UPDATE: October 21 -- Signed into law by governor, effective in 30 days. Wow!
UPDATE: June 12 -- Passed both houses of NY State legislature. Next step: governor's signature.
Backstage at New York Fashion Week, it's about to get a little more crowded -- and potentially a lot healthier & happier.
New York State Senators Diane Savino and Jeff Klein joined Model Alliance members outside Lincoln Center today for a press conference announcing the introduction of a bill
that would extend current state law protection of performers under the age of 18 to include models. A parallel bill
has been introduced in the lower house of the New York State legislature by Assemblyman Steven Otis -- and the bills could pass as early as this week.
Model Alliance members and supporters including Coco Rocha (speaking), President Sara Ziff, Lily Goodman, Alison Nix, Paula Viola, and Doreen Small join New York State Senators Jeff Klein and Diane Savino.
Until now, child models have been treated as a special category under New York law and have had very limited and little-known protection under the auspices of the state Education Department, rather than the more extensive requirements for child actors, musicians, dancers, etc. enforced by the state's Department of Labor.
Each model and former model who spoke acknowledged her own success in the industry -- but also revealed the ugly side of the business of glamour. The appalling stories from their teen years ranged from what we might delicately term attempts to impair the morals of a minor model to pressure to drop pounds from already skinny frames or to drop out of school in order to pursue modeling full time.
In recent years, the efforts of the CFDA Health Initiative and a collective pledge by the worldwide editions of Vogue have already moved the minimum age of most models on New York runways and in many editorials and ad campaigns from 14 to 16, at the same time drawing attention to health issues. So what would it mean for models under 18 to be considered child performers under New York law?
In other words, what would designers, advertisers, and others who hire models have to consider in order to hire fresh new faces this fall? The regulations are extensive, but here are a few key points: