With advertising and marketing budgets slashed at media and fashion companies, models are feeling the pinch. Rates are being cut in half in New York and Europe. Companies that used to pay $4,200 pay a paltry $2,100, and models who once ran around backstage at fashion shows with genuine exuberance now only feign it, burdened with secret worry.
"I'm having some doubt now because of this situation. We all do it for the money so if there is no more money, maybe I should go back and focus on my studies," Georgina Stojiljkovic, a 19-year-old from Serbia, said backstage at the Christian Lacroix couture show.
Runway models like Stojiljkovic will take a harder hit than commercial models as agencies shift their focus to the latter, who attract a steady stream of low-profile catalog-y work. "The catwalk girls are not your day-to-day girls, they are anomalies, with measurements they had when they were 16 and still have at 18," one agent told Reuters. New faces will also have a tougher time, since clients will gravitate toward established models in the downturn, which might explain why Gisele is fronting spring 2009 campaigns for True Religion, Rampage, Christian Dior, and Versace, among others.
So a bunch of worried pretty things might trade the fabulous model life for college, the ease of capitalizing on their blessed genes for the mundane learning of things those of us with less-fortunate genetic makeups must endure. If we had to leave behind a job that involved wearing only the world's most fabulous clothes, we'd be depressed as all hell. But it doesn't sound like Pablo Ballay, a 23-year-old Argentinean model who walked the Dior Homme show, will cave to the life of the everyman. "A lot of models here are from Argentina, and when you live in that kind of country you live in a continuous crisis. So you see how well people live here and you say, what, this is a crisis?" Touché. Good thing he at least sounds smart already.