"Felix Hutt Investigative": Nightlife in Milan: The dangerous world of unemployed models

Kendall Jenner and the Hadid sisters form the current model Olympus.

"Felix Hutt Investigative": Nightlife in Milan: The dangerous world of unemployed models

Kendall Jenner and the Hadid sisters form the current model Olympus. However, their level of fame and success is just the tip of the iceberg. Because the reality of the young women hoping for runway jobs at fashion weeks is very different than that of the Hadids and Jenners.

In his new investigative report, Felix Hutt dares to take a look behind the scenes of the industry. And what he sees might shatter the dreams of many young people. Hutt's journey begins in Berlin, where the journalist watches the casting for Marcel Ostertag's fashion show. The models there are slim, Hutt notices that immediately. But that's hardly shocking.

What he learns in Milan, however, is terrifying for Hutt and his team. Because she is particularly interested in what happens to the models who don't walk the runway with Hadid and Jenner. Many of them come from Eastern Europe and share accommodation with several other people. Money is tight, especially when brands and designers don't book them. And the agencies in the home country and in Italy have to be paid. But what do the models who are not booked do?

Hutt quickly comes into contact with so-called promoters. These are men who ensure that nightclubs and discotheques are stocked with enough women. The concept is not new. In many cities, for example in New York, it works in a similar way. As a woman, it's easier to get into discotheques, and promoters help with that. But the promoters in Milan also have another function.

Hutt quickly finds out that they "take care of" the models without a job. What does that look like then? Hutt meets promoter Matteo, who is tasked with making sure the investigative reporter and his cronies (all fellows with hidden cameras and mics) have a great night. For this he "supplies" Hutt and colleagues with several very young models from Eastern Europe. Why do they go out to dinner with much older men? Very simple: you need the money. Because everyday life as a working model is not always profitable, even if you have jobs. As one of the models explains, she earns 100 euros for a day in a showroom where she presents clothes. But she only keeps 50 percent of this, the rest goes to the agency in her home country and in Italy. The models get about the same thing from promoter Matteo, as one of the women reports to Hutt.

Hutt and his team travel from Milan to Paris, the scene of the most important fashion shows in the world and the fate of Thysia Huisman. The former model tells the RTL reporter about her time in Paris when she wanted to get started in the job. She was discovered by none other than Jean-Luc Brunel, one of the most successful model agents at the time. But the French agent was accused of sexual abuse as early as the 1980s.

In an issue of the news magazine "60 Minutes", young models told presenter Diane Sawyer about the criminal culture that prevailed in some agencies in Europe. "It's a meat market, you're just there so someone can take you home and bed you," Courtney Soerensen, a young American model, recalled meeting Brunel and his friends on the show. And the woman described how the Brunel system should have ended: "He has the agency, he has the girls. His friends say: 'Jean-Luc, I would like to meet a girl' or 'We're throwing a party tonight, bring a bunch of girls.'" Sawyer pressed on at the time. What would happen if you said no to that as a model. "Then you don't work," was the reply. Brunel is also said to have "supplied" his good friend Jeffrey Epstein with underage girls.

After Brunel was arrested in late 2020, he took his own life in prison while the investigative team was investigating, like Epstein before him. Brunel's story is well known, and Huisman also told of her experience in the past. "Paris will probably never be my favorite city. The first time I came back, I was here to report Jean-Luc Brunel to the police. I had a panic attack on the train. But this time it was okay," she says and describes Hutt the alleged rape, which left her deeply traumatized. Brunel is said to have made her compliant with drugs in a drink. "I remember he took me to his bedroom. He threw me on the bed. And I have lapses from there – but some things are crystal clear. So he pushed me onto the bed, lay on top of me and he tried to kiss me. And then — he ripped my shirt, his hands were all over the place. And I blacked out, but I remember him penetrating me. He had sex with me," explains the former model .

A man who has been accused of abuse for decades is still big in business today: Guess boss Paul Marciano. The creative director of an international fashion empire with over 1000 stores worldwide. Allegations by former models have so far been in vain. For Amanda Rodriguez, for example, modeling for Guess was a dream. But as she tells Hutt, he is said to have quickly become a nightmare because of Marciano. "He always seemed threatening to me - right from the start. It started out insidiously and then developed more and more until at one point I felt like I could only obey. I was terrified of him," says the model and reports that Marciano should have forced her to have oral sex.

In Los Angeles, Hutt and his team tried to confront Marciano themselves and get a statement from him about the allegations made during the investigation. Again and again they receive rejections or their efforts come to nothing because no one answers. Until Hutt gets a text message from Marciano himself in the middle of the night. "Hey this is Paul... I heard you are looking for me," writes the creative director. When meeting Marciano - without cameras but with sound - Marciano explains why he agreed to talk. "You almost got into real trouble. I heard you were at Guess and you were kicked out. Then you came to my house. I called the police and almost had you arrested. And then I thought – they're from Germany. That's a big number. Why are they here? And that's why I got in touch," says Marciano.

The 70-year-old firmly rejects the accusations made by the women. And he doesn't mince his words. "She says oh a blowjob, oral sex. She got $2,000 for that. I mean, she's from Vegas, she was a porn girl. And now she wants to be raped? Raped? How creative," he says of her Allegations by model Amanda Rodriguez.

You can see how Guess boss Marciano continues to defend himself at 8:15 p.m. on RTL or on RTL in the documentary “Felix Hutt Investigative: Fashion. Power. Abuse. The unscrupulous business with young models”.

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