Friday 21 September 2018

Model boss who advised staff to 'enjoy the flattery or get another job' says 'being called sexist makes me feel sick'

Kamila Angulska says she want to help the models at her agency to 'grow a thicker skin'
Kamila Angulska says she want to help the models at her agency to 'grow a thicker skin'
Kathy Armstrong

Kathy Armstrong

A model agency boss has defended a blog she wrote which warned staff "you are presenting yourself as a sex object" and "enjoy the flattery or get another job."

Kamila Angulska, Managing Director of PromoModels.ie, said that she wrote the controversial post 'Tips: How to be the best promo girl in town' in anger in 2015 in bid to help her staff "grow a thicker skin".

She rejects accusations that the advice was sexist, claiming that sexism is everything that she stands against and that the industry has changed a lot over the last few years.

The Irish Sun reports that the blog originally said: "If you become a promo gal you are presenting yourself as a sex object...

“You are some chick in a skimpy outfit flirting to make an impression.

“Don’t expect total respect from drunk dudes who like your rack, think you are smokin’ hot and ask dumb questions like ‘If I buy this, do you come with it?’ or ‘Can I get a hug to go with this?’

“I know some guys take their admiration too far, but don’t hate the player. Hate the game. Enjoy the flattery or get another job.”

Since the post came under the spotlight, a lot of the detail has been removed but it does still stress that if you want to make it as a promotional model then "looks matter."

"In the promo business, looks matter, and some companies roll differently than others. Some companies/brands/venues just don’t want a short, curvy blonde with short hair.

"They’d rather have a tall girl with no body fat, mile long legs, a flowing mane and big boobs for a bonus.

"I know some of you are going to say things like “that’s discrimination,” or “sexual harassment!” But, that’s just how it is," the blog says.

Other advice listed on the blog is "not being a dumba*s helps" and "don't be a b*tch."

Capture (2).jpg
Part of the blog post Kamila wrote advising people how to succeed as a promotional model

Kamila, who founded PromoModels.ie, said that she is surprised by accusations that the piece is sexist and explained how it was written after an upsetting incident.

"It was written after an event at a nightclub in 2015, I was very angry that the promo girls were being treated like objects and not like workers.

"I was angry and upset, I wanted to help the girls to grow thicker skins.

"It was an angry post and everyone who works in this company knows it's not our mission statement or anything, I accept that it was badly written and I could have phrased it differently so it wasn't so harsh but at the same time we wanted to open their eyes to how people might behave."

Kamila said there are more than 100 women aged 18 to 35 are signed to PromoModels.ie and she said the company does a lot to help their staff.

"A lot of the women who come to us are young women in college and have no idea how to sell themselves and be professional, how to behave so when someone signs with us there is an induction and then there is training, we teach them all about how to conduct themselves and to be professional, how to sell the product, while we also help them to become confident.

"I have always wanted to help bring change to the industry, to hear the company being called sexist makes me feel sick because that is the opposite of what I'm about," she said.

Kamila claims that promo models don't have encounter hassle any more than people who work in places like pubs or nightclubs would, where they may be dealing with drunk people.

She said: "Sexism isn't rife in the industry, it's like when you're doing bar work and there may be customers who are drunk and hassling you and are angry and pushing so we try to prepare them but I know the girls and the booking agent knows the girls, we know what they can handle and would never put them in jobs where they are out of their depth."

She also said that the industry has changed a lot over the past few years.

Kamila said: "A few years ago clients tended to want girls wearing short dresses, cleavage out, now you never really get that, they tend to want people who are educated and know the product and are good at communicating, who are healthy looking.
"Most companies want approachable, girl next door types, we promote all types of women and want to be inclusive of everyone.

"We can see the industry change and we are adapting to that."

Kamila has also released an official statement about the blog post, saying that "hindsight is twenty twenty vision."

She said: “The post was written in 2015, a time when the company was in its infancy. We were learning as a company and trying to meet market demands. In saying that, I accept that this was a poor judgement piece which has now been removed from the site. 

"We have grown and evolved as a company, the post written in 2015 no way reflects the business today and how far we’ve come, it’s not what we stand for.”

She also stressed that she feels PromoModels.ie empowers and supports women.

Kamila said: “Through our training and incentives programme, we offer courses that build confidence, promote skills and self-development alongside product and brand training. The wellbeing of our staff is paramount. 

“At present, our ratio of staff is 80:20 / Female: Male, and as such we take female empowerment very seriously, actively   supporting womens’ rights, our partnering charity of choice being the Ifrah Foundation, international advocates for the eradication of FGM/C.”

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