June 24, 2024

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Former model Barrett Pall shares his experience with sexual assault by a photographer

When Barrett Pall started modeling during his freshman year at NYU, he imagined the job would come with glamorous perks and big paychecks. “In reality, that’s not what it is at all,” Pall tells Yahoo Life. “I’ve been very open and honest that on my very first photoshoot, I was sexually assaulted by the photographer.” Inspired by the #MeToo movement and the strength of other survivors, Pall first told his story to The Advocate in 2018. Since then, it’s been his mission to expose sexual predators in the modeling industry and encourage other male models to speak out. “I know that this is not an uncommon situation for most models,” he says. There is no union for models, and agencies and brands are not obligated to step in and protect models on photoshoots. Born out of necessity, the Model Alliance was established in 2012 to provide support, education and encouragement for models to speak up against injustices in the industry. “There is something that’s taken from you, and as more people share their stories that are similar to mine, you get to take back a part of your narrative, which is taking back some of your power,” says Pall. Healing can take a lifetime, and for Pall, that journey includes helping others to heal. For the last eight years, he’s been working as a life coach focused on helping his clients unlock their potential. He wants things to be different for young men who make the decision to become models. He wants them to use their voices in the way that he couldn’t — back when he was a young NYU freshman with big career aspirations. “The message that I want to send out to other men, regardless of your sexuality, is that consent is something that we also get to have for us and our sex lives. It’s an enthusiastic yes. Or it’s not a yes at all,” says Pall. “It brings me so much joy to see so many people who had their voices silenced for so long finally get to say what their lived experience is.”