Top models share their most BRUTAL rejections on ABC’s You Can’t Ask That
Top models from across Australia have lifted the lid on the murky realities of the industry and why being genetically gifted can sometimes be a curse.
Seven models answered confrontational questions from curious audience members for an episode of ABC’s You Can’t Ask That airing Wednesday night.
Consisting of a wide variety of models, including plus-size models, the group discussed eating disorders, felt exploited, and faced harsh rejections.
One of the models interviewed was Bridget Malcolm, who walked the Victoria’s Secret catwalk in 2015 and 2016 – a time she remembers feeling “miserable.”
Aussie model Bridget Malcolm walked the Victoria’s Secret runway in 2015 and 2016 (pictured)
Bridget (pictured) recalled that it was ‘very easy to fall into an eating disorder’ and struggled with anorexia and panic attacks which she tried to suppress with Xanax
Bridget said that after signing a contract with modeling agency IMG at the age of 15, she moved to New York and founded the iconic lingerie show.
She described running for Victoria’s Secret as a “huge deal” and recalls seeing famous models backstage and feeling “so nervous.”
The model was constantly told by casting agents that she needed to lose an inch from her hips, saying that if a model was called “healthy,” it meant she needed to lose weight.
Bridget described modeling as living in a constant state of ‘what’s going to be wrong with me today’ and ‘how can I let no one know it hurts me’.
She recalled that it was “very easy to fall into an eating disorder” and struggled with anorexia and panic attacks which she tried to suppress with Xanax.
“In a sick way, I liked it more when people said I looked sick because I’d be like, ‘Yeah, I did it, I’m really remarkably skinny now,'” Bridget said.
“It’s really hard to know what’s real and what isn’t when your physical appearance has gotten as much gas as it has.”
Bridget (pictured at the 2016 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show) described models as living in a constant state of “what’s going to be wrong with me today” a
The model was generally happy with the way she was treated in the industry and said that if the modeling is done ‘right’, it is not perceived as exploitative.
However, she recalled being “attacked” by a male photographer after eventually agreeing to shoot topless at his persistent requests.
“If it goes wrong, it can be horrible,” Bridget said.
Sydney-based model Sarah Stephens said she had struggled with anxiety and depression during her modeling career and revealed it wasn’t all glitz and glamour.
Sarah won Girlfriend Magazine’s Model Search in 2006 and walked the Victoria’s Secret catwalk in 2008 when she was only 18 years old.
As a naive teenager, she said she’d thought the fashion industry would be a “beautiful, crazy world,” but the reality turned out to be “very different.”
Sarah Stephens recalled having to undress in front of a room of people during a casting and a woman who looked at her once before remarking: ‘This isn’t going to work’
Sarah revealed at one point in her modeling career that she had just stopped eating altogether and was also struggling with bulimia
Sarah recalled having to undress in front of a room of people during a casting and a woman who looked at her once before remarking, “this isn’t going to work.”
The model left the room and burst into tears, but it was not an isolated incident.
The 32-year-old said casting agents had said she was “shaking too much” that she “can’t carry that” and that her hips are too wide.
“There was a pressure to be hesitant,” she told the program.
Sarah revealed at one point in her modeling career that she had just stopped eating altogether and was also struggling with bulimia.
She struggled with having to play the “sexy girl” role because it didn’t fit with who she was as a person and said she was sexualized from a young age.
“People sexualized me before I was even sexual. Before I even had sex,” she said.
Plus-size model Mahalia Handley revealed she was recently diagnosed with Body Dysmorphic Disorder.
Plus-size model Mahalia Handley revealed she was recently diagnosed with body dysmorphic disorder
Chloe Maxwell, a face known to many Australians in the ’90s as ‘the Jeanswest girl’, said she had been nervous when told she would be on TV
She described her diagnosis as “having obsessive-compulsive thoughts about parts of your body that you think are wrong.”
Luke Wallace of Lennox Head told the program that while he hadn’t struggled with eating disorders, he had been bullied by a gang of thugs.
After he was punched within an inch of his life and his nose and jaw were broken, the criminals told him he “wasn’t so beautiful now.”
Puffy and with a face that was “double the size,” Luke said he realized his self-esteem depended on being attractive to himself and others.
“My self-esteem was constantly in someone else’s hands,” he said.
‘Sometimes you just felt like an object’.
Chloe Maxwell, a face known to many Australians in the ’90s as ‘the Jeanswest girl’, said she had been nervous when told she would be on TV.
Model turned influencer Malaan Ajanng recalled one time she was sent home because her agency decided she had arrived
Sarah landed a coveted spot in the 2008 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show when she was just 18
“I was afraid I would be an outcast,” she said, explaining that girls at school were bullying her at the time.
She reflected on the fact that she had worn a sheer top to a runway show and that she felt “embarrassed” and “humiliated”.
“There was never any permission, they just did what they wanted,” she said.
Model turned influencer Malaan Ajanng recalled one time she was sent home because her agency decided she had arrived.
Malaan said models can get a personal trainer who specializes in health and fitness, who would tell the models they looked good.
“They even said you were underweight,” she said.
The Melbourne-based beauty said she’d struggled to break through in the industry because her community paralleled it “joining the playboy mansion.”
She said photographers can sometimes push models out of their comfort zone.
“When you’re that young and vulnerable, you can get into situations where you’re just doing it for your career,” Malaan said.