Girl Model (2011) - full transcript

A documentary on the modeling industry's 'supply chain' between Siberia, Japan, and the U.S., told through the experiences of the scouts, agencies, and a 13-year-old model.

She maybe never had the body, though.
Oh, really? Wow.
There's some cute girls. There's some nice ones.
One of these.
How old is she?
I'll try.
I'm looking for a specific type of girl
for the Japanese market.
Everybody has their own vision of beauty,
and it's hard, sometimes, to bypass my own personal aesthetic preferences,
but for Japan, it is quite specific,
so the girls have to be a certain height, not too tall, cute, young.
Young is very important.
It's not entirely up to me.
I make note of what I see today,
then I review it with our board in Tokyo.
We have Musako, a booker, Masaya, the owner,
Kazumi, another booker, so it's a group decision.
And often, it's not what I believe is the best.
Sometimes the girl that I think is so amazing for Japan
doesn't work at all, so that's what's exciting about this business.
It's totally unpredictable, so nobody knows.
Mmm. It's very good for Japan.
Mmm. Mmm.
No, no. Yeah, yeah, I'm going to video her.
OK, stay here, Nadya. Can you come here, closer?
Closer. Can you open your hair?
Say hello, Nadya.
From Novosibirsk.
Just see how long it is, OK?
Perfect. Thank you. Spasiba.
I love to travel!
I love the trains, especially the toilets. I miss them!
I miss this, you know?
'The concept of Noah was simple.'
Just like Noah saved all the animals,
I'm trying to save all these young girls.
That's what I'm doing. I'm putting them on the plane,
sending them to the West, giving them a chance
where they can find themselves, develop as women,
grow as individuals,
and I hope that someday they'll do some good to the other people.
So, in a way, for me, this is a religious matter.
This is my bible.
Ashley will be my western partner.
We also have problems in the West, and it's also a difficult,
uphill battle there, but it's a different problem,
so together we'll be a great team.
The depth of the psychology involved, you know.
We go very, very deep with the girl, trying to understand
all her problems, trying to understand the parents.
We, sort of, at the end, form a profile.
And we try to replace those fathers
and support them in any way we can.
You know, in certain cities you must have trustworthy people,
so then they can find the girls at much earlier stages
and pre-screen them until we get there.
This is strategically very important.
Before anybody else can get there, we'll have the girls.
Yeah, those are pretty.
She's so cute.
Can you send me her pictures just to follow?
Yeah, sure.
'They love skinny girls in Japan,'
and she has a fresh, young face.
She looks young, almost like a prepubescent girl.
It's a great freedom not be employed... a nine-to-five job.
But I don't know.
The business of modelling is not something
I feel necessarily passionate about,
because it really has no weight.
It changes minute by minute, and it's based on nothing.
If you start to look at all those girls,
and you really look at each one and you bring them close to you,
and you look in their eyes and look in their faces,
you can start to see their age and their experience,
and the business is obsessed with youth,
and especially my business in Japan.
You can't be young enough,
and youth is beautiful,
because there's a luminosity, there's something in the skin.
There's something innocent.
That's what my eye has been trained to see from Japan.
So I look at beauty and I think of young girls, beautiful.
We had a really good casting yesterday.
Really beautiful girls, quite productive.
There were, like, 200 girls.
Probably, like, six girls, seven girls.
So I want to pick, maybe,
30 really great girls that I know I can confirm.
OK, Tigran, I'll talk to you again. OK, bye.
Tigran is a really hard-core business.
He's done what nobody else in this business has done, like,
the money he's made.
Whereas, when I work with Japan, they don't know what I do, where I go.
As long as I bring them the girls.
I have no job description of what I do or what I'm supposed to bring them.
They cover my expenses and I get a commission of whatever I bring them.
So that is freedom.
I can kind of get away with not really caring about this business that much.
But I never like to think of myself as an ex-model.
I never like to bring that point up.
But, of course, it does bring a different insight.
But I was the person that hated this business more than anybody,
and now I'm 15 years in it.
This whole place is hurting me too much.
