This Year's Model: Fashion, Media, and the Making of Glamour

By Elizabeth A. Wissinger | Go to book overview

6
The Job
Nice Work If You Can Get It

Looking in from the outside, the job of modeling seems fairly simple: Basically it’s just smiling for the camera, right? In reality the work is a bit more involved than that. According to Title 2, Section 511 (i, ii), of the New York Labor and Compensation Law, a professional model is someone who

performs modeling services for; or consents in writing to the transfer
of his or her exclusive legal right to the use of his or her name, portrait,
picture or image, for advertising purposes or for the purposes of trade.1

He or she will transfer the right to their image “directly to a retail store, manufacturer, an advertising agency, a photographer, or a publishing company” who will dictate the models’ “assignments, hours of work or performance locations.” The model is compensated in return for a “waiver of his or her privacy rights.”2

This last item is especially interesting to consider. After the explosion of pathways for image distribution brought on by the age of the blink, models basically lost all rights to privacy. Prior to the onset of blink technologies, the model’s life or image off the runway was legally her own. The job description specifically delineated the “services” in question as “the appearance by a professional model in photographic sessions or the engagement of such model in live, filmed or taped modeling performance for remuneration.”3 As the Internet and social media became major players in social life, however, compensation demanded waiving privacy rights, which broke the job wide open, a crucial point that speaks to the development of glamour labor into the kind of all-encompassing immaterial and affective work it has become in the digital age.

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