He had to have seen it coming...
Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) is a handsome, 43-year old Congressman who just happens to be a bachelor. Consequently, when he authored a bill that would open up 1000 visa slots to international models, it was almost inevitable that the jokes would start flying. As Jennifer Fermino of the New York Post noted, it looked like Weiner was seeking to broaden his dating pool. Of course, Congressman Weiner's unfortunate name hasn't helped matters.
According to Weiner, the problem is that a 1991 immigration guideline lumps models in with doctors, scientists and other geniuses. Apparently, there aren't enough visas for all of these "highly specialized" workers, and the fashion industry feels that the current visa allocation process unjustly favors geniuses above models. Weiner argues that the current restrictions against European models make it difficult for photographers to do fashion shoots in the United States, encouraging them to move their productions to Europe. This, in turn, means that fashion jobs are migrating overseas.
Foreign models currently dominate the fashion industry; Giselle Bundchen, the current top model in the world, earned $33 million in 2007. This is nearly seven times the take of America's top model, Carolyn Murphy. However, Bundchen and her ilk qualify for O-1 visas, which are designated for people of "extreme ability," such as Nobel Prize winners.
This issue is a little difficult. On the one hand, it's absolutely ridiculous, and the fact that it's found its way to the floor of the United States House of Representatives is a stunning criticism of America's undue fascination with the lifestyles of the rich and shameless. That having been said, I personally like to buy American, and it seems odd to me that a country of over 300 million people can't produce enough self-obsessed anorexics to appease the fashion industry. Damn it, the teeny-boppers of tomorrow need role models!
Bruce Watson is a freelance writer, blogger, and all-around cheapskate. He wishes that thrift stores employed models.
Take the first steps to building your portfolio.View Course »