Kathy Ireland opens up about experiences with 'predators' in fashion: 'I know what a lot of these young girls go through'

Megan Sims and Jacquie Cosgrove

Kathy Ireland, in an interview with Yahoo Lifestyle, shared her thoughts on the #MeToo movement and the crisis of predators in the fashion industry, which also inspired much of her new book Fashion Jungle.

According to Ireland, Fashion Jungle, which she also calls a “cautionary tale,” is based on her experiences in the fashion industry, including the experiences of other women she has come across in her career.

The former supermodel, who went on to become a business mogul with her global brand kathy ireland Worldwide, was seen as a fashion darling in the 1980s and ‘90s, gracing the covers of major magazines like Vogue and the coveted Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. But according to Ireland, there was a dark side to that seemingly glamorous life.

“Working in the fashion industry, we see those glossy magazine covers, the retouched photos,” she said. “We don't always see what happens behind the scenes ... I quickly learned that not all adults were good people, like my parents. There was an incident where a photographer did not respect my ‘no,’ he crossed a boundary with me and it was in regards to what he wanted me to wear. I punched him and walked out of there.”

Kathy Ireland shared her scary experiences as a model. (Photo: Paul Archuleta/Getty Images)
Kathy Ireland shared her scary experiences as a model. (Photo: Paul Archuleta/Getty Images)

Ireland also recounted another scary experience when she was working in Milan as a teenager and found a strange man waiting for her in the lobby of her hotel. The man tried to convince her to leave the hotel with him, and she later found out that this was not an uncommon occurrence and that if she had left with him, the consequences would have been dire.

“They called them playboys, he wasn’t a playboy, he was a predator. It begins with elaborate dinners. They were seeking to get the girls into their villas, get the girls hooked on drugs and then start selling them in the sex slave trade and many of these girls we don't see them again and it's heartbreaking,” Ireland remembered.

The model added that she’s in awe of the scores of women speaking out against abuse.

“The #MeToo movement is powerful, it empowers people to speak out and I am grateful for their courage because I know what a lot of these young girls go through,” Ireland said.

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