Being in a multi-billion dollar industry that impacts the entire world more than some realize, can be a double edged sword. The blessing, you become enthralled in a place where inspiration & influence meets concepts & imagination to deliver amazing garments of intricate skills. The curse, you could fall prey to the pressures of an industry that is built solely on image. So many involved surcome to the pressure and end up in unhealthy situation. For this reason, I wanted to chat with founder of Feed The Models, Tiffany Rogers.
Feed The Models hosts various events to raise funds to assist models with eating disorders and create awareness about eating disorders in the fashion industry. With industry pressures, eating disorders amongst models is a very real, yet over looked problem. Feed The Models‘ mission is to help models get the treatment they need to live healthy lives and healthy careers. Feed The Models will donate the money raised from events we hold to the National Eating Disorder Association. Feed The Models has been receiving a great response from the public and industry professionals. We also have gotten good response, recognition, and praise for our efforts from celebrities, including International Supermodel/Raw Enthusiast Carol Alt, Playboy Centerfolds/Animal Activists Sia & Shane Barbi (Barbi Twins), a host of ANTM Models and more!
BE-Style: Tell me about your start in the industry and what compelled you to start “Feed The Models?”
TR: As a career gymnast, I had my path already planned and carved out for me. I was being trained to compete and represent the United States in the Olympics. All the while, there was this other passion that existed for me. I always had a love for fashion, even having a subscription to VOGUE at the age of five or six years old. My mother would ask if I wanted to model but I never thought that I would until about seven years. While in Chicago, I began to model and was successful at it. Shortly after, I decided to move to Atlanta to further pursue a career in modeling. After being entrenched in the industry, I began to see how serious a model’s image was and I wanted to shed light on the harmful and prevalent issue.
TR: I must say that I have been asked about my eating habits. BEing that I am trained as a gymnast, I have never had a major weight issue BEcause of my rigorous training regiment. Today, I don’t workout but I am a self-proclaimed “foody,” and I make sure I eat. It wasn’t until I showed up on a few sets and either partook in the trays made available to the models or me bringing my own food and the models or staff reacting to my eating. At the point, I realized that this is “real.”
TR: Well ideally, I want to make sure that I continue to bring awareness to the issue of models being healthy and this image that has been painted over the years is NOT a healthy one nor is it real. I will take any of the funds raised from our events and donate them to local health charities and food bank organizations. Long term, I want to make sure this issue on conversed on an international level then begin to open treatment centers for persons with eating and body image disorders.
BE-Style: Do you see this issue of eating or image disorders being more prevalent in particular cultures?
TR: This issue is not one that is a racial issue, it is something affects all cultures and is evident in America as well as overseas. After doing my research, I have noticed it being a larger issue for Caucasian and Asian models. But again, this is a not a racial issue, any and every one can BE effected.
BE-Style: If you could change any stigmas of models in the industry, what would that BE?
TR: I would want to rid the world of the misconception that models are just hangers for clothes, models are stupid or uneducated, and that models don’t have a voice. All of this couldn’t be further from the truth. I also want the industry to stop thinking of women over a size 4 as being plus size. It’s absolutely ridiculous to think of a size 6 woman to be plus sized or overweight. I would for the industry to be more relatable to every day people and more realistic.
BE-Style: Do you feel that the media has a responsibility to bring awareness / a consciousness to the fact that the average woman is really a size 10-12? How responsible should be in setting the image of what a model looks like?
TR: I believe that all involved in the industry, even designers, publications, or any entity that has a voice should take some responsibly in promoting a healthy lifestyle. When I decided to start “Feed The Models,” I had no idea that even VOGUE has a health initiative to promote healthy habits for models. But I am glad that I decided to move forward because this is truly an important issue. At the end of the day, fashion impacts everyone. If more magazines and designers take a “real” approach to what is presented then consumers will be more conscious of what is “real.”