Models That Eat was born out of a joke, a way to reclaim the whole “models don't eat, but, haha, actually we do" narrative. This is what founder and producer Phoebe Pojo set out to do as she began to document her and her fellow Fashion Week models eating in between shows and castings.
Models That Eat was originally just an Instagram account, primarily for Pojo and her friends. It wasn't until Pojo began receiving feedback, both from other models and her general following, that she saw the opportunity to change her platform into a space of healing, where the most scrutinized people in the fashion industry had an opportunity to discuss their struggles with body image and positivity.
“When I started to notice that a lot of our friends were struggling with body issues and [eating disorders], I was like, 'Wait, there’s a reason why no one knows what we eat, and there’s a reason why everyone thinks all these things about [models],'” Pojo said.
Pojo moved from IG to YouTube and began creating videos with her friends with whom she’d been modeling for years. Her niche content got a reputation for authenticity, increasing her viewership at an impressive rate. Pojo had found one of the few spaces left on the internet that was neither staged nor oversaturated.
Now, as Models That Eat comes up on its one-year anniversary this summer, Pojo has a unique chance to really direct her brand toward being an established platform. Her videos play host to both familiar faces (her guests include models who have been faces for an array of well-known brands, from Fenty to Gucci) and serious content that resonates with a wide audience of people who are also struggling with body image in this age of hyper social media use.
Along with discussing the various struggles that come with eating and emotional disorders, Pojo and her friends frequently delve into the complexities of the fashion industry, highlighting the ways in which it needs to change to accommodate our increasingly diverse culture. The video content provides an honest explanation of the ways in which the industry perpetuates low self-esteem and unhealthy body expectations without reducing their conversations to mere gossip.
There’s also a heavy influence of clean eating and veganism, which underlies most of the work the brand does. They are anything but one-dimensional, and their various stances on important, pertinent issues clearly resonate with the people they’re reaching.
In celebration of the fantastic, must-follow work which Models That Eat has been doing over the past year, we hosted a little Mukbang And Chill birthday party in our SoHo offices, complete with super-yum vegan cupcakes from Sweets by Chloe. Pojo and I were joined by her close friends Anajah Hamilton, Samia Hampstead, Bebe Howell, and Allie Barrett for a three-hour conversation—which we boiled down to a 15-minute video—in which the young women discuss the industry, their past year, and what they hope to see for Models That Eat in the future.
Watch it all go down in the video, below.