Following public outcry against Harvey Weinstein and his decades-long history of sexual harassment and abuse, Cameron Russell has opened her Instagram to fellow models who wish to share their own stories of assault under the hashtag #MyJobShouldNotIncludeAbuse. Exploitation within the fashion industry occurs frequently as photographers, agents, and casting directors prey upon models who are often in their teens and working away from home for the first time. Unfortunately, their stories are often overlooked as the modeling industry is largely unregulated.
Due to legal reasons, Russell has been censoring all names used in the stories submitted. However, she promised to hold a meeting with lawyers in the near future to discuss the possibility of making at least some of the abusers’ names public. “There are many Weinsteins in our industry, they aren’t hard to spot. If you know one, act now. Don’t wait for 30 years for a New York Times expose [sic],” she wrote.
Russell is one of a handful of models making strides towards change in the fashion industry. In 2009, Sara Ziff released a self-made documentary, Picture Me, chronicling her and other female models’ exploitative experiences in the industry. In 2012, Ziff founded the Model Alliance, a group that functions as a sort of union for models. The Instagram account Shit Model Management, run by a group of anonymous models, tackles similar issues of exploitation and abuse through memes.