“This was a client who liked their girls skinny, and I was not that,” Malcolm says. “They had a false idea about what I looked like — something that could have easily been avoided.”
On the all-female shoot — “which makes the whole thing even more frustrating and messed up,” Malcolm adds — she says the crew was extremely rude to her, while being kind and friendly to the other model, a 16-year-old with 34-inch hips.
“Whilst shooting, I had one lady refuse to look me in the eye, choosing instead to address my stomach with a sneer. I addressed her, smiled, and she didn’t even look away from my stomach, let alone respond to me beyond mono syllables,” Malcolm recalls. “Another lady asked me to please make my ribs show more whilst shooting, suck in my gut, and tied a sarong around my hips, to ‘hide them.’ I got a high school level bitchy up and down when I came out of the changing room, and another woman just didn’t even register my presence.”
The Australian model, who wrote on her blog on March 12 about her decision to quit dieting, says that this all happened even though she fit into the sample sizes on set, a range of sizes 2 to 4. Frustrated, Malcolm says she skipped lunch while the other model enjoyed it all, plus cake.
“I was met with choruses of ‘Why aren’t you eating! What’s wrong!?’ I sat there feeling humiliated, fat and ugly,” she says. Then: “All that fake concern in their eyes over why I wasn’t eating lunch evaporated the second I got back on set. Then it was back to stonewall and scrutiny.”
“It is hard to articulate just how awful the feeling is when you are on a set and everyone there hates the way you look,” she adds. “The reactions range from being sweet, yet condescending and pitiful, to just straight up bitchiness.”
Reflecting on the incident, Malcolm regrets staying on set.
“I wish I’d had the strength to say to them, ‘What’s going on? Am I not what you wanted? Because if not, lets not put me and you through this. Just send me home. You don’t want me here, and I don’t want to be here.’ ” she says. “I wish I had done that instead of struggling through the day, to leave set and burst into tears. To be told by my agent that because they hadn’t said anything to my agency, there was nothing wrong. Got to love a little casual gas lighting — after 12 years of modeling, I know when something (me) isn’t working out.”
Malcolm ends her post with a note for the women on the photo shoot.
“To the ladies on set that day, I say I hope you find your peace here. I don’t know how hard it must be to exist in a world where you treat another young woman as badly as you treated me. You must be in so much pain. The pain must be strong enough to make you look at a twenty something young woman, who is fit and healthy, and set out to make her feel fat and useless. It truly must be awful to exist in a state of constant cognitive dissonance,” she says. “I hope you find your peace. And I thank you. You helped to set me on the road to mine.”