This topic may not seem like it belongs on a modeling blog, since the "casting couch" is a term that is commonly associated with the acting world but I've had some curious minds ask me about the chances of dealing with this situation when it comes to modeling. While I do answer a lot of common questions I want to make sure I address questions that aren't the norm. In order to get as much information out there as I can, it helps to address the concerns of the few and not just the many. Make sense? Let's move on.
Never heard of the "casting couch" concept? Then let me clarify. In a nutshell, this term is used to describe the age old method of sleeping your way to the top--namely, young, aspiring actresses sleeping with directors, movie producers, and just about any high roller that in turn promises them the best roles or the chance to take part in a large film or television project. So what does the casting couch have to do with modeling?
I'm sure some aspiring models--not to mention their parents--may be wondering if sleeping around is a commonly used method to further one's modeling career. I can reassure you that the casting couch in the modeling industry is very rare. To drive the point home, a short aspiring model can be the most beautiful girl on the planet but there is virtually no way she can sleep her way onto the catwalk (not to mention the large number of homosexual men in the fashion industry--you'd definitely be barking up the wrong tree in that sense lol). Sex in the sense of moving up in the modeling world is not as commonplace as it is in the film industry for the simple fact that the two industries are not the same and the demands are vastly different. There are very few models out there (male or female) that have become supermodels by sleeping with designers, managers, photographers, or modeling agency staff. It just doesn't work the same way.
What does often happen, however, is the occurrence of intimate relationships between models and photographers. These two players in the industry tend to become drawn to each other like magnets. Many photographers date their models and vice versa. I've met photographers that married models they worked with (I know plenty about this topic because my current sweetheart is a photographer and we met while working a modeling event together. Four years strong so far!). Of course there are photographers that date around or play the field. Same with models, male and female. The model-photographer relationship is a common one but is usually not pursued with the intent of trying to "make it" in the business. Then there are clients that deal with freelance models that may try to take advantage of the situation in an attempt to have initiate some type of intimate or sexual relationship with you. Do your best to recognize these type of situations and get out fast.
So if you or your parents are worried about "trading favors" in order to pursue modeling, don't worry, you more than likely will not have to sleep with anybody in order to make a name for yourself...at least not in the modeling world. And if anyone offers you the opportunity I'm sure you're smart enough to know better--especially if you've read this post!