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There is more to the modeling world than the media lets on. If you want to find out what it really takes and how to manage your modeling career, then you've come to the right place! This blog is dedicated to the aspiring and already established models who live to defy the standards and stereotypes in order to make a place for themselves in this crazy industry.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The "About Me" Section & Your Modeling Career (Pt. II: Model Mayhem, etc.)

***This post is ideal for freelance models, especially those utilizing social media to attract potential clients and enhance their visibility online.***

Haven't had a chance to check out Part I in this blog series? Catch up on this topic (and why I decided to make a mini series of posts about it) by clicking on this link:

http://amodelsdiary.blogspot.com/2015/03/the-about-me-section-your-modeling.html

Love it or hate it, social media in particular has helped models of all experience levels and backgrounds build their brand and gain followers in a way that is unprecedented.

But what makes the difference between successfully using social media to your advantage and just being another profile taking up space is by paying attention to details, such as helping people understand who you are, what you're about and--as it applies to your modeling career--why they should hire you for their projects.

The most effective way to get these points across is by properly filling out your "About Me" section so that anyone who comes across it will know exactly what they're getting. For the sake of length and time, I decided to use just Model Mayhem in the title and add the "etc." so that readers would know there are many other modeling community websites out there they can set up profiles on (One Model Place, ModelWire, etc).

Facebook is a widely used online social media resource for models but what makes sites like Model Mayhem so beneficial is the fact that it is a social media networking site aimed specifically at models and other professional players in the industry. Facebook is super broad because anyone can join but online modeling communities have a screening process and everyone is there for the same work-related goals.

What Model Mayhem and other sites like it have in common is that the layout is pretty much the same: you input your statistics/measurements, upload photos to your portfolio and there is the almighty "About Me" section, where you can share with the online community who you are. And that's why I've chosen this arena as the topic of my second blog post in this mini series.

So let's talk tips for how to use your "About Me" section effectively when it comes to your profile on a modeling community networking site:

Don't List Your Resume of Experience

While your experience is ideal to include on a social media profile, the "About Me" section should be all about you as a model. Talk about how long you've been modeling or if you're new, say that and talk briefly about why you want to get into modeling on a professional level and what goals or expectations you have (i.e. walking in runway shows, shooting ads for magazines, editorial spreads, create amazing images or modeling as an art form, etc.).

You don't have to get biographical about it, though. Don't share personal info like your family background or long-winded stories about what supermodel inspired you. While the "About Me" section is supposed to focus on helping people get to know you, it shouldn't be a novel that they have to take forever to get through.

Keep it to the point. As for your resume and experience, there is likely a separate section on your profile that is dedicated for just that kind of content so keep the two separate.

List Your Modeling Interests/Specialties

Don't forget to include in your "About Me" section what kind of modeling you're interested in: fashion, runway, editorial, swimwear, fitness, parts modeling, print, beauty, jewelry, lingerie, etc. The more specific you are, the higher the chances are that you'll network with other professionals with the same goals. The best way to ensure that the people you connect with on the same level is to create an "About Me" section that says specifically what you want.

Don't Be Afraid to Say What You Don't Want, Too

We all know that the Internet is full of creepers and scammers. There are going to be members of an online modeling community who will read a model's "About Me" page and contact them with less than appealing opportunities. One way I've gone about weeding out the people whose intentions aren't in line with mine is by stating in one sentence the type of work I do not do. 

My Model Mayhem profile currently has this:

***I do not do nude or adult work of any kind.  I am very strict about this. If at any time you ask me to take my clothes off during the shoot--the shoot is over.***

Many photographers shoot nude models, some Playboy/glamour style and others in a more fine arts type of way. I've seen some amazing images of nude models and the photographers who do it well have beautiful portfolios. However, I'm not interested in posing nude so to drive the point home, I made sure to put this as the last sentence in my "About Me" section.

Stating what you're not interested in on your "About Me" section doesn't just apply to situations dealing with nudity, however. If you're a fashion modeling with no interest in doing print work or are a print model who doesn't want to do swimwear or lingerie, it is perfectly fine to say this in your "About Me" section. 

