Fashion

04.02.14

Anderson Cooper Was Propositioned by a Photographer as a Child Model

The news anchor tells Howard Stern why his modeling career didn’t last long.

After keeping silent for thirty years, the dashing Anderson Cooper has opened up regarding the definitive cause for the premature end of his child modeling career. On Monday, the CNN news anchor spoke to Howard Stern about his three-year stint modeling for the likes of Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, and Macy's.

"I got propositioned by a photographer...a male," Cooper, who began modeling at age ten, told the radio personality. "He somehow got my number and called me up and offered me money, and so it freaked me out. I never told anybody. I just stopped. I was, like, 'Forget it.'"

Cooper revealed that the photographer offered him $2,500 for his services. When Stern asked, "At that point, you were obviously aware you were gay, but it wasn’t like you wanted to be with an adult man," Cooper replied, "Yeah, I was 13 years old. I wasn’t even thinking about sex. With anybody. I don’t think he had any idea [I was gay]. You know, maybe he did—I honestly don’t know. I think he saw that I was on my own, that I didn’t have a parent or guardian there."

The lack of parental supervision on set for underage models has been highlighted recently, with the slew of sexual assault allegations rising against fashion photographer Terry Richardson. "Models also are not legally able to unionize for the same reason they are not protected by the sexual harassment laws established by the Civil Rights Act—they are classified as independent contractors," Jennifer Sky wrote for The Daily Beast. "Because of this loophole, modeling agencies are not the models’ employers. And so, agency loyalties are not to their young workers, who rapidly age out of an industry based around youth. They’re loyalty lies with their wealthy clients—the magazines/designers/photographers that they will continue to work with for decades." It's this loyalty that has led girls like Sara Ziff, Charlotte Waters, and Coco Rocha to speak out. And it's this loyalty that led Cooper to end his budding modeling career.