Even if I do ten jobs in the next two weeks,
there won't be any money for me by the time I cover my expenses.
Fashion is so boring to me these days.
I don't even like to look at the magazines.
I mean, I do, but it's just all the same stuff all the time.
Anyone who does it must be an idiot.
So what are you trying to say?
What would you rather do?
Poetry? Yeah.
Girl, what happened to you in Tokyo, huh?
What's this twister taking you away for?
Is it really worth it?
Take off your shoes.
What? Shoes?
Take off shoes.
Oh. Yeah?
To live in a glass house.
It's great in the daytime, but scary at night.
When I stay here alone, I get scared.
It's like, if you're inside with the lights on, people can see you,
but you can't see them, and then there's, like, weird sounds.
It's pretty isolated.
They're sleeping.
One boy and one girl.
I got them from a dollar store, or something.
When I bought my house, I got the babies at the same time.
I felt like I had a home, so I should have a baby.
I was 23 at the time.
I had three, but then I dissected one.
I mean, the models that we meet in Russia are really little girls,
just the babies, but they're not my children.
I mean, I'm not at that point yet.
I'm in that precarious place where they don't really know,
like, can they be my friend?
I care about the girls a lot. I don't feel, like, inspired by...
I don't know. No, I do really care about the girls. It's just...
I don't feel so...
Like I have some, you know,
big truth to tell them about the amazing business,
that I'm going to change their lives and make them be fulfilled,
because it's very tough.
Very tough business.
I'm trying to remember how I felt the first time I landed in Japan.
I'm having a hard time remembering the first flight,
but I remember walking into the agency,
and meeting with Sako, who was my booker.
The Japanese always want something new.
And it's the best place for the new face to come,
so Tigran wants to send his models to Japan,
then Messiah wants to receive the new models.
It's more convenient to have me in New York
where I can meet girls in New York,
fly to Europe, cover certain regions,
so they pay me a small commission to be the scout.
Messiah owns Switch. He loves, I mean...
Loves models.
By foot, we go.
Three, two, action.
Hello, my name is Nadya and I'm 15 years old.
Many, many questions.
But don't answer. I don't hear answer.
I think that the main issue for me is that there is a lot of 13,
14, 15 years old girls.
I mean, there is, too, in Europe,
and all of them say that no,
in Europe and America they don't use any girl under 16 any more,
but the girls, I see them at the casting, I talk to them.
But who is to blame?
We can't blame the girls, because they're just being sent.
We can't blame the families, because maybe they are in need.
Can we blame the agency that took them on,
because a client will take them?
Can we blame the clients that will pretend or won't know,
actually, how old those girls are?
There's no-one to blame, but the whole thing is so wrong.
They all play blind, really,
and if they used 13 or 14-year-old girls, it means, did you not
want any girls that are the shape of a woman, really.
Seven for Russia, so you start from area code.
I don't know, it's your number.
You got area code?
Area. Do you have a dictionary?
Dictionary. Do you have a book?
No. Russian-English book, you have.
Bring, bring. Yes.
This, Russian. Ah, English.
seven is Russia, and you put...
Erm, yes.
Write down your number.
Ah, it's not in service.
We cannot call from this number. This phone doesn't work.
Here is me, getting my hair done in Japan.
I remember the birth, being a model,
and I hated it so much.
I've never been so down.
I remember days where I would just literally stay in my apartment
and stay in my bed all day.
I just couldn't even get out of bed.
I didn't know what to do with myself. I felt so depressed.
All I would think about is,
"OK, what am I going to really do with my life?
"Why am I doing this?"
"When can I go home?"
I realised that I didn't actually have to have
a death of modelling, because I started scouting,
and I could actually now be in control, and that was fun,
because I could decide when I want to travel,
and I could pick the models, and I was still a model,
so all my friends were models, a lot of them, so I just started
sending them to Japan, so right away, I had an instantaneous business.
The best thing I did was buy my little house.
And then I made more money when I sold it, which I'm doing now,
so I'm actually reaping the benefits of my modelling career right now.
So this is my favourite little spot.