Does that mean you'll never get contacted by someone who wants to hire you for a shoot you're not interested in? Nah. There's always going to be somebody who wants to try to see if they'll get lucky and have you make their project an exception to the rule but by at least mentioning what kind of modeling you don't or won't do, it will keep the odds of that happening pretty minimal at best.

Talk About Priorities

Online modeling communities are about networking with others, gaining exposure and booking work. Be sure to mention what you hope the site will do for you. Common examples include:

- Updating your portfolio, headshots, certain looks/themes that you may be missing or need new images of

- Looking for paid work only/opportunities for publication and tearsheets

- Collaborating with other industry professionals to come up with creative shoot ideas for fun or to submit to magazine publications

- Learning the modeling ropes and wanting to network with photographers, makeup artists, hair stylists, etc. who will help you build a quality portfolio and improve your skills as a model

Listing this info on your "About Me" section will attract other members of the site who need the same thing. That's how you network and connect with others who will help you reach those goals. This type of info is different from stating what kinds of modeling you're interested in because this part of the content deals with what you're trying to do with your modeling career and what kinds of moves you're making to achieve those results.

List Any Special Conditions

Do you only shoot on set with an escort? Are you under age and bring a parent/guardian with you at all times? Do you require your travel to be paid? These are examples of special conditions that should be mentioned in your "About Me" section. 

But don't write it in a way that makes it come across as what I like to call "Diva Demands." There is a way to say things in a professional manner so that people don't think you're trying to be difficult. If there are members of the online community that don't like your special conditions, then guess what? They won't contact you. The ones who are cool with what you've written will reach out and that's what you want. This ensures everyone is on the same page.

Location/Preferences

You shouldn't put your address obviously but it helps to state what markets/locations you accept work in. Are you willing to travel? If so, how far? Or are you mainly focusing on local gigs? Many models are students, hold down jobs or even have families to care for so listing what areas you'll accept work in is a good heads up to anyone viewing your page/profile as to whether or not you'd be ideal for their project.

It's okay to list what cities/states/areas you'll accept work in as well. Lists are very helpful for About Me sections because they organize information in an easy-to-read way and prevent your content from being so long that no one will want to read it all the way through.

Pay Rate(s)...Optional

It is completely up to you to list your rates so include this info at your discretion. On the upside, it automatically weeds out projects with budgets that can't accommodate your rate. On the downside, if you end up charging differently (and don't update your page/profile or list all your various pay rates according to project type), it could cause conflict/miscommunication with the client.

Me? I don't include pay rate(s). This gives me greater flexibility to charge accordingly. Plus, each project has its own factors that I take into consideration so I never feel comfortable setting pay rates that go across the board. But I have seen models successfully include this info in their About Me section so it really is personal preference.

Don't Forget to Showcase Your Personality

It's okay to drop in a bit of a fun note about yourself that will show other members that you've got personality. I'm not saying be outright silly but it's okay to inject a bit of your quirkiness or uniqueness where appropriate--usually as the last paragraph of your "About Me" section (the business stuff should always stay up top and be the first thing people read right away). 

On my Model Mayhem profile, I have a brief paragraph near the bottom where I talk candidly and in a fun way about my strengths as a model and what people can expect when they work with me. It shows that while the top part of my "About Me" section is business, I'm not some robot who doesn't know how to be personable and have a good time.

Want to see how I've laid out my "About Me" section on Model Mayhem? Click the following link:

http://www.modelmayhem.com/359130

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The "About Me" Section & Your Modeling Career (Pt. I: Facebook)

***This post is ideal for freelance models, especially those utilizing social media to attract potential clients and enhance their visibility online.***

Love it or hate it, social media in particular has helped models of all experience levels and backgrounds build their brand and gain followers in a way that is unprecedented.

However, just as eagerly as people are jumping onto the Internet and using social media for their modeling endeavors, the "About Me" section is one specific area where I see a lot of female and male models making mistakes, usually by not filling out this area properly.

Am I an expert at writing About Me sections? I feel pretty confident saying, "Yes," not just because I'm a trained writer/journalist but because I've written about myself and my modeling career so many times it isn't even funny. I've experienced firsthand what works and what doesn't when it comes to this subject.

