Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Boston Ballet in Mikko Nissinen\'s The Nutcracker; photo by Liza Voll, courtesy of Boston Ballet
Boston Ballet in Mikko Nissinen\'s The Nutcracker; photo by Liza Voll, courtesy of Boston Ballet
photo by Liza Voll / Boston Ballet

Models Doing Ballet

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Northeastern chapter.

While balletcore is on the rise, so is the amount of models doing “ballet.”

In attempts to promote new balletcore lines, companies have turned to putting models in pointe shoes to show off how “authentic” their looks are. Even in ads not featuring models, pointe and flat ballet shoes are often featured. 

It’s a well known fact that ballerinas train their entire lives to get the opportunity to dance on stage or get photographed. However, most companies prefer to hire popular models and throw them in pointe shoes rather than hiring the plethora of professional dancers constantly auditioning for jobs, even in ads that do not require pointe shoes.

Not only are untrained fashion models wearing dancewear far too advanced for them, but many young girls watching may follow their lead. This makes it seem acceptable for anyone to, for example, dance in pointe shoes which is unsafe and may lead to those without any training hurting themselves. If models can get people to buy their clothing, why wouldn’t they be able to get them to wear the same shoes too?

Let’s talk about how much blood, sweat and tears goes into becoming a professional ballerina. 

Even as a dancer who did not go professional, I understand the stress around ballet culture.

Most professionals start dancing when they are very young children and begin by doing ballet on flat shoes. When they’re around 10, they begin pre-pointe classes where they learn to strengthen their ankles and legs to prepare to go on pointe. Finally at around 12-years-old, they can begin pointe classes. Starting at the barre for support, they are taught to slowly get up on pointe with correct technique. Then they head to the center of the room for more technique without the barre and learn to rely on their own strength.

Time isn’t the only part of becoming a ballerina; ballerina’s bodies are usually physically molded from the time they are young. Flexibility, even in your feet, needs to be gained before going on pointe. Ever noticed how far ballerinas can point their feet? That is due to the years of training and exercises done to make it so their feet can be perfect in and out of pointe shoes. This flexibility is not something that can be magically gained just by putting pointe shoes on.

One of the most important parts of pointe is getting onto your box. The “box” is the very bottom of the pointe shoe which is basically a box of wood where the top of the ballerina’s toes sit. Being fully on the shoe’s box is the first thing ballerinas are taught when first going on pointe. However, models are either not taught to do this or simply do not have the strength to do so. 

While ballerinas go through years of training before even being allowed to stand on pointe, models throw on pointe shoes and are photographed for thousands to see. Often, ballerinas are not even on the set to at least correct the models’ technique. Many people gloss over these photos, because unless you’re a dancer, the horrible technique is not seen. 

So, why is this so upsetting to dancers?

Some companies have also put young children in pointe shoes for their ads. This is dangerous as children’s ankles and muscles are not fully developed and it is extremely easy for them to injure themselves. Not only is it dangerous for the models, it is dangerous for children at home who see the ads and may get pointe shoes without any previous training.

Ballerinas have to endure an abundance of pain and training both physically and mentally in order to reach the professional level. Most ballerinas work their entire lives towards the goal of performance and often, modeling. For companies to not even consider using professional dancers and instead choose to hire popular models is wrong and a problem that has been exposed many times.

Kendall Jenner for Vogue: Spain. The video from 2016 features Kendall hopping around a ballet studio in ballet attire and eventually posing in pointe shoes. When the video was first released, many fans were angry that Vogue chose to do this video with her, a model who is completely untrained in ballet. 

@modelsdoingballet on Instagram

An Instagram account has gone viral with their posts focusing on companies that hire models instead of ballerinas. The hilarious account has over 300 posts of advertisements and shows of models with horrendous technique on pointe. Along with posting models with bad ballet technique, they also show a variety of companies that have listened and used real ballerinas in their ads such as Chanel and Dior. Scrolling through their posts often makes me giggle, but their comment sections are pretty hilarious as ballerinas connect over their outrage for various advertisements. If you are ever in the mood for a dance-related laugh, I definitely suggest checking out their account. 

Marina Ferreira

Northeastern '26

Marina Ferreira is a second year health science major at Northeastern University and TikTok manager for Her Campus NU. She can often be found at the dance studio or in a local book/thrift store! She loves reading new novels and is always open to recommendations!