I had these boxes made for these little mini prints.
Hands, gestures.
See, I'm trying to hide my camera under the table... that they don't know that I'm photographing.
Sometimes I wouldn't photograph the girl's face,
I would just photograph her feet or her hands.
Sometimes I would try and find the legs, match the legs,
which legs went with which body.
Hey, does that work? That works.
Doesn't it?
Oh, no. Doesn't work.
Wait, almost works.
This is the same. This is the same bathing suit, though, look.
That fits that. If I had it on a tripod, then I could.
A lot of times, you do shoots,
and you never see the pictures in the end.
The pictures can be sold to a magazine afterwards,
and so you won't make any money,
because agencies don't want you to know what's going on, anyway.
It's better for them, because if you don't really know what's going on,
how much you're getting paid, what are your expenses,
they can get more money out of you.
You have to be really on top of everything,
and at 13 years old, she won't be on top of everything,
she'll be like, "Oh, my God, I'm going to Japan. I have all those jobs booked,
"I'm going to make that much money at least."
But they don't know that they're not getting those jobs.
They'll just take advantage of her.
S'il vous plait.
Concorde? Concorde.
I don't know if short-term would be defined by, like,
12 years of travelling.
It's more than short-term. It's an addiction.
It really is an addiction.
I stick with what I know, because I'm afraid to try new things.
Once you've travelled and seen so much,
you sort of want that stimulus again,
because there's a certain stimulus with new places.
Sorry, Tigran. I was just wanting to make sure I had it right.
You had it right.
I mean, this is what I know the most.
I started doing this when I was 17.
It's just, like, something I know,
but it's not something that I necessarily...
I need to be more business, like you.
Your business and this business.
So many people aren't business in this business, so...
I mean, if you catch the girl at 12,
when these girls are in these very delicate stages of their lives,
then you have more power, or more influence to guide and direct.
It's not really the age, it's how mature they are,
because at the age of 13,
she has something that most people rarely have,
and that's called dignity.
A 13-year-old will never go with a rich man, you know, for money,
Because she'll understand that
she's much happier with the 100,000
that she earned, or with the 50,000
that she earned, than with the
3 million that she gets from this
rich man, doing nothing other than
spreading her legs in front of him.
A 12-year-old or 13-year-old would never do it.
They're difficult girls.
So, to have a good effect of education,
we sometimes take these girls to the morgue, and we show them
these young girls or boys who did drugs and passed away.
That has an everlasting effect,
and if the model is still too hard-headed,
we have the autopsy done in front of them.
Believe me, that affects them so strongly.
You do that?
So you call up the morgue in St Petersburg?
That's right.
And you find out?
That's right.
You know, the worst part is when they realise
they could be in their place,
and that has a very, very strong effect on them.
Believe me, seeing a dead, young girl in front of you
has a really strong effect.
With an open body, you know.
I think I was a very bad person in my past life.
So I'm back to pay my debt.
I think I was a military person.
I know that, and I killed a lot of people.
So I think I'm back to now help people.
It's my contract.
I've been scouting with Tigran,
and this is Noah Models' most recent find.
But they have a real monopoly on the Russian market
because they have agencies stretching all the way across Russia,
and they have 20 little offices, so they're scouting in that area,
and they're really getting first option on all the girls,
because there's little agencies.
This is the bathroom?
Oh, my gosh!
That is a pretty bad one.
That's pretty bad!
What do we have out here?
A garden?
Yeah, we know.
So, yes, it's not... Yeah.
It's not the best model's apartment.
But I guess it's OK.
You're going to, I mean, you're pretty busy with the castings,
and then, this weekend, I think you have a shooting.
Why, why is that funny?
I don't work. Nadya and I.
We don't know yet.
I know, I don't work.
I don't know why.
You feel you don't work?
I don't work in this week, next week.
Nadya doesn't work this week and next week.
I don't know.
This is your feeling.
This is not the reality, because we don't know.
Still every day you're doing castings, right?
But this week we know no job.
No job.
And then next week, casting, casting.
Casting, casting, no job.