I do understand that not everyone is strong at writing, grammar, spelling, etc. but having a solid About Me section on your social media profiles can only boost your chances at getting modeling assignments and showcasing just how polished and professional you are. Freelance models need to definitely take note of the gems I'm about to share because if you're having trouble being taken seriously or if you haven't managed to get very far in your freelance career, your About Me section could be one of the reasons why.

It's important to note that the About Me section for each social media outlet varies so you'll need to create your content accordingly. To keep things simple, I'll focus on the most popular social media sites out there that models utilize. And to prevent myself from writing a novel (lol), I've decided to break this down into a series of posts so each outlet has its own entry. Let's start with Facebook:

FACEBOOK'S ABOUT ME SECTION

I personally and professionally believe that you should have a Facebook page for your modeling career that is separate from the profile you have your friends and family on. That doesn't mean you can't have your modeling stuff on your regular FB profile but if your goal is to boost visibility so that potential clients can find you online, you'll want them to find your professional FB page and not the profile where you like to post photos of what you've eaten or the hilariously crude meme of the day.

When people come to your Facebook page and read about you, it is essential to make sure you're only putting out information that is relevant and to the point in respect to you as a model. While it might seem cute and playful, don't talk about how you make a mean batch of cookies or love rainbows and kittens and that your favorite color is blue (I kid you not, I've seen content similar to this).

It's also not the suitable forum for expressing your personal opinions, beliefs or make strong statements about this, that or the other (especially trigger topics like religion and politics). Again, there are plenty of other places on social media to sound off on. Your modeling page isn't one of them. Keep it neutral and stick to business. Period.

Models often complain about people wasting their time with opportunities they aren't interested in or that don't fit what they're looking for and one of the most effective ways to decrease those types of occurrences is by stating in black and white what you're all about.

There is no particular order you need to format your content in but below is what I recommend because I feel it is a strong way to properly take advantage of this space on your page/profile.

Btw: If you've got a FB page, you'll want to put this info in the "BIO" section. If you're using your regular FB profile, you'll want to put this in the "Details About You" section:

Short Introduction & Level of Experience

Whether you write it in first person or third person (it doesn't matter but don't go overboard with writing about yourself in third person), start with a few brief sentences about yourself. Include your name and how long you've been modeling. Even if you're new, it's perfectly acceptable to say that.

I don't recommend listing your resume of experience on your About Me section, mainly because it'll make the section as a whole too long after you've added the other parts and because the resume should stand alone and separate. For Facebook, I recommend creating a "Note" for your resume so that people can easily view that information that way.

Specialties

Freelance models get to enjoy the flexibility of picking and choosing which categories of modeling they want to book work in. Remember my comments above about wanting to avoid people and jobs you aren't interested in? This is your chance to filter through the BS! Briefly state or list what types of modeling you do.

Not only does this decrease the chances of being contacted for offers you don't want, it will make it easier for clients to find out exactly what kind of work you do without having to guess. Don't make them have to work any harder than they have to. While browsing through photo albums on your page is a common solution, seeing in plain writing what categories you specialize in quickly gives them answers.

Just as you should state what categories of modeling you specialize in, it's also a good idea to mention what types of modeling you won't do. This helps to cover all your bases and makes it clear to anyone who isn't sure. And if they reach out anyway, well, then they shouldn't be surprised when you decline.

Location/Preferences

You shouldn't put your address obviously but it helps to state what markets/locations you accept work in. Are you willing to travel? If so, how far? Or are you mainly focusing on local gigs? Many models are students, hold down jobs or even have families to care for so listing what areas you'll accept work in is a good heads up to anyone viewing your page/profile as to whether or not you'd be ideal for their project.

It's okay to list what cities/states/areas you'll accept work in as well. Lists are very helpful for About Me sections because they organize information in an easy-to-read way and prevent your content from being so long that no one will want to read it all the way through.

Pay Rate(s)...Optional

It is completely up to you to list your rates so include this info at your discretion. On the upside, it automatically weeds out projects with budgets that can't accommodate your rate. On the downside, if you end up charging differently (and don't update your page/profile or list all your various pay rates according to project type), it could cause conflict/miscommunication with the client.

