Models & Mental Health – How do they connect?

I am often asked ‘should models raise funds for a mental health cause?’ My answer is: who better! Experience has shown us the connection between models and mental health has great strength and power. Power to raise awareness of people around us who are suffering with their mental health and power to raise much-needed funds to help them.

A desire to support the cause

Now in its second year, contestants who’ve entered the Illawarra’s Top Model competition have often been motivated more by their desire to support Highlights on Mental Health, our chosen cause, than their ambition to get the sought-after prize – even though it is a great one, offering access into international modelling.

When fundraising counts

One of the criteria for our judges is just how much fundraising work a contestant does towards the cause. So we attract people who, being interested in modelling, can capture the public imagination with their personal glamour and the excitement the competition generates, while being the very same people who are passionate about supporting people struggling with their mental health. We embrace high ranking footballers who annually support Breast Cancer. So why not models and mental health? Keep in mind – 100% of the competition proceeds go to Highlights on Mental Health 2016.

Models are not immune

Many of our contestants have had a close brush with mental illness, known friends or family members with this struggle. Are models immune to mental health issues themselves? No matter how successful or seemingly strong a person seems outwardly, internal struggles can occur in everyone.

In the past eating disorders have been associated with modeling because of the industry’s tendency to demand the ‘super thin’ grace its catwalks. To address this, Illawarra’s Top Model Competition has three categories specifically for women of various sizes, –The aim is to give all young people greater opportunities and access to participate in this fun competition that can make a difference to real lives.

Supporting our contestants’ personal growth

We have introduced measures to protect and improve our contestants’ mental health and wellbeing throughout the competition process. How is this done? Each of our contestants has access to personal development and tutoring sessions throughout the campaign, with the goal of enhancing their confidence and sense of personal worth.

We in turn are confident that the Illawarra’s Top Models journey will offer each of our participants a socially rewarding experience through which they can develop new friendships and enhance their personal strengths. This can help to set them on a great future path, both professionally and personally. 

Public enthusiasm

The competition is growing in popularity, meeting with a huge groundswell of support in 2015. Again this year, the communities’ appreciation can be measured in dollars and cents on the My Cause Fundraising pages of each of our remarkable young participants. Here we pay tribute to all of them as they step up to the challenge, and in doing so, are already making a notable difference!

So come on Illawarra, get ready to support the upcoming Illawarra’s Top Model entrants in 2016 … and their commitment to raising funds for Highlights on Mental Health.