This is the follow-up to (you guessed it!) part 1.
An agent gave me the information for photographer *Khalid to do my headshots, but since I already had headshots I never called him. Flash forward a few months-I was at a beautiful New York studio to do an all-day, several look photoshoot for my portfolio. The photographer had been recommended by someone in the industry, and I was very impressed with his work from what I had seen on his website. At the studio, I noticed a business card of the photographer’s with an alternate website on it-the site of the headshot photographer recommended by *Carla several months earlier. I realized that this Khalid was that Khalid. His association with a dubious agency wasn’t enough to send me screaming, though. After all, the guy’s photographs had been published in serious publications, including well known fashion magazines.
Khalid himself did my makeup-quite skillfully, I must add. The point of the shoot was to have some good prints for my book, so we shot five looks over about seven hours. At first we did some beauty shots with different makeup looks, then moved on to fashion shots.
As time passed Khalid began making a lot of suggestive remarks. It’s not uncommon for photographers to ask for “your ‘O’ face” or a “f*** me look” when you are shooting glamour, but this was fashion-the look on the face is usually blank or angry. He was asking for a lot of sexual faces and gestures, and when I got uncomfortable he tried to massage my shoulders. At one point he tried to massage my shoulders as I was lying on by back by crouching over me-I was practically tea-bagging this asshole, no wonder I looked uncomfortable!
We moved from beauty and fashion to some tasteful glamour looks. Khalid was by that point openly mocking me for being so uncomfortable, telling me I’d never make it as a model if I couldn’t be more sexual. I nixed his idea to shoot me on a bed, topless but covered by a cowboy hat held to my chest. I would do opaque lingerie, I finally compromised. That’s when he told me he was going to have to put foundation all over my body, “especially near the bikini line”, to ensure even lighting. I absolutely refused to let him do it, and after much wrangling I grabbed the foundation bottle and went into the bathroom to do it myself. That was the last look we did that day. I got my prints a few days later, and, for the most part, loved them. I paid for them, so I use them, regardless of my experience shooting them.
A few months later I recieved a message on Model Mayhem from a model who noticed I had shot with Khalid asking if he had behaved inappropriately with me. It turns out that a group of models was considering a class-action lawsuit against him for, among other things, sexual assault. He had used the whole “foundation around the bikini line” bit to put his hands under the bikini bottoms of several models. I was sickened when I heard that, and grateful that I had followed my instincts to prevent him doing that to me. I added my story to theirs in the official reports, but unfortunately the statute of limitations had expired in most cases, making a class-action suit impossible. Some of the other models are considering alternate legal action.
That was hands-down my worst shoot, but because I got good pictures out of it I was reticent to tell anyone about the experience. Perhaps I even believed him that I needed to be more sexual for my career. But when I heard what he had done to other girls, I wanted to help.
To anyone reading this, I say TRUST YOUR INSTICTS! If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. This guy has his work in national and international glossy magazines. Being a “professional” doesn’t make him less of a scumbag. Keep yourself safe, and don’t let anyone bully you into doing something that makes you uncomfortable.
*Names changed to protect the presumed-innocent (presumed innocent for now at least). If you are a model and you’re worried about running into this creep, or if God forbid you’ve already worked with him, message me directly and I’ll tell you his name.