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.”
Meet the stars of Instagram
Meet the stars of Instagram
1/10 Charlie Barker
Barker’s following is greater than the combined circulations of Hello! and OK! magazines
2/10 Charlie Barker
Barker says: ‘I wanted to get a tattoo on the palm of my hand and because it was painful I was like, 'what do I believe in enough to get tattooed on my hand for the rest of my life?', and I was like – Hello Kitty’
3/10 Charlie Barker
With a photographic glimpse – or at least suggestion – of a life of colour and attitude, Barker has earned the sort of fame that only exists on Instagram
4/10 Brian Whittaker
Sixteen-year-old Whittaker has a quarter of a million followers
5/10 Brian Whittaker
Whittaker’s style and physique make him popular, but conversations with girls typically end when they ask his age
6/10 Brian Whittaker
An image of Whittaker's dog on Instagram. Whittaker says he has made new friends in real life, and thousands more on Instagram, many of whom he messages
7/10 Olivia Knight-Butler
Twenty-year-old Knight-Butler has 15,000 followers
8/10 Olivia Knight-Butler
Knight-Butler calls her account a channel, and fills it with fashion and lifestyle shots
9/10 Olivia Knight-Butler
Knight-Butler says: ‘There are followers who like my photos without fail, and they're mostly younger girls who want to know about my life.’
10/10 Olivia Knight-Butler
Knight-Butler had eating problems when she was 15 and 16. A need to be best at everything bled into social media and she later had to decide if Instagram was part of the problem or solution
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She is also in the process of writing a book.
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- Stina Sanders