New Zealand model Kizzie Amoore has opened up about the dark side of the fashion industry she experienced after announcing she is taking a break from her career.

After spending eight years in the industry and "surviving" at least 100 shows, Amoore has revealed on Instagram that she is taking a step back from the industry.

However, she also detailed the alleged horrific treatment she received from clients and agencies from across the world.

Amoore also said standard contracts in many countries meant she would face deportation and debt if she gained a couple of centimetres. Photo / Facebook
Amoore also said standard contracts in many countries meant she would face deportation and debt if she gained a couple of centimetres. Photo / Facebook

"I've learned to budget every cent, as some jobs pay thousands and others don't come for months. Putting my foot down when it's come to insane contracts, health risks and abusive clients has been a key part of keeping myself safe - both inside and outside of New Zealand," she wrote.

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The Kiwi model, who has lived in six countries, said she was pressured about her weight from a young age and that the industry grooms models from a young age.

"I went from being bullied for my tiny frame at 12, to being screamed at for my hip measurements and smile at 15," she wrote.

"This industry grooms young models into valuing themselves solely by their appearance - a sort of microcosm of our overall society - but amplified towards minors.

"I was smoking in place of meals in Paris, as the 70 per cent deduction for tax and commission left me broke and starving most weeks.

"Despite having a BMI under 16, the doctor gave me a medical certificate, stating 'I was healthy enough to walk'.

"It's impossible to have the Haute Couture measurements of 34-24-34 and a height of 5'11 with a BMI greater than 18, so doctors are paid to lie about girls' health rather than actually change these body standards."

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After 8 years in the industry, I've completed my 11th and final fashion week! I've survived at least 100 shows, lived in six countries and it's finally time to take a step back and focus on my goals. My hair has gone to @haircollect thanks to @evachoy.hair, emotionally I need this to reclaim some sense of autonomy after feeling so little control over how I work and present myself. It's time for me to be speaking out about the changes we desperately need in the fashion world. Working in the fashion industry has extreme highs and lows. I've learned to budget every cent, as some jobs pay thousands and others don't come for months. Putting my foot down when it's come to insane contracts, health risks and abusive clients has been a key part of keeping myself safe - both inside and outside of New Zealand. I went from being bullied for my tiny frame at 12, to being screamed at for my hip measurements and smile at 15. This industry grooms young models into valuing themselves solely by their appearance - a sort of microcosm of our overall society - but amplified towards minors. I was smoking in place of meals in Paris, as the 70% deduction for tax and commission left me broke and starving most weeks. Despite having a BMI under 16, the doctor gave me a medical certificate, stating "I was healthy enough to walk". It's impossible to have the Haute Couture measurements of 34-24-34 and a height of 5'11 with a BMI greater than 18, so doctors are paid to lie about girls' health rather than actually change these body standards. Overseas, I had friends blatantly stolen from by agencies, and had to leave an agency myself when I was put at risk by some sexually exploitative clients. Model apartments tend to be overpriced, subject to change even after leaving. You think flatting in Auckland is bad? Try bathrooms without doors, being forced to pay to sleep on couches, constant sickness from overcrowding, pests, general filth and missing chunks of wall, and hosts who threaten and sexually abuse their guests. The standard contract in many countries is that a simple gain of a couple centimetres can mean deportation and debt. (CONTINUED IN COMMENTS)

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Amoore also claims that contracts in many countries meant she would face deportation and debt if she gained a couple of centimetres.

"Most contracts state that all work is to be completely controlled by the agency, leaving it down to their personal discretion on whether to send you to work in poor health.

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"Broke, sick and starving, I was forced to work for promoters (linked to the major agencies in that city), who secretly drugged and sold underage models on the side."

"I personally worked over 70 hours a week for almost nothing just to pay for my 13 hospitalisations in 11 weeks, yet I am much luckier than those younger and more vulnerable than me who have died from similar conditions."

She revealed that overseas that her friends were stolen from by agencies and had to leave an agency herself as sexually exploitative clients put her at risk.

