One outspoken model is blasting fashion giant Milk for offering her a gig with no money, and moreover being guilty of not paying much of their young talent they commission for projects. It’s pretty fitting that the model, Sanam starred as one of Rihanna’s henchwomen in the video for “B*tch Better Have My Money.” The badass brown girl was discovered by the pop star on Instagram (her page is full of incredibly cool selfies), and without any prior acting experience was cast in the music video. Since then she’s been booking editorial shoots with some of the top names in the biz but after a not-so subtle IG post, it seems like Sanam isn’t being offered the compensation she deserves.
“I have held my tongue about this for so long. I would love to know why @milk, a company worth millions, constantly asks me to work for them for free/no budget,” she writes. The 26 year-old shouts out Vice, MTV, Dazed, Chanel, Teen Vogue and Calvin Klein in addition to Milk as some of the culprits, and sites racism and ageism as their offenses. She continues to encourage other young women, especially black and brown women to know their worth and not settle for work solely for exposure.
She reasons that the only way to come out on top within the industry is to build your brand as we see so many entertainers are doing no, but goes on to say that is not always an option for those who are simply trying to survive. It’s a surprising revelation to hear considering Milk is home to some of the top dogs in fashion, music, photography & film but also a necessary one if anything intends to change. It raises the question, when did working for free (or for an Instagram shout out as Sanam puts it) become ok?
“Your emotional labor is not free. Your time is not free. Your work is not free. Your art is not free. Your body is not free,” Sanam leaves us with.
No word from Milk yet on any of Sanam’s comments. But judging by the amount of supportive comments under her post, we can only hope this issue garners the exposure it deserves. In the words of Rihanna…
(Photos from top: SANAM via Instagram, Roc Nation Westbury Road)
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