models at fashion show

OPEN CALL: The founder of a little-known Houston-based modeling agency is trying to ensure that models are paid.

Carnell Jones of Senoj Models started No Pay No Runway and is trying to recruit 100 ambassadors to support the cause. The group is trying to raise awareness about producers, “who put on fashion shows and are claiming that the money is going toward charity just to get the girls to work for free. In most cases, they are not being honest,” Jones said in a phone interview. “They are bringing in a great deal of money and they are telling the girls, ‘Well, hey, you’re going to get great exposure.’ These girls have been modeling for years now.”

Jones said he is not working with the Mode Alliance, the New York-based advocacy group that champions models’ rights. His focus is to ensure that models in different U.S. cities are paid for their runway work especially in relation to shows for charitable causes. Responsible for running the Houston-based modeling agency, he said he has seen firsthand models not get paid under similar circumstance. “A lot of them were forced to still do it because they needed the exposure. They would still participate, but in their mind they would say, ’This is not right,’” Jones said.

“We’re hearing these stories constantly so we needed to start this movement. Eventually, our goal is to turn this into a union,” Jones said.

The No Way Runway group is comprised of models based in different parts of the U.S., including New York, Tennessee and other states. The Instagram group has grown from a few hundred to more than 2,400 since December, Jones said. The No Pay No Runway Instagram account features such advice as, “When you show up to work, you’re not there to make friends with the designer. You’re there to do a job and be compensated.”

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