Celebrity News

Rachel Hunter: Going nude didn’t do me any harm

The model and Next Top Model judge muses on the recent controversy over nude model shots.
Rachel Hunter on New Zealand's Next Top Model

This week, modelling has been in the news for a number of reasons, including the alleged sexualisation of a 10-year-old model after she appeared in French Vogue, and the debate about whether last year’s Top Model winner, Danielle Hayes, should have posed topless for Auckland photographer Damien Nikora.

I must admit, I’m really surprised this caused controversy. Danielle is 20, and she agreed to do some gorgeous shots, not for attention, but because they are beautiful. She has an amazing strength about her that works really well in modelling.

At the beginning of my career, I was asked to do photos that showed off my body, and I thought hard about whether it was something I wanted to do – I wasn’t pushed into it at all. I had a great support team, and I was comfortable with all my choices, but you do have to be smart about it and research who you’re working with – make sure it’s a reputable photographer or designer.

If you’re going to enter the world of modelling, you will have to be prepared at some point to show off your body wearing sheer outfits, or in some cases, very few, if any, clothes, both in magazines and in runway shows.

As long as it is done well, and the shots show beauty rather than body parts just for the sake of it, I believe it should be embraced.

Women’s bodies are beautiful, and what could be more empowering than growing to love your body? I have done shots like this for high-fashion magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Vogue – and it didn’t do me any harm!

Posing nude to feature the beauty of a woman’s body, or to promote something such as jewellery, is editorial – it’s a different type of modelling to glamour modelling. It’s high fashion, and to sexualise it is to ignore the art that it really is.

Some of the most iconic shots of all time have been models posing nude – one of my favourites is of Nastassja Kinski with a snake. She is stunning.

Don’t get me wrong – if you want to pull your top down and pose for topless pictures, it’s still fine, as long as it’s something you’ve decided you want to do. No-one can be forced to pose nude if they don’t want to, but you need to make a choice.

For Sports Illustrated I wore a bikini, but there are shoots where you have to wear less.

I do worry a little bit about girls as young as Thylane Lena-Rose Blondeau modelling – mostly because I don’t think you’re mature enough to deal with the decisions you have to make until you’re 16.

Look at the 16-year-olds on Top Model – they look great, but they are still very young to be making decisions about whether they want their bodies to be exposed.

A girl’s physical state is one thing – it’s her mental and emotional state that will leave her vulnerable if she makes the wrong decisions. If you’re going to do it, though, be prepared. Showing off your body is part of being a beautiful creature.

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