‘I feel violated, mistreated and disrespected as a professional and as a woman’
This month has seen women taking a stand and speaking up about mistreatment in their jobs and relationships, from the women accusing Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment and assault to the models taking a stand against industry abuse.
The latest woman to add her voice to the cause is one of the most influential Victoria’s Secret Angels, Sara Sampaio, who took to her social media to tell her story, using the hashtag #MyJobShouldNotIncldeAbuse.
Naming the publication, Lui, the model went on to recount an experience where she was ‘aggressively pressured to do nude shots’ with photos taken against her will.
‘I had agreed to shoot the cover feature of Lui’s autumn issue, under the condition that there was NO NUDITY,’ the model wrote to her Instagram followers, going on to explain how she had insisted on a clear arrangement in order to protect herself and to have complete control.
‘Even with the “No Nudity” clause in my agreement with Lui, I was aggressively pressured to do nude shots on set, asking me why I didn’t want to show my nipples or go fully nude,’ the model explained. ‘Throughout the shoot day, I needed to constantly defend and reiterate my boundaries with no nude images, making sure I covered myself as best as I could.’
‘While reviewing the final images taken, I noticed that there were accidental exposures with parts of my body that I didn’t want exposed,’ Sampaio went on to explain. ‘I spoke up and was assure that those images would not be used’ – however they were, with the 26-year-old explaining that the magazine cover was actually in violation of their nudity agreement.
‘Like so many models, I’ve had negative experiences in the past where I felt pressured to pose nude,’ she explained. ‘On many occasions where the shoot was to not have nudity, I would arrive on set and the photographer or stylist would pressure, cajole or demand that I pose nude because I had done it in the past.’
She continued: ‘I was bullied. Many times, I was showed nude images of myself as examples to coerce me into posing nude and whenever I stood my ground and refused, I was criticised and judged as being difficult.’
‘Throughout my career, I’ve been very selective with when and how I do shoots with nudity. Just because I’ve consented to posing nude in the past, it does not give anyone the permission to assume I would do it again under any circumstance. I have the right to show my body how, when, where and for whatever purpose I choose. It’s my choice. And when I make that choice, I expect to be treated with respect and professionalism.’
‘I feel violated, mistreated and disrespected as a professional and as a woman. I want to do what I can to prevent this from happening to me again, and to others. Sadly, this is not an isolated incident, and I am not alone. As models continue to share their harrowing experiences, the bullying and abuse that is systemic within the fashion industry, will come to light.’
‘As models and as women, we need to stand together and demand the respect we deserve. We have the right to make our own individual choices about our bodies, our image, and our lives.’