‘Project Runway’ Models Work Ten Hour Days for No Pay

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Elena Abete Photo: Courtesy of Bravo

Modeling is not an easy career path. Elena Abete is just one girl who proves that. She was Daniel's model on this season of Project Runway and got the boot along with him. She reveals in the Austin American Statesman she got no pay for doing Runway for which she worked ten-hour days. And that time hardly involves hanging out with the designers. "The only time we got with them is in the work room," she tells the Statesmen. "The producers kept us very separated."

Abete had given up on New York and moved home to Austin, Texas, after a falling-out with her agency. She returned when she got called to do Runway but is now back in Austin, where she works as a hostess at a local Tex-Mex joint. Though she was doing okay as a model and appears in September's Cosmo Girl, she says didn't like New York or modeling:

"I wasn't happy. New York wasn't what I expected it to be. I didn't want to be in New York. I wanted to be in Austin. There's so much pressure to be thin. I like barbecue and Tex-Mex. I'm not going to give up these things to be skinny. Girls are pretty pressured to be a certain size."


Abete was a size 4 but told repeatedly to drop weight, especially to land runway work. And she was put off by the New York party scene. So she packed up and headed back to Austin.

Sigh. It reminds us of Tatiana Stewart, the girl we wrote about recently who came to New York to model but can't land work because of her size and is now serving bottles at nightclubs. It's a hard knock life.

You might see 'Project Runway' model at Trudy's [Austin American Statesman]
Related: One Aspiring Model Isn’t Thin Enough, Turns to Cocktailing