In 2015 Adwoa Aboah attempted to commit suicide after struggling with addiction and depression.
“I wanted to be like all the other girls […] blonde, white, blue-eyed” she said in an interview on April, 2016.
Losing out on jobs, being rejected and judged on her appearance contributed to feeling bad about herself. Unfortunately, she’s not the only model who feels this way.
A number of studies show that attractive people are generally treated better which leads to them being better psychologically adjusted than unattractive people.
Both attractive men and women are more likely to be hired, promoted and receive better pay and performance evaluation no matter the job they perform.
This will result in them having higher self-esteem and better overall mental health.
Models are, as a rule, an attractive group of people. It wouldn’t be so naïve to expect them to have all the benefits listed above. However, this is where we have to ask ourselves what “being attractive” really means.
When psychologists tried a different approach to this issue, they soon found out that all these traits were weakly or not at all connected to being conventionally attractive. It had much more to do with a positive self-image. Self-perception of beauty was the main reason people were well adjusted.
Believing you’re attractive was key.
A lot of people who are conventionally attractive will also have a self-perception of beauty, but when your job is based on looks every rejection is an attack on this perception.
If you ask western media what the key to a woman’s happiness is, surely they would say looking like a model was somewhere on top of the list.
However there is a bit more scientific theory to important factors of happiness and personal fulfillment. Competence would be one of those factors – feeling you’re competent in your actions. Another need is relatedness which is the feeling of being in constant intimate contact with people who care about you. Lastly the need for autonomy should be met – feeling in control, like you are the reason for your actions.
Models have shown lower levels of well-being when compared to non-models. This well-being his strongly connected to the three needs mentioned above and for some reason these needs don’t seem to be fulfilled in models.
Maybe this isn’t surprising given the stressful and lonely environment of the job, but it’s still something worth discussing. Besides being prone to eating disorders, models have a hard time fulfilling some basic needs for happiness, yet a lot of girls envy their lifestyle.
Next time you read an article about a model with an addiction issue, don’t immediately think of a girl snorting drugs at parties. She’s probably just a lonely human trying to numb the parts she doesn’t like. Not all stories have a sad ending though. Bringing back the story from the beginning of this post, Adwoah Aboah is now known as an activist for mental health. She started Gurls Talk, an online community for young women to discuss things like mental health, sex, and social media.
It’s wort checking out and being a part of.