A woman who applied to model and was then invited to a photo shoot reveals how she was later rejected when the company discovered she was blind.
Siobhan Meade, 37, from Stevenage, Hertfordshire, submitted photos of herself and was delighted to receive a call back from a manager at Commercial Models, eager to book her for a shoot.
But she was “shocked and stunned” when she was apparently told she was no longer welcome due to her disability, with Siobhan claiming one of the staff members suggested she would be too “slow” for the “fast-moving” modeling industry.
The company – which claims to create digital photography portfolios to support models – admitted that executives were “excited” about Siobhan until they discovered she had a disability and “were not in the best position to help her.”
Siobhan Meade (pictured), 37, of Stevenage, Hertfordshire, submitted photos of herself and was delighted to receive a call back from a manager at Commercial Models, eager to book her for a shoot
But she was “shocked and stunned” when she was apparently told she was no longer welcome due to her disability, with Siobhan (pictured) claiming that one of the staff members suggested she would be too “slow” for the “fast-moving” modeling industry
Marketing and communications manager Siobhan said: ‘In the conversation’ [the staff member] said I have what it takes to be a model. But his changed attitude afterwards and the things he said left me numb with shock.
“It was soul-destroying and my confidence plummeted. I felt worthless, crushed and ashamed for being blind – I shouldn’t feel that way.
“I never thought I would face such blatant discrimination. My blindness is not part of this.’
Siobhan, marketing and communications manager for service dogs and says he has no modeling experience but wanted to give it a try, had limited vision from birth due to cataracts and lost all her eyesight after an accident when she was 16.
She joined a mailing list called Match Models and was delighted when they emailed her on July 22 requesting a photo and inviting her to be shortlisted, she said.
The company – which claims to create digital photography portfolios to support models – admitted that executives were “excited” about Siobhan (pictured), until they discovered she had a disability and were “not in the best position to help her.”
Siobhan submitted a photo and the next day received a text from “Barry at Commercial Models” requesting to attend a shoot.
WHAT ARE CATARS?
Cataracts occur when the lens — a small transparent disk in the eye that helps focus light — becomes cloudy.
According to the NHS, the spots gradually enlarge over time and can lead to blurred vision and in some cases blindness.
Cataracts affect about half of people over 65 in the UK. According to figures, about 24 million adults over the age of 40 suffer from it in the US.
In children, they are much less common: about one in 3,000 is born with them or develops them in childhood.
People are more at risk if they: have diabetes, have had an eye injury, are taking certain medications, or have other eye conditions.
Symptoms normally develop very slowly and include being more sensitive to light and thinking everything looks faded.
Cataracts can be surgically removed and replaced with an artificial lens. No other treatment is possible.
Hours later, she got a call from him saying everything was going well – until she told them she was blind.
Siobhan said, “He was extremely excited and very upbeat, so I thought, ‘Okay, this sounds brilliant.’
“It really looked like we were about to sign a contract, that we were on the cusp and finishing touches.
“He said the shoots would last between three and four hours and that I should bring five to seven outfits.”
She said he told her he picked her out of thousands before asking her why she wanted to be a model.
Siobhan explained that she loved fashion and wanted to increase diversity in the commercial modeling industry, explaining that she was blind, she said.
“He just changed,” she claimed, “It was really a sudden change in tone and attitude.
“He said, ‘But if you’re blind, you can’t sign a contract.’
“So I explained how I use technology that allows me to read and sign documents.
‘You can’t see from my photo that I can’t see. I said, “you wouldn’t know, would you?” and he said “no, I’m stunned”.
“Suddenly he said, ‘I’m not a senior manager – I need to talk to my boss’.”
She said he called again after five minutes to say, ‘It’s a ‘no.’ Siobhan claims he told her, “It’s because you’re blind: the commercial industry is full of ******** and it’s moving fast.
“They get a lot of people in and there’s always so much going on.” She added: “He suggested I be slow because I’m disabled. I was literally numb.
“I wanted to challenge him more, but I was so shocked that he could say those things. I cried so hard. I felt like a worthless rag that had been messed up and thrown away.’
According to their website, Commercial Models is “the leading model support service in the UK”.
Marketing and communications manager Siobhan (pictured) said: ‘In the conversation’ [the staff member] said I have what it takes to be a model. But his changed attitude afterwards and the things he said left me numb with shock.”
When asked for comment, a spokesperson said: “We explained to Siobhan during the call that we invite people to a photo shoot to test the water in a professional environment.
“We create digital photo portfolios to purchase for those who want to try to progress and break into the commercial modeling/TV/film industry/talent show influencers etc. where digital images are required. Again, this was clearly explained to Siobhan during the taped conversation.
“We were thrilled with the photo of Siobhan she submitted, but after a long chat with Barry and finding out she had a disability and that she actually already had some modeling experience with the guide dogs, Barry felt we should were not in the best position to help her. .
“We stand by our decision that we felt we had done our best by giving Siobhan the best advice we could, as she had previous experience and felt she had nothing to gain from shooting ourselves at the expense from Siobhan, as she did. do not need our product at this stage as she had already worked in the industry.
“We are not a modeling agency and have never claimed to be.”