Me? I don't include pay rate(s). This gives me greater flexibility to charge accordingly. Plus, each project has its own factors that I take into consideration so I never feel comfortable setting pay rates that go across the board. But I have seen models successfully include this info in their About Me section so it really is personal preference.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Dos & Don't of Modeling Snapshots (Male Models)

Submitting quality snapshots is just as crucial for aspiring male models as their female counterparts.

While there isn't as much for male models to worry about, that doesn't mean the snapshots they submit to modeling agencies should be a free-for-all.

Some of the dos and don'ts listed below are the same as listed in my blog post for female models, however, it is still important to mention it separately here as well.

DO: Follow Any & All Instructions

Agency websites contain all the info new models need to know, including what kinds of snapshots to send. Many even post reference images to copy. If you come across an agency site that has all this laid out, follow the instructions to a tee.

DON'T: Take Random Snapshots

It's great when there's a site with full guidelines but even if you come across an agency with a website where there isn't much info or none at all about what types of snapshots to send, you can follow the bare minimum requirements:

- 1 closeup headshot (smiling if you're submitting for commercial/print/lifestyle, non-smiling if you're submitting for runway/fashion/editorial)



- 1 half body shot (facing the camera, hands at your sides, no posing)

- 1 profile or 3/4 body shot (body and face should be in profile to the camera)

DO: Have Someone Take Your Photos for You

Even though I've seen a few agency websites state that "selfies" are acceptable, a larger majority of agencies want better quality snapshots and that can be easily accomplished when someone else is taking the photo of you. Not only will the resulting images look better, it'll give you less to worry about so you can focus on taking a good picture.

DON'T: Treat It Like a Photoshoot

Snapshots are non-professional in quality for a reason: it gives modeling agencies the opportunity to see what you REALLY look like. The purpose of modeling snapshots is to show what you look like at your most natural. This is also why you don't need to pose. Fellas, that means no "GQ" poses with your hand resting underneath your chin like you're deep in thought, no far off gaze like you're trying to find the meaning of life, etc.

Facing the camera directly and not posing is going to be your best bet.

DO: Wear the Right Clothes

Obviously, the type of clothing male models should wear in snapshots is going to be drastically different from female models. Similar guidelines apply when it comes to color and style of course. When it comes to choosing the clothes you'll wear, avoid the following:

- brand names/logos
- graphics
- busy patterns (plaids, tiny polka dots, stripes)

The focus of the snapshots should be you, not the clothing. Ideal wardrobe choices include:

- solid colored t-shirt or tanktop
- solid colored shorts that aren't baggy (no sagging, please!!!)
- no shoes or socks are necessary (pay attention to that personal grooming when it comes to your tootsies, guys!)

DON'T: Get Naked

We all know that male models are famous for sporting amazing washboard abs and a physique that just makes people drool. However, that doesn't mean you should show agencies all your goodies up front. You'd be surprised by how many naive models (ladies, this does apply to some of you as well), who think it's required and appropriate to submit naked snapshots of themselves for agency consideration.

The clothing ideas listed above are more than enough to meet the minimum requirements for submissions. Want to really show off your body but in a way that is acceptable to agencies? Then you can go shirtless with jeans, a solid colored pair of swim trunks or underwear (boxer briefs, boxers or tightie whities are all fine).


DO: Put the Focus on You

Your snapshots should only have you in the photo. That means no cropping your friends/girlfriend/family out of the group photo that you think you look fabulous in. Additionally, take your snapshots against a plain, light colored wall with no clutter around it. That means no hanging paintings or picture frames or piles of clothes/shoes on the floor. Anything that can take the agency's attention away from you in the photo is a major no-no.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Dania Denise Latest Tearsheet - Second Book Cover

I haven't had a chance to blog about my experience shooting for romance novel covers but I will be sure to recount that most interesting work experience soon. :-)

Till then, I am happy to say I can share my latest tearsheet, which happens to also be the second book cover I've gotten in my modeling career. The male model is Jimmy Thomas who is the new Fabio (for those of you not old enough to know Fabio, he was THE heartthrob of women everywhere by being one of the most popular male models on romance novel covers back in the 1980s and 1990s).

