Karen Elson thinks the fashion industry allows toxic people to “thrive”.

Karen Elson

Karen Elson

The 41-year-old supermodel believes warped mindsets are tolerated and hateful individuals are even praised for their behavior.

Karen can recall one specific photo shoot on which a photographer branded her “fat” despite being only 130 lbs

Speaking to The New York Times, she said: “The last time I was offended on a shoot or show was a couple of years ago. The photographer was being really offensive to everybody. He would say things to be controversial and made comments about how people used to call me ‘fat.’

“It crossed a line, so I called my agents, and we had a conversation with the magazine and with the photographer’s people and — I can’t say who, what, how, why — but action was taken.”

She continued: “At 130 pounds I could be deemed heavy. In the real world that is just insane, and a really dangerous narrative, but fashion is so insular that it has enabled very toxic mind-sets to thrive because nobody’s ever really questioned it.”

As a result, Karen has chosen not to work with certain individuals again in her career but still believes that people can change with education and help.

She added: “There are a number of people I avoid working with absolutely — because I didn’t enjoy the experience. I was maybe made to feel less than, so why bother walking into that arena again? But I believe in redemption.

“I will draw the line when there are things that are sexual in nature. But if it’s toxic behavior like bullying, acting like a tyrant on set or yelling at people, fat-shaming people — if I can say, ‘You know, I want to talk about how this behavior made me feel,’ then maybe, just maybe, I might be able to move on from it. But I will always take the side of the victim because I myself have been in situations where I’ve been treated terribly, and it has scarred me.”


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