Stina Sanders: Model who lost 5,000 followers for sharing 'honest' photos says she also lost support of her agency

 The London-based model and blogger says she decided to leave her agency after taking part in a social experiment

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The Independent Online

A model who lost thousands of followers after agreeing to post 'honest' pictures of herself for a social experiment says she left her agency after being told the “ugly” photos would prevent her from getting work.

Stina Sanders shared images reflecting parts of her life normally concealed from her thousands of followers on her Instagram page. The photos showed Sanders as she was about to begin a counselling session for anxiety, while bleaching her facial hair and undergoing a colonic irrigation.

After initially losing 5,000 followers on her Instagram page, Sanders gained support from the thousands who felt encouraged by her decision to go against the tide of deceptive, airbrushed images conveying seemingly perfect lives that flood social media. 

But in an essay for The Telegraph, Sanders says her modelling agency at the time were displeased by the pictures and even asked her to remove them from her page, prompting her decision to part ways with the organisation. 

“‘You need to stop sharing these ugly images,’ they told me. ‘You might find it hard to get work if you continue to post images of your acne and eczema.’ 

“They asked me to take the images down but I said no. Why? Well, every modelling image is airbrushed to an unrealistic degree. There's no denying that even the model in the photo can't ever look as beautiful as the model in the photo.

Sanders said being asked to remove the pictures “to keep up appearances” was ultimately what cemented her decision to leave. 

“For anyone who has suffered from a mental health problem, you will understand the stress and agonising pressure of saving face,” she writes. “This ultimatum pushed me to make my decision. I had to leave them.”

Sanders now has over 124,000 followers and continues to occasionally share candid images, whether it be photos of herself hung-over and make-up free or photos showing the parts of her body still affected by acne.

She told the Independent: “I’ve signed with a new agency and they are more than happy with what I'm doing and what I've done. 

“They have my best interests at heart and understand that modelling isn't the only thing I want and can do. I present, write and blog, so they are representing me through these avenues without trying to mould me into something I'm not.”

She is also in the process of writing a book.