At 15, Russian-born supermodel Anne Vyalitsyna (better known as Anne V) won IMG/ MTV’s “Fashionably Loud” talent contest in Milan. Six months later, she was tapped for big-time campaigns and scored a MAY-JAH, four-year contract as the first face of Chanel Chance perfume. Since then, she’s pretty much worked with everybody and their mother (and was in a long-term relationship with the oh-so-sexy Adam Levine before he got engaged). Sounds perfectly charmed, right?
Not so much, according to Anne, now 27, who recently spoke out about the challenges and pressures of being a young, successful model. Almost immediately after being plucked from obscurity, Anne was offered alcohol, access to clubs and often-unwanted sexual advances:
“I went from being 16 and never been kissed to men paying attention to me when I started modeling,” she says.
But despite the freebies and the attention and the international campaign, the industry was constantly telling her that she wasn’t good enough. That she could be better by being thinner.
“Being told to lose weight at 16 was so tough for me,” she says of the pressure she felt as a teen model. “No child should ever experience that.”
That’s why Anne and the Model Alliance have teamed up to help young models navigate the turbulent tides of the fashion industry before they get caught in the current. Thanks in part to their efforts, a bill was recently passed in the New York House and Senate (and is awaiting Governor Cuomo’s signature) to extend child labor laws to protect models under the age of 18.
“It feels long overdue,” Model Alliance founder Sara Ziff says. “And it’s exciting that we’ve been able to introduce a piece of legislation that’s been passed unanimously in the senate and the house and that most people in the industry seem to support.”
Last week, after first meeting with the CFDA to discuss how the bill would change the way the fashion industry does business, they even went so far as to hold an open meeting for aspiring models and their families to address how the new labor laws could possibly affect their careers.
“You need to have a brain to be a model,” Anne stressed to the crowd of young fashionistas. “You need to have a voice because you’re not going to last in this business just being stupid.”
Featured image via Shutterstock