As a Model, I Was Being Judged by the Very Foundation of Myself

Photography by George Pimentel; WireImage via Getty

Why Bee Quammie’s experience as a model went from being a dream scenario to a reality check.

Once upon a time, I entered the world of modelling. As a tall, slim 12-year-old, I was offered a spot in a “model house” (a residence where several models live together at one time) in New York. I remember how excited my agent was when she shared the news with my mother and me—and how crestfallen I was when my mother said she was against it. For almost every objection she had, I silently responded in my head: “Her safety!” my mom said; I said, “I’m sure there are bodyguards.” “Her education!” my mom said; I said, “I’ll bet there are tutors.” “Her mental health!” my mom said; as a preteen, I had no clue what she was worried about. As I continued my modelling career, I soon came to the realization that modelling and my mental wellness were often at odds, and I had to learn how to rebuild my self-confidence.

Growing up, I adored glamour. My friends’ extra-curricular activities consisted of gymnastics and dance lessons, while mine

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