One of the biggest, most complex cons in existence, recently being ruthlessly promoted in the UK by a show called 'Model Behaviour', in which hordes of hopeful model-wannabes are systematically struck down by three judges, until five have been chosen for a trial in the industry.

My younger sister, who clearly stole the deeper, more luscious, leafy, productive end of the gene pool from me,is bee-YOOOOO-ti-ful. So much so, she has the ability to stop traffic on a busy London street - more than once, I may add. As my mother was once violently assaulted and mugged on this very same street and no-one batted an eyelid, this gives you an idea of her glory....

Anyway, to cut a long story short, my sister was stopped in the street by a scout for a very well known modelling agency. Despite my rantings along the lines of 'pieces of meat'....'nothing but cattle'...'you are far more intelligent than that'....she was determined, and took me along for her subsequent appointment with the agency.

Well, it was fucking heartbreaking. They wanted her, wanted to use her to make more money for themselves, but they wanted her to - deep breath - lose some weight.

You remember the old saying 'pinch an inch'? Well, you can't. Not on her. Not even a millimetre. She is five foot eleven inches tall, and a size six (which, for the benefit of anyone not in the UK, is miniscule). And these chain smoking, calorie counting, Queens-English-accent-faking old bags had the sheer nerve, the audacity to tell her that, at age fifteen.

Either she's suitable or she's not. Simple. Is there any need to tell her negative things as well? Anyone with a brain can see that for her to lose any weight would be sheer insanity.

Imagine that multiplied by a couple of hundred thousand and you have the phenomenon that is 'Model Behaviour' or the fashion industry in general.

Cheap tricks abound...

The cheap nasty shirts manufactured in Thai sweatshops, with a label sewn on, and flogged for fifty quid each are about as 'designer label' as the chair I am sitting on. The designer clothes, the real Mcoy, are the ones that strut down the catwalk, the ones that cost as much as my house, the ones that none of us will ever get anywhere near.

I am exhausted even thinking about it. Am going to have to leave my non-designer-label chair, walk to my non-designer-label bed with its non-designer-label duvet and pillows and have a lie down...

I am so grateful that I am happy that way. And it's cheaper.

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