#1367 New face models exposing their breasts – the bookers have their say

Following up on Friday’s post about new face models being photographed topless for test shoots, I called a few bookers to get their opinions on the matter. Remember, this is specifically relating to unpaid test shoots with new face models. It’s not an argument about nudity in photographs or in fashion, but about new face models doing nude or topless test shoots. Okay? Okay. First up, I contacted a top booker in Sydney (who wishes to remain nameless). He said, “It does seem exploitative so early on in a girl’s career, especially if it’s just for a test. I wouldn’t put a shot like that on a girl’s card. I would always want to know prior to the shoot if nudity were to be involved. It’s not that common in Sydney. It’s not how I would promote a new face.”

Responses from Auckland agents, below.

According to Ryan Sharp from 62 Models, “We are extremely careful about what kind of work our new face girls undertake and nudity is something we would endeavor to protect them from. Nude photographs can be stunningly beautiful and many top models and photographers collaborate on these, however the model must be old enough, fully informed and aware of what it is she is doing, something I do not believe many new entrants into this industry are.”

Huia Ngapo, a model-turned booker: “I do not think it helps ANY model’s career to go topless be they new-face or an experienced international model. I think that it is incredibly unprofessional and unethical to encourage a new-face model to go topless in a shoot of any kind- regardless of age. At that point in a model’s career they are still being introduced to this industry and developing trust within the agency- model relationship. They are as yet unskilled and inexperienced in front of the camera. I expect my models to be very good at what they do, they get their work because of talent, devotion and professionalism – not because I have over-sexualised them as a marketing or promotional technique. If the model is over 18 and experienced, I will consider her doing topless IF I think that the resulting shot will be tasteful, beautiful and beneficial to their portfolio – if these requirements are met and I am satisfied the model will be well taken care of and treated with the utmost care and respect during the shoot then I will allow her to make the final decision herself.

“I know that there are certain people in this industry who have not only allowed but encouraged young girls to reveal themselves in an overly sexual way and it is these people that it is my job to protect my models from. As an agent I feel a strong responsibility to my models and their families to manage their careers with professionalism and respect at all times. I know from feedback I have received from major international and local players in this industry (Super Agencies, photographers, editors, stylists and designers) that nudity is not what creates a good model and it is neither here nor there in a model’s career. Any agency who tells a model otherwise is putting that model, her confidence, her trust and her reputation in danger – is this agent a good agent? Absolutely not. Should you trust them? Absolutely not. Do they have your best interests at heart? No. During my modeling career of 10 years I feel I had the best possible management I could have. I was protected, I was informed, I was managed. Correctly. It made ALL the difference to me and my family. It is because of this excellent management that I am now a booker myself, keeping my models safe.”

A commenter on the previous post had this to say: “I think young models should realise in NZ it most likely isn’t going to lead to a career. Plus with the increasingly imposing information age they are not going to be taken seriously in the workplace if you google their name and boobie photos come up.”

Wise words.

According to Amanda Betts at Red Eleven, “Undeniably, there are many photographers, men and women, who do want to shoot some of our talent, both men and women, semi/nude. Red11’s staff treat all job offers on a case-by-case basis as it is Red11’s company policy that we forward all work offered to our talent despite our personal feelings or opinions on the work. Having said that, we have never been asked by any of our clients to offer semi/nude work to anyone under 18 years.

“We have not yet had a case where a model under 18 years old has been involved in semi/nude work to my recollection. However, there has been one occasion where a model who had been modelling for over 18 months did a semi-nude shoot when she was in Australia which was done direct via her overseas agency and the model’s mother. We had no input in this matter.

“Personally, all of us here at Red11love many images that many of our photographers, stylists and models are producing for different reasons: because they are beautiful…or make us think or buy into a fantasy, break moulds and ideals…all sorts of things.”

Clyne and Nova have also been contacted, I’m awaiting their responses.


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  1. Anonymous says

    I’ve been following this original posting, and these responses – because funnily enough it’s HUGE now here in Wellington too with newbie models and basically shit pervy photographers. I’m left looking at the shots thinking ‘why on earth is she half naked and what RELEVANCE does it have to the shoot/shots’…often the answer is absolutely NOTHING!!! It particularly brasses me when they are styled naked on top but fully covered in say pants, it has been done so many times it is now beyond boring and pathetic. I understand the girls are young and often not even represented but in this age, they need to get a little street smart and research online…the internet will help ‘show’ a newbie what is a suitable form of nudity. As for the photographers, get a life and stop relying on someone’s ‘boobs’ to get people to look at your pictures – there isn’t ANY skill in that.


  2. Anonymous says

    It is a sad fact that some photographers do expect this from young and experienced models alike in order to get free shots, it feels a little dirty coming from a models point of view especially with new young fresh girls who know no better. This is why we have agents to guide and direct us so this type of thing does not happen.

    Yes there are some stunning naked shoots out there but do we really need them?

    These so called photographers should not be allowed to work with any models!!

