Scratch the Surface is former teen model turned documentary filmmaker Tara Fitzpatrick's examination of experiences in the fashion industry, and those of her friends and family. Fitzpatrick interviews her mother, aunt, and grandmother, and her sister Tracy Fitzpatrick, all of whom were models. She interviews her contemporaries, Phoebe Cates and her sister, Valerie, Whitney Houston, Brooke Shields, Pamela Gidley, and Lisanne Falk. They tell anecdotes about their experiences, offer their impressions of the business, and discuss the impact of growing up in the public eye. Eileen Ford of the Ford Modeling Agency, John Casablancas of Elite Modeling, former Seventeen Magazine editor Midge Richardson, and makeup artist Bonnie Maller also give their perspective, which often differs substantially from that of the former models. Supermodel Bridget Hall, at the height of her career when the film was made, gives a less detached view of that world. Most of these young women decry the powerful influence of beauty magazines and advertisements on American culture, and each seems to have at least one horror story about how she was treated. But almost all of them acknowledge that their exposure to the business at such a young age ended up having some kind of positive impact on their lives.