The Gender Pay Gap for Models

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Although the gender pay gap has been making headlines for over a decade now, it still appears to be a major issue in many regions, despite reported improvements being made. According to the Business Insider, women in the US earn on average 79 cents for every dollar a man earns. However, when it comes to fashion, this is certainly not the case. [Photo Supermodel Sean O’Pry at NYFW]

The wage gap between male and female models is quite shocking. The recently retired, Brazilian model Gisele Bündchen, has been top of the list as the highest paid model for the last 14 years. Funnily enough, there is never a male model anywhere to be seen on this list. While Bündchen’s annual salary in 2016 was roughly $30 million, the top male model of 2016, Sean O’Pry, reportedly earned $1.5 million. The difference is a matter of millions of dollars, and has been for a number of years.

One of the major differences between male or female models is that the men have a longer run at modelling than women, but this does of course depends on the model’s look and style. Men’s fashion careers are usually a lot lengthier than women’s due to the fashion industry’s dismissive attitude towards older women. Some also claim that there is less pressure on male models in terms of the physical requirements, however, according to an interview on Nightline, top model David Gandry was told he needed to be skinnier – rather than relying on the athletic build that catapulted him into success. [Photo Vladimir Ivanov and Sean Harju]

Supermodel Vladimir Ivanov backstage at NEW YORK FASHION WEEK

Becoming a male model takes a lot of hard work and determination, and despite having worked your way up from being a catalogue model for online stores such as this one, to being a catwalk model, the financial rewards of making it to the top are often not worth it.

There are various reasons why male models earn a lower salary than women, beginning with the fact that the women’s fashion scene is worth far more than the men’s. Generally speaking, this comes down to the common belief that the world of fashion and all that it entails simply appeals more to women than it does to men. Another element is that male models do not receive as much exposure as women do. Female models have reality TV shows, are flown around the world for various fashion events, and often get cameos in films. Compared to the likes of Cara Delevingne and Kendall Jenner, male models have yet to make a big splash with their public image.

With all that being said, things are beginning to look up for the male modelling scene. With more and more men using grooming products and caring about fashion and beauty, the market for men’s products is beginning to grow rapidly. This therefore provides more opportunities for male models to earn more money. Men are beginning to speak out about the wage gap and demand more money for certain positions.

All Photos by © Paulina Pikulinski for MMSCENE backstage at New York Fashion Week