Kimbella vs. Erica: Why Video Models Get No Respect
I know I wasn't the only one whose mouth dropped yesterday when yet again, two grown women resorted to drink-throwing and hair-pulling on national TV. While cat-fights of this type are a mainstay on reality television these days, the conflict behind the brawl is what made us all scratch our heads. Were they really fighting over who was the more 'legit' model?
It's no secret: Video modeling is looked down upon in hip-hop. From the lovely lady who let Nelly swipe a credit card down her butt cheeks to the myriad of half-dressed women who jiggle what their mama gave them for a camera while surrounded by fully-clothed men, video models are no trophy---according to most onlookers. There's a nasty stigma that comes along with an appearance in a music video, labeling models as loose and undeserving of respect for willingly allowing themselves to be objectified for a couple of coins.
And sometimes, there's not even money involved. Erica revealed yesterday that her beef is that many of these women will take a video gig for $50 or less, making the business of video modeling obsolete. Even worse, the sex-soaked videos are often accompanied by sex scandals fueled by rumors of hookups between rappers and video models on and off set. To be sure, there are models like Amber Rose (who met Kanye West on the set of his never-seen 'Robocop' video) and Melyssa Ford who have been able to nab acting jobs and fame outside of the work they've done in music videos alone. But each of them struggle to overcome the stigma of video modeling (and stripping, in Amber's case) and the public's disapproving gaze.
Why are more mainstream and high-fashion models, who Erica links herself with, able to avoid these kind of negative stereotypes? There are plenty of editorials that supermodels are 'overtly sexy' in; we've seen models in suggestive poses and revealing clothing to sell everything from lingerie to a pair of jeans. And nude or topless shoots for high-fashion models are par for the course. There's also romance. There are more models married, engaged or dating celebrity athletes/musicians than I can count on two hands. And there's scandal, too. Plenty of famous, well-regarded photographers have been rumored to engage in sexual acts with their model subjects. Yet supermodels, who engage in risque shoots and/or behavior, don't seem to elicit a lack of respect from the public the way video models do.
Erica seemed hell-bent on distinguishing her type of 'modeling' from Kimbella's to put herself on a higher level. But why do we put mainstream models on a different level than video models in the first place? Can't they all get respect?