After the recent allegations of harassment and assault against celebrity photographer Marcus Hyde, fashion photographer Jessica Kobeissi decided to use her platform on YouTube to speak out against what she’s calling “the dark side of modeling” and share some of the horrifying stories she’s heard from models she works with.
The hour-long video that resulted is, at times, distressing. From offensive or harassing text messages and Instagram DMs all the way to horrifying accounts of abuse, the stories that Kobeissi brings to light are not for the faint of heart. But that’s the point. Kobeissi wanted to share these things without pulling punches, so that it becomes more clear that allegations like the ones against Hyde are not rare or unusual.
Importantly, Kobeissi doesn’t limit her discussion to male photographers who harass, take advantage, or abuse female models. “This is not just specific to females and I want to make this very clear,” she explains. “There are male models as well who are abused. I want to just say that out loud because a lot of the times we focus on the females and it does happen to male models.”
After making this point, she goes on to share numerous stories, explain how these interactions typically take place, and offer helpful tips for new or inexperienced models on how to spot red flags and avoid these kinds of photographers entirely.
As one of the most prominent voices in fashion photography today, Kobeissi felt it was her responsibility to do this. “As a human, YouTuber and photographer with a large platform and close friends who are models that have experienced harassment, I feel responsible to speak up about this serious issue plaguing the photography and modeling community,” writes Kobeissi in the video’s description. “I hope I do this topic justice. I hope it’s good enough.”
If you have time, watch the full video. Yes it’s almost an hour long, and yes the topic is uncomfortable, but it’s important that models and photographers are both involved in an active discussion about these issues. Because interactions like this do happen, and nobody is helped by turning a blind eye.