Journalist Vanessa Croll (left) and Lorna Jane founder Lorna Jane Clarkson (Images: Twitter/Instagram).
Almost a week ago, Lorna Jane Clarkson gave a tearful interview to 60 Minutes about the recent string of allegations that have been levelled at her popular activewear label by customers and former employees.
“I feel vulnerable… This is not me, but right now with the things the press are saying about me and my brand, this is how I feel,” she told the program, referring to highly-publicised claims of alleged fat-shaming and bullying.
“I should be tougher than that but this is who I am. I’m human.”
On Wednesday, a journalist and former employee of Clarkson called “crocodile tears” in a column for News Corp’s Rendez-View, in which she claimed the self-made millionaire took advantage of her.
Vanessa Croll was hired as a personal trainer at Clarkson’s gym 10 years ago, and was thrilled to work with a woman she deeply admired. Eventually, she became Clarkson’s trainer and was asked to be a catalogue model for her designs, despite having no experience.
“Having never modelled before then, to be asked by the creator of a highly regarded and respected multi-million dollar brand was extremely humbling,” Croll writes.
“And considering the weekly pay I was making was just enough to cover rent, petrol and food, the notion of a financial boost was more than a little welcome too.”
Watch a preview of Lorna Jane Clarkson’s 60 Minutes interview here. (Post continues after video.)
On the first shoot, Croll did her own hair and makeup and was told by Clarkson she had no time for food breaks, as there were 30 looks that needed to be photographed.
Croll recalls finding the former aerobics instructor “encouraging and professional”, writing, “She was motivated, trained hard and oozed positivity.”
However, when pay day arrived, she was given just $70 for her work for ‘budgetary’ reasons — even though the catalogues were distributed to Lorna Jane stores across the country.
Croll suspected this wasn’t enough, but reasoned that perhaps it was because she was a first-time model. Yet whenever she raised the payment issue with Clarkson during their training sessions, she received the same answer.
“I need to check with [my husband] Bill. We might be able to extend the budget”.
This never eventuated. (Post continues after gallery.)