Gorgeous models warm our hearts when they hit the catwalk; when we see them on the covers of magazines and on those catchy, gigantic billboards. They make us remember that ad on TV about a certain hand wash brand. However, did you know that models are some of the most exploited professionals in Kenya? Did you know that they go through the worst to be the best they can be?
From being swindled off their hard earned money to being molested, the Kenyan modeling scene is dramatic. However, what is most shocking is the widespread claims of sexual exploitation.
Not the entire industry is rotten. However there are a lot of model managers, booking agents, photographers and company heads that are misusing these young girls. They take advantage of the limited options that the aspiring models have.
Dorah, a model who has been in the industry for sometime, says that the love of art inspired her to be a model. She knows only too well the nitty-gritty involved in this venture.
“Good and bad. Good, I’ve had the chance to model for shows that I’ve always wanted to, and bad in a way that the payments don’t meet the work we put into those shows. We are paid peanuts most of the time…you rarely find shows that pay fairly”, she revealed.
Sexual exploitation is rampant and extremely serious. This can be highly attributed to the fact that there are no solid policies or unions to protect the rights of models. This is one of the biggest challenges in this industry.
“There’s only so much that any human can take and the exploitation is depressing. So, I’m concentrating on other stuff and maybe I’ll give it some other time,” she says.
When there is high pay for a certain project, then it comes with a cost. Dorah says that she was once approached by an Italian photographer for a nude art shoot, but it didn’t go well as expected. She was uncomfortable with the nature of the shoot and thus decided to pass on the opportunity to her friend.