When I published my 2011 memoir speaking out about my experiences in the modeling industry, getting a warm reception wasn't my mission. I wanted to vocalize what had long been silenced: the truth about the norms within the modeling world. I knew these norms crossed the lines of human dignity and decency, and painting a realistic picture of a world that most others believed was one of glamour and entitlement didn’t exactly make me popular. But I was sick of staying quiet about it.
When I went on the book tour, interviewers didn’t ask me the questions that I had anticipated. The many incidents that were so challenging to relive and write—sexual harassment and sexual assault—were barely addressed. Instead, the focus was on petty points, or further inquiry into details about my ex-husband that had already been shared (and overshared) in the media for years. The sensationalizing was by design, in absolute avoidance of acknowledging the rampant harassment and abuse that I had endured while working for three decades as a top model.
So, in light of the #MeToo campaign, let me say it again: It didn’t matter that I was at the top of an industry. It didn’t matter that I was on the cover of magazines and appearing in major ad campaigns. None of that protected me. On a regular basis, I still had to tolerate wildly inappropriate behavior from many of my co-workers, up and down the hierarchical ladder of success and in all different positions of employment within the modeling industry—agents, managers, peers, executives, and more.