Why this year’s highest paid models list is a game changer

Every year, Forbes releases a top 10 highest paid model list. If you haven't already seen 2017's list then check it out here. Once you are able to get past the genuine disbelief that ANYONE can earn $22 million in a year, you'll notice that this year the list features one particular model that represents the incredible growth that the modelling industry is going through. Coming in as the 10th highest paid model in the world this year, earning a whopping $5.5 million, is Ashley Graham – the first plus size model in history to make the list.
Ashley Graham Image source: Fashionista

The modelling industry has long copped criticism for the unrealistic beauty standards it sets for women. When we think of a model, we tend to associate them with incredible height, a slim physique, and of course 'the ideal body'. It's no secret that women (and men) are getting bigger every year and the average woman now sits at around a size 14 and 161cm tall. When you consider this, it becomes clear that the amount of women in the world that are able to reach the classic supermodel measurements are few and far between, making the modelling industry seem completely unrelatable and unrealistic as a beauty standard. Hence why Ashley Graham's placement in the highest paid models list is so significant.

Ashley Graham sits at a size 14-16 – along with around 67% of American women.
VogueImage source: Vogue

What she represents is a game changer. Her success in an industry where the beauty ideals have been so set in stone is frankly inspiring. More importantly though, her success really solidifies the movement that the industry is experiencing – plus size models are now not only being included as a nod to diversity, but they are now successfully selling clothes (which really is the main goal of a model after all). This movement also means that there is likely to be a ripple effect throughout the whole industry – so I wouldn't be surprised if we start to see more plus-size models gracing the list alongside Ashley in the future.

With body diversity starting to secure its place in the modelling world, I can't help but wonder where the direction of modelling will head in the next 5-10 years. What beauty ideals will the modelling world be promoting down the track? In my mind, at the end of the day, every woman has weight range that is healthiest for them. This weight range is what we should be aiming for and perhaps what should be put forward by the modelling world as 'beautiful'. When we are able to link our ideals of beauty with what is healthy, then I believe that the body conscious epidemic that we are currently going through will really start to disappear. I will always believe that women should be able to feel beautiful no matter their size; however, I also believe that women should put their health first when it comes to working towards a body-related goal. Losing (or gaining) weight outside of this healthy range just to look like a model is neither healthy or positive.

In the years to come, I can see the modelling industry start to shift again in terms of beauty ideals. Now that we are starting to take plus size models seriously, perhaps the future will move towards embracing the middle ground - a combination the classic straight size and newly celebrated plus size. Although the modelling world is about wearing and selling fashion – it also plays a huge part in women's body-related goals. When models are able to represent healthy and achievable body ideals, then I believe we will be in a great place.

Share this Post!

About the Author : Country Girl