Runway models
Runway models

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Modelling has become one of those professions most young girls and boys in and out of Cameroon aspire to join. If you walk to most schools today, you will hear the children tell you they want to be models be it runway models, beauty models, fashion models, photography models etc. Most however, want to be known as runway models which IS all about trends, style and idealized vision of beauty and glamour.

But, little do people or most of these aspiring models know about the discipline and challenges that pros have to endure in order to be in the business and keep doing what they do. Most of these things however go a long way to have some negative effects on their health both physically and mentally.

I put up this article for both parties, that is, the older models who are already in the profession to act  as a form of reawakening and also for the teenagers who are thinking of joining the industry to prepare themselves physically, mentally and emotionally to handle everything that comes with this profession because this particular subject has been proposed by many and I don’t really know why but I think the profession is revolutionising and many are getting it so it’s just cool that they know what they’re getting into. So below are some of the challenges models go through.

  1. Unhealthy weight control practices which leads to eating disorders and loss of appetite. This is one of those things models suffer from. They’re told not to eat certain types of food just so that they don’t grow fat, grow out of shape, or probably add some pounds. And having these unhealthy weight control practices and eating disorders and loss of appetite can cause gastritis because you have to skip meals at times, or eat just once or eat little. Now eating disorders doesn’t only come with gastritis because you skip some meals, it goes way beyond that and expect to suffer from;
  • Severe Dehydration which could lead to kidney failure
  • Abnormal slow  heart rate and very low blood pressure
  • Fainting, fatigue, and weaknesses,
  • Muscle loss and weaknesses
  • Dry hair and skin etc
  1.   Severe back pain and sprained ankles. This is so common especially with runway models who have to catwalk on stage looking very thin but putting on shoes as tall as from 10 inches and above which is quite disturbing. This is in that, your weight is not evenly distributed, as in all your weight goes down to your legs to carry more than the normal weight it has to carry. And you can never detect what’s going to happen to you and seriously when you fall on those heels, you hurt your ankles so badly. With the back pain,  it’s not strange that heels help to shift your spine forward from its original position just so that you can balance, the shifting of your spine, will definitely cause you to have severe back pain after shows.

3. Sexual abuse. This is a  topic many refuse to talk about but like it or not, this happens in the modeling industry. I’ve seen girls who look beautiful, slim and who can definitely rock the runway and other areas of modeling but they refuse to do so, and when I ask why? Same answer they give me, they don’t want to sleep with anyone to go to the top. This is disturbing and I just wish the law in every country tries to look into this because it’s growing by the day and since these  models want to earn a living, become famous and popular, they try to cover up these things but it’s killing them silently inside. No one needs to be abused just so that they get to the top. And a study by Model Alliance proved that 80% of models experience sexual harassment. And these people who do it, are so comfortable and forget the effects its having on these models though they don’t say it. They are not well both physically, mentally and this in the long term will disturb their health. These are some of the things they suffer from.

  •  Depression and anxiety
  • Poor self esteem and Body Image. They feel like they’re not good enough that’s why they have to be abused to be given stages
  • Insomnia. Many stay up at night thinking about the act continuously and don’t sleep. And lack of sleep is bad for the health because you’re stressed out, sleep disappears and this comes with long term effects
  • Out of control stress hormones pop up. Cortisol is a well known stress hormone that in found in the body which is released each time we’re stressed, depressed or too anxious. Cortisol dysregulation is bad for the heart.
  • We become locked up and have bad relationships out of our own built walls. Many victims begin to see human beings different with so much hatred in them.
  • PTSD also known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. People who have suffered from sexual harassment can suffer from things like anxiety, flashbacks, stomach problems, panic attack etc.
  1. Low self esteem issues or problems which lead to depression, anxiety which leads to a mental issue. A model once revealed that in that industry, you have so many haters and other ideas. Many will tell you to do this and that to get to the top, others will shame your body that it’s not perfect and many other things. This goes a long way to disturb models psychologically as they always want to meet up and be the best and to get criticism always is just disturbing. And when depression and anxiety sets in , as said earlier, cortisol is being elased and this is hormone which controls your mood, motivation etc. A release of cortisol is dangerous for the body and also kills what motivates you.
  2. Modelling is demanding and entails a lot of work to get the right posture, the right steps when you’re on the runway and many others. This doesn’t only chop off time but it entails that models work for longer hours. Working up to 15 hours a day is bad for the health and this comes with a lot of negative effects;
  • Many lack sleep and always experience fatigue during the day
  • Turn to alcohol to relax themselves and their nerves which is the worst decision ever.
  • Your heart is overworking which in the future may lead to stroke, heart failure etc.
  • You will have serious joint pains, back and neck pains as well
  • Depression is easy to set in because you become a slave to your own self


Okay so here are some of the five challenges I gathered. But mind you, I’m not saying modeling is bad, I just want you to understand that as you celebrate it, or aspire to join, have it in mind that you have to face most of these thing and so you should prepare yourself before getting in, and if you’re in already and going through most of these, seek for advice and speak out.  It’s very important.

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