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  • The Healthier Side of Modeling: An Interview with Victor Surma

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    Traditionally, model and trainer Victor Surma has known the modelling industry as a cut-throat, unhealthy atmosphere where young women are forced to maintain a skeletal figure , and children are conditioned to believe that what they see in the magazines is what they should look like. These problems haven’t only existed for women, to be sure, men have faced similar negative self-reflection as a result of the modeling world. Fortunately, today, this paradigm is shifting to a more positive place. Companies like Dove with their “Real Beauty” campaign are putting the focus back on what people actually look like. And some are attempting to bring a healthier mentality to the modeling world. Recently, I connected with Victor Surma, a well-regarded model and a pioneer in bringing a healthy energy into his industry. According to him, there are a few things that are improving the landscape for young models, and they can benefit everyone in today’s society, not just those who are walking down a catwalk. Here are three reasons why modeling is becoming healthier:

    Awareness of the mistreatment of models is greater than ever before.

    According to the Daily Globe, there has been increasing public backlash in the use of younger models in provocative and sexually explicit photo shoots, and this has made the industry more conscious of what is and is not acceptable for underage models. Victor Surma has been a leader in this cause, and helps to promote better standards for taking care of models and helping them to recognize how they should be treated. Other notable models, such as Kate Moss, have come out and shared their horror stories which has shed a light on these less-than-flattering practices of the past.

     A new generation of talent is entering the field.

    Photographers, designers, and models of today are entering an industry that is very different than it was several years ago. Again, according to the Daily Globe, “Greater support networks are in place for these individuals, and as people grow more aware of the fact that problems do exist more is being done to correct them.” As with any current industry, modeling is experiencing a turnover, and the new crop of professionals is being taught what they should and should not put up with in the process.  Victor Surma is an active member of this community, working to develop healthy ways to stay in shape, and teaching young models that achieving a certain look “no matter what the cost” is not the way to succeed.

    There is a recognition that this is a problem for models regardless of gender.

    Like we discussed previously, there has been an emphasis on the negative impact of modeling on the female psychology in our country, and a pressure on women to maintain an unhealthily slender physique. However, today we are starting to recognize that this issue exists for men as well, and that men can sometimes engage in even more unhealthy practices to achieve the type of look that is expected of them. Of course, if we extrapolate that out further, all men feel a pressure to “keep up” and are vulnerable to these same unhealthy habits, like over-exertion workouts, steroids, and unnatural supplements with less-than-desirable side effects. Victor Surma has made it his mission to ensure men, not just women, understand how to achieve results without risking their long term health.

    There you have it. Modeling, thankfully, is changing for the better. Still, there is much work to be done in our society so that young people have a better approach to health. Hopefully these changes at the top will also lead to less instances of bullying, eating disorders, and other negative behavior toward one another. Victor Surma is continuing to use his abilities and credibility as a model to push that agenda, and I hope he continues to see progress.

    Author:

    Bill Connolly is a marketing/personal branding expert, career advisor & improvisational comedian. He is the author of Funny Business: Build Your Soft Skills Through Comedy, and host of an online radio show by the same name on the UR Business Network. For more information, or to contact him, visit his website at TheBillConnolly.com, or follow him on Twitter: @billconnolly.

    Bill Connolly is a marketing/branding expert, career adviser, and professional improv comedian. Bill is also the author of the book, “Funny Business: Build Your Soft Skills Through Comedy” (July 2013), and host of a radio show by the same name on the UR Business Network. He is an actor at Boston's Improv Asylum, and performs regularly with the group What Up D'oh. Bill resides in New York City. For more insight, visit his website, TheBillConnolly.com, or follow him on Twitter: @billconnolly.

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