But maybe the next week you have a job.
I don't know.
All right.
What I wanted out of life was...
..I want my own security.
When I go back and read a lot of my writings,
a lot of the times I've been modelling I feel really scared.
I obsess about money and I just have to chill out.
I don't know.
Sometimes I think I'm not being professional, you know.
There's a lot of things that I've done that are bad in the business,
but I always try to play it off like I'm so good.
Maybe I'm not really that good at all.
It's just growing.
It's producing. It's very active, you know.
It's just doing its own thing.
I mean, I would be happy to be four months pregnant
with a healthy thing, but this is just something that's growing
for no reason, that eventually will have to be taken out.
One's here,
and one's here.
They said it's right at the top.
They just open it and there it is, sitting right there.
One is a fibroid, and one is a cyst.
But hopefully it will be all right in ten days from now...
..when I get operated on by a robot.
Thank you so much.
I have diaries, probably more videotapes.
This is the truest evidence.
All the girls just want to get out, so they try.
They can be athletes, they can be gymnasts,
they can be ballerinas, they can be models,
they can be prostitutes.
Most of the time, they do a combination of both,
I mean, often, yeah.
They do.
There are certain agencies, high-class agencies that will
help facilitate, and especially ones if you have the experience
of making money and you are a model,
you only know how to make money as a model.
If you're not making money
as a model, you just know you're
a beautiful girl who uses her body,
so it's kind of natural to think,
"Well, I sell my body for the camera.
"What's the difference?"
You know the DVDs I gave you, and you could see, sometimes,
the girl presented herself in a certain way
at the castings in Russia.
Sometimes it was clearly like
she was presenting herself as a sex object.
Sometimes she was just a young girl.
I mean, those tapes are widely distributed.
And, of course, the goal is
that they get placed at modelling
agencies, but the reality is...
..that they get placed other places, too.
And I don't have first hand experience of these things.
I mean, I'm not, obviously,
participating in this, so...
It's just normal to be a prostitute.
For them, you know.
Maybe it's easier than being a model.
I don't know.
I mean, in a lot of countries,
prostitution is not considered a terrible thing.
I don't really acknowledge that it exists.
I don't understand how new girls
like Nadya and Madlen can make you money,
can make Tigran money, can make Ashley money.
If they don't make money, why do you bring them in?
Here is some literature just on the procedure you had.
This is very broad,
and it's not truly specific to exactly what you had done.
You want to make sure you continue to eat well, but things to look out
for that you would need to call your doctor is if you notice any separation.
So it sometimes takes a little while
for the body to process all that you've received.
- OK, so I'll be right back. - OK.
It's painful to cough.
It's a small incision.
The fibroid they had to cut in 20 pieces to take it out.
They thought it was ten centimetres, but it was actually 15.
A baby's head, like, that big, that came out of me.
And then another one, this one.
This thing.
So disgusting. Oh, my God. This is the cyst.
This is blonde hair. They've never seen one with so much blonde hair.
My egg, splitting on its own.
They said I could have a baby in six months.
I mean, I want a baby, because that's what I'm born to do.
I mean, I'm born with these organs.
I want a little bit of everything,
but I do want a baby.
Hopefully that could travel
with me to Russia.
So when I go to have a baby, I'll, like, decide which date and then
just go and have the same operation that I just had, basically.
Which girls, particularly, are you looking for?
For my market, which is Japan, we are quite specific,
so we like young girls,
fresh girls, new faces.
The girls that I see today,
the chances are I will book some of them.
They should expect to work
very hard in Japan,
but it's a very safe place,
and every model has success in Japan.
Unlike other markets,
where they might go into debt,
they never do in Japan.
They only win.
Very good.
Oh, she's cute.
Do you speak English?
Yes, you do?
A little English?
She's so cute.
Can you introduce yourself?
# My name is Maria, Maria. #
My name is Maria.
And you are 13 years old?
Your age is 13?
Can you put your hair back?
You're so cute!
Do you think she'll grow a little bit? She'll grow, right? She's 13.
Yes, for sure.
Additional subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd