Nigel Barker talks models, influence, society and the critics

Naomi Sims by Stan Shaffer, late 1960s

Naomi Sims by Stan Shaffer, 1960s.

It’s easy to think that models have it easy, benefiting from genetics and the genuflecting masses anxious to make their lives easier. People think modeling is easy. And I won’t argue that the actual practice of standing in front of a camera and smiling or smirking or brooding is difficult, but modeling is more than taking a pretty picture. It’s an endurance sport. Other than maintaining ones weight, there’s an awful lot of rejection, self-doubt, idiocy and politics to deal with. It’s nice work if you can get it, but it’s a heck of a lot of work, just ask famed photographer, former model and reality TV host and judge Nigel Barker.

Barker went on an extensive book took earlier this year for, “Models of Influence: 50 Women Who Reset the Course of Fashion.” Read my full interview with him here at Nigel Barker Discusses the Power of Beauty.

“For anyone who thinks that models are innocent, gullible and guileless beauties being preyed upon by a capricious industry, Barker is happy to lend some context.

He writes of models, some with extremely modest backgrounds and others born into aristocracy, who rose to fame and fortune sometimes by happenstance but often by determination and drive. Each changed the industry, affected or reflected cultural shifts and personified an era.”

And if you challenge him with the critiques about models being too thin, too pale or too young, he throws the blame back at society itself. The modeling and fashion marketing industry is worth an unfathomable amount, do you really think they choose models to annoy people or make them feel bad about themselves, he chides. The industry looks the way it does because it works, but nothing stays the same and a number of famous models stood at the forefront of significant changes in what beauty is.

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