"Model apartments tend to be overpriced, subject to change even after leaving. You think flatting in Auckland is bad? Try bathrooms without doors, being forced to pay to sleep on couches, constant sickness from overcrowding, pests, general filth and missing chunks of wall, and hosts who threaten and sexually abuse their guests," she wrote.

Amoore said for models to protect themselves from these abuses is almost impossible in an opaque industry and believed the fashion world is in desperate need of changes.

"We have a long way to go in New Zealand, but silencing the lived experiences of models isn't the way to change," she wrote.

"We MUST regulate the fashion industry, for the wellbeing of vulnerable models who don't have a leg to stand on in terms of protecting their safety.

"Minor models in New Zealand are still being booked unchaperoned with clients who have histories of physical and sexual violence.

"In 2019, these people have no place in the industry."

'Poor treatment at New Zealand Fashion Week'

However, she also alleged models received bad treatment behind the scenes, including alarming claims about things that happened at New Zealand Fashion Week last week.

A spokeswoman for Fashion Week rejects those allegations.

"[NZ Fashion Week] has made strides for model wellbeing by setting minimum rates for shows, age restrictions and privacy rules," Amoore wrote on Instagram.

"However, last week I was shocked to learn that agencies and clients have been secretly going below the minimum show rate."

But, she also said she was one of the "lucky ones" who has worked in the industry long enough to get paid at least minimum wage.

Kizzie Amoore walks down the runway for the Kate Sylvester show during New Zealand Fashion Week 2019 at Auckland Town Hall. Photo / Getty Images
Kizzie Amoore walks down the runway for the Kate Sylvester show during New Zealand Fashion Week 2019 at Auckland Town Hall. Photo / Getty Images

"In terms of what was going on behind the scenes, there was no water readily available at four out of seven shows I walked, until I made it very clear that our health was at risk to producers," she said.

"The single heater backstage completely ran out of gas, with no one bothering to get it back in working order despite temperatures dropping below 10 degrees and heavy wind blowing through the tent."

A Fashion Week spokesperson told to the Herald they were unaware about these claims, but wanted to make clear they only managed the on-site shows (at Auckland Town Hall in the Concert Chambers and in the Runway Tent).

Speaking about the models' wages, they said: "It is well known in the industry that agents set the rate they pay their models. All models should know what the designer is paying per show before they agree to walk in that show.

"The industry rate for first-time models is $150 per show and the more experienced models earn between $250 to $500 per show."

NZ Fashion Week said the models were well looked after and water coolers were available in backstage areas of both the green rooms to the Concert Chambers and in the Runway Tent.
"Cups and water were constantly replenished by backstage staff producers and there were multiple refills available at all times."

"The water coolers to the Runway was at the entrance to the backstage area, and also the Concert Chamber green room. They were also outside the production office and also in the corridor next to where models changed.

"If Kizzie could not find any of these water coolers she could have asked either the wardrobe manager or the producers.

"A well-stocked Red Bull fridge was also available as were couches."

Kizzie Amoore in the Zambesi show during New Zealand Fashion Week 2019 at Auckland City Library. Photo / Getty Images
Kizzie Amoore in the Zambesi show during New Zealand Fashion Week 2019 at Auckland City Library. Photo / Getty Images

The spokesperson said that this year the first year NZ Fashion week had a No Plastic Policy and all staff were advised to bring a refillable water bottle.

"We cannot comment as to what was provided on the offsite venues"

NZ Fashion Week also denies that heaters were not kept refilled with gas.

"There were several gas heaters in the green room and these were used only when it was safe to do so – e.g. when the area could be ventilated.

"Whenever the gas ran out producers had it changed when it was safe to do so. Backstage producers were constantly monitoring the models to make sure they were warm, asking them to put jackets on to sit on the chairs and couches provided, not the floor."

The company also said they had not received any complaints from models and nor have formally received a complaint from Amoore.

"We are always mindful of the wellbeing of all models, staff and all volunteers and put multiple processes in place to ensure their wellbeing.

"These procedures have been fine-tuned over the past 19 successful NZFW events and are always evolving."