Jimmy Thomas is currently one of the most popular male models in the romance novel genre and his images have appeared on thousands of covers (you read that right--thousands...that's thanks to the huge boom with e-books and other digital formats).

Here's the cover we both appear on...I believe it should be on the market soon if it hasn't already been published:
Me and Jimmy shot many different sets for our shoot and the cool thing about that is those images will be used just like stock photography--any author has the ability to purchase the limited rights to use the photos of their choice for their book covers.

That means this won't be the only image I could potentially be on. Jimmy told me that soon as any of our other images gets published, he'll send me the cover like he did with this one. Fingers crossed that I get some with my face in it! LOL

Monday, January 12, 2015

Dos & Don'ts of Modeling Snapshots (Female Models)

As you've probably already gained from my blog, the role of snapshots is hugely crucial to new models hoping to get into the industry--namely, those with goals of snagging an agent.

Learning how to put together quality modeling snapshots is a great way to make a strong first impression and improve the chances of getting invited to an agency interview.

Below are some easy dos and don'ts for aspiring female models when it comes to putting their snapshots together (male models, don't worry--I haven't forgotten about you! The next blog post after this one will be filled with snapshot tips just for you). :-)

DO: Follow Any & All Instructions

Agency websites contain all the info new models need to know, including what kinds of snapshots to send. Many even post reference images to copy. If you come across an agency site that has all this laid out, follow the instructions to a tee.

DON'T: Take Random Snapshots

It's great when there's a site with full guidelines but even if you come across an agency with a website where there isn't much info or none at all about what types of snapshots to send, you can follow the bare minimum requirements:

- 1 closeup headshot (smiling if you're submitting for commercial/print/lifestyle, non-smiling if you're submitting for runway/fashion/editorial)
- 1 full body shot (facing the camera, hands at your sides or one hand on the hip)
- 1 full body profile (body and face should be in profile to the camera)
A solid colored swimsuit is ideal for allowing agencies to see your figure without you having to be nude.



















DO: Have Someone Take Your Photos for You

Even though I've seen a few agency websites state that "selfies" are acceptable, a larger majority of agencies want better quality snapshots and that can be easily accomplished when someone else is taking the photo of you. Not only will the resulting images look better, it'll give you less to worry about so you can focus on taking a good picture.

DON'T: Treat It Like a Photoshoot

Snapshots are non-professional in quality for a reason: it gives modeling agencies the opportunity to see what you REALLY look like. No makeup, no Photoshop retouching, no fancy hairstyles, etc. The purpose of modeling snapshots is to show what you look like at your most natural. This is also why you don't need to pose. At most, one hand on the hip is enough.
Even the famous models take polaroids without a lick of makeup. If they can do it for agency submissions, so should you!
DO: Wear the Right Clothes

Piggybacking off the "Don't" above, your snapshots should show your figure and the best way to do that is by wearing what's sometimes called the "model uniform": dark skinny jeans and a solid colored, fitted tanktop or t-shirt. A two-piece, solid colored swimsuit is the second most common clothing option for snapshots. Heels are optional so you don't have to wear them, unless the agencies you're submitting to say they want you to wear heels in the photos.
If the agency instructions don't specifically ask you to wear a swimsuit, you can opt for the "model uniform": skinny jeans and a fitted top.
DON'T: Be an Advertising Billboard

Notice that in the above "Do" I said "solid colored" twice? When it comes to choosing the clothes you'll wear, avoid the following:

- brand names/logos
- graphics
- busy patterns (plaids, tiny polka dots, stripes)

The focus of the snapshots should be you, not the clothing. Also avoid accessories so skip the earrings, necklaces, bracelets, hats, sunglasses, etc.

DO: Put the Focus on You

Your snapshots should only have you in the photo. That means no cropping your friends out of the group photo that you think you look fabulous in. Additionally, take your snapshots against a plain, light colored wall with no clutter around it. That means no hanging paintings or picture frames or piles of clothes/shoes on the floor. Anything that can take the agency's attention away from you in the photo is a major no-no.