  3. Anonymous says

    After trumpeting Terry Richardson the way you do you really have a lot of nerve complaining about nudity in fashion shoots. Sensationalism at it’s finest! LOL!

  4. says

    Re. Anon (11.26pm):

    “Remember, this is specifically relating to unpaid test shoots with new face models. It’s not an argument about nudity in photographs or in fashion, but about new face models doing nude or topless test shoots. Okay? Okay. “

  5. Anonymous says

    Wow it must be tiring realising some of your readers – can’t seem to read?? Anon is missing the point entirely. Unpaid NUDE test shoots are just so the NOVICE photographer feels like they compete with high fashion / paid editorial shoots. They equate NAKED girl as some form of success (??)- they got them to model naked woop woop. Boring…next.


  6. KO says

    Remember the photos that launched the career of Kate Moss? The editorial for The Face where she was photographed topless on a beach by Corinne Day at the tender age of 16! (e.g. http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_K01kOVPEaHQ/SxC1yA6d1JI/AAAAAAAAAA8/uMkpSismN3A/s400/Corinne+Day+8.jpg)

    Clearly Kate was exploited by that ‘pervy’ photographer and those disgusting semi-nude photos ruined her career.

    Or do those photos not count because she was photographed by a young female photographer in the UK – and therefore it was ‘artistic’ and ‘tasteful’.

    The reality is that having nude or semi-nude imagery in a models portfolio can be beneficial for a model’s career – because it demonstrates that she (or he) is clearly very comfortable with her body and will therefore be able to handle wearing revealing outfits. For professional photographers, stylists, and clients, knowing this up-front can be extremely useful.

    Many designers have garments in their collections that feature sheer fabrics, plunging neck lines, large areas of exposed skin, etc. Models need to be able to where this sort of clothing with complete confidence – even if there is the potential for a ‘garment malfunction’ at any given moment.

    There is nothing more frustrating than being on a shoot where the stylist spends 5 minutes getting the clothing ‘just right’ only to have the model immediately pull everything out of place because she’s scared of showing too much skin.

    Or having a model who constantly looks down every 2 minutes to double-check that her nipple isn’t exposed – in the process ruining her carefully positioned hair.

    Or having a model who 15 minutes before a fashion show decides that the sheer garment she has been allocated to wear is slightly too sheer, so she refuses to walk without wearing a hideously ugly flesh coloured bra underneath.

    If a model has a portfolio that features topless or nude photos then it clearly demonstrates that none of the above is likely to happen – and this can be very reassuring for photographers, stylists and their clients.

    As a result having nude or semi-nude work in a models portfolio can definitely be advantageous for certain jobs and clients.

    Should underage models be pressured into shooting nude or semi-nude tests? Definitely not!

    But we have yet to see ANY EVIDENCE that this is actually occurring. One really has to wonder why you are stirring up trouble over this non-issue.

  7. Anonymous says

    Whoah…Terry Richardson is sporting some pretttttty rad hair in the latest issue of Journal Mag at Mag Nation now (with plastic covering and all)….matches his facial hair pretty well…wonder if she is a new face or knew what she was getting herself in to? What does it make Terry (and according to who?)? Seriously guys, no one is being exploited here. Every model is protected by their rather fierce agents (or the agents run the risk of being shut down). Parents are being protective (there’s the hole, love. Watch where you go…). You can’t shoot naked young girls and expect to work in this town again (it is Auckland Village after all). There have not been any regrets or damage or permnanent enotional scars…Oooooh, boobies! Can we all move on now?

  8. Anonymous says

    I simply can’t understand at all why anyone can be offended by boobies, this is not the dark ages the human form is a beautiful and magical thing. It is simply not anything to be ashamed of, on the contrary it is to be celebrated!! Has anyone thought for a minute that these models might want to have beautiful pictures taken of them.
    I know for a fact that these girls are not coerced into nude shots, it is only an up tight prudish mind that find these pics offensive, please relax it’s just boobies. I hoped that the human race had moved on since Adam and Eve.
    Please everyone it was not so long ago you were nursing from them!!!

  9. L says

    Ok so it is different for people in fashion or those that have not been in a male dominated world. Have y’all been in situations in the work force as ‘one of the boys’? Boobie photos realistically can restrict a serious professional career. The girl will be mocked behind her back, that is reality. I know it’s just boobies and part of the job and I love that issue of LOVE magazine with the nakey supermodels, BUT seriously these girls – new faces have next to no chance of making it as a professional model and will probably end up as a lawyer or god forbid in politics – Imagine the fuss if someone like Helen Clark had done boobie photos when she was younger! It IS an employment issue. I have googled employees on whether to hire them or not and honestly many people would not want to hire the boobie model.

    That said some girls are just stupid, case and point starnow.co.nz

  10. Anonymous says

    Wow, there are some heinous crimes against the English language committed in this comment section. Everyone should really proofread their comments before they blurt them out. It really does detract from whatever you have to say, and Isaac – it definitely detracts from your blog!!

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