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Sara Ziff

Founder & Executive Director, The Model Alliance

A vocal advocate for models’ rights in the wake of the #MeToo movement, she is creating an initiative to protect models from sexual harassment.


The fashion model, filmmaker and labour activist founded The Model Alliance in 2012 and has since become an advocate for models’ rights, using her experience in the industry to spearhead labour protections for underage models as well as working conditions in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

Ziff began her career as a fashion model, appearing in advertising campaigns for brands including Tommy Hilfiger , Kenzo and Stella McCartney . She has walked the runway for Prada, Chanel and Christian Dior. The idea for The Model Alliance began while working on her first documentary in 2009, “Picture Me.”

She founded the non-profit organisation in 2012 to advocate for fair labour standards for models working in the fashion industry. The following year, The Model Alliance championed child labour protections for underage fashion models, who were left out from existing protections for child performers in New York. This extended them basic protections, including provisions for educational requirements, maximum working hours and trust accounts. In 2017, along with assemblywoman Nily Rozic, the Model Alliance introduced the Models’ Harassment Protection Act, a New York State bill that would afford models protection against sexual and other forms of harassment in the workplace.

In May 2018, over 100 models joined the Model Alliance to launch the Respect programme, a global initiative calling on brands and agencies to sign a legally binding agreement to protect models from sexual harassment, following a number of allegations of misconduct against well-known photographers, casting directors and editors.

Ziff graduated with a degree in political science from Columbia University and earned her MPA at Harvard Business School.

Vital Statistics

15 April 1983

United States

United States
Member since

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What is The BoF 500?

The people shaping the global fashion industry, curated by the editors of The Business of Fashion, based on nominations and on-the-ground intelligence from around the world.