him asking for the final version of the music video. I didn't receive a reply from him, so I emailed him again. Turns out after I asked him to act professionally, he blocked me on all forms of social media.
That meant no music video.
No music video for rejecting a man when I thought we were working as professionals.
I put all my creative passion and energy into this music video. I cancelled important appointments just to have the opportunity to shoot it. That videographer didn't even have the guts to message the band himself to tell them why they won't ever get to see the video to their song.
The videographer had sent me screenshots of the video before he got all weird. After he sent me that Snapchat message, I decided to post the screenshots to my Instagram. The caption was the story of the music video I have never seen.
My agent emailed me minutes later to say he would be terminating my modelling contract because of the Instagram post.
I didn't understand. And I still don't. Why am I getting punished for telling the truth? I clearly state in my Instagram caption that I was the one who organised the video shoot, so that should've taken the heat off the agency. I guess he was simply afraid the agency could get dragged into this "disaster".
Okay but why am I a redhead when stepping into sunlight 😂 I have like three different hair colours depending on light influence. Kinda cool bc when there's a casting call saying they need a blonde, a brunette and a redhead I can apply for all three roles 🤗 However, who's from Hamburg or Vienna? Because I'm coming! ⚡️let me know x
This isn't the only time I've experienced situations like this.
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 modelling 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.
Agencies would send me to fashion events and encourage me to flirt with high ranking executives.
This led to mental breakdowns at school and fainting spells from not eating enough to prepare for shoots.
I would get hit on by producers and photographers. They would withhold photos and videos I worked on if I didn't reciprocate.
These are among the reasons why I started #TruthBehindThisShot.
#truthbehindthisshot PART 2: Swipe to see the UNRETOUCHED version of the picture. Even the eyes are fake in this shot, not even my real ones. The person you see on the first picture does not exist. Question everything you see, nothing is as it seems. (To see the ultimate truth click link in bio) . . . photography: @vandehart_photography retouching: @randbezyrk styling: @powderandbrush video: fakano films (note: high saturation and noise may appear bc of converting reasons and have nothing to do with the retoucher's work)
I was sick of people thinking that the fashion industry was full of only magic and glamour.
I used to spend up to 10 minutes thinking of the right captions for my Instagram posts. One day I decided to stop that bull**** and instead, just tell the truth. Turns out people were really into that.
I was very aware of the consequences that my #TruthBehindThisShot campaign could bring, but I was willing — and still am — to risk it all.
When my hashtag went viral, I received messages from people all over the world who wanted to thank me for speaking up and helping them with personal issues.
After a year with my mother agency, they terminated my modelling contract because I posted about how I experience the fashion industry.
I'm not going to stop.
Jazz Egger is a model based between London and Beverly Hills. This is an extract from a piece originally published on Medium.