It’s not just crazy-person discipline that has runway models serving themselves celery dinners. It’s also because so many of them are broke. Apparently even some of the girls walking the top shows at New York Fashion Week get paid in nothing more than exposure and clothes.
Top labels such as Narciso Rodriguez and Anna Sui are guilty of paying model wages in “trade”–which usually means clothes over cheques. Industry leader Marc Jacobs and buzzed-about breakout designers Proenza Schouler are two examples of labels who have only recently started paying their runway models.
When they do get paid, Buzzfeed Shift reports that $150 is to be expected for a “small” runway show, with models earning $200 to $500 for larger shows. An A-list label such as Marc Jacobs could pay each model between $500 to $800.
Magazine work isn’t any more impressive, with $200 per day being an industry standard. The thinking is that a major glossy magazine will hire a top photographer, hair and makeup artists, stylist and creative director to produce a final product that will not only reach a mass audience but will show the model’s ability in the best possible light.
So how do models put food on the table (okay, bad example)? Advertising campaigns. According to the American website IndependentModeling.com, in advertising, fashion modelling will pay $150 to $250 an hour, parts modelling (hands for example) pays $300 to $500 per hour, and bikini modelling will pay $500 to $2500 per hour.
Canadian model Ashley Stetts wrote on XOJane.com that she was paid $250 an hour in New York to be a fit model (which she describes as “like a live mannequin” for designers to perfect the measurements of their clothing). The downside to this job was maintaining a perfect size four body: 34-inch bust, 27-inch waist and 37-inch hip. “Getting pregnant or gaining weight could end my career,” she writes.
The dream is to become the next Gisele Bundchen. The world’s richest model is worth $147,500,000 CAD, with her Ipanema line of sandals responsible for the lion’s share of her fortune. But for models just starting out in the shows, they have a long catwalk ahead of them before they’ll earn even .001% of that.