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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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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Models, Learn How to "Sell Yourself"

I know the phrase, “Sell Yourself,” sounds suspect but when I was 15-years-old, this is what I was taught when I first got into the industry as a model/actor.

Over the years, I’ve come to know how important this concept is and have made it a point to implement it when I mentor, coach and consult models.

The idea of “selling yourself” is quite simple: in order to convince agencies, clients, casting directors, etc. to work with you is to know how to pitch yourself to them. Essentially, learning how to talk about yourself in a confident and conversational way is one of the greatest secrets to booking gigs and building/maintaining a solid networking environment.

Aside from the many castings I’ve been to over the years, I’ve also had the opportunity to be a part of the casting process and experience things from the other side. It never ceases to amaze me how many models have a hard time talking about themselves. If you’re new and/or inexperienced, that’s one thing but I’ve seen models with experience and solid portfolios/resumes stumble or struggle with introducing themselves in a few sentences.

Hopefully, the following tips can help anyone struggling with this concept become more comfortable with talking about themselves so that this part of the casting process will become one less thing for them to worry about:

ASSUME YOU’LL BE ASKED TO TALK ABOUT YOURSELF

You are the person being interview, right? So it only makes sense that the majority of the time, a client/agent/casting director is going to ask you to tell them about yourself in your own words. Sure, they can get this info from your resume/portfolio but oftentimes, it is much better to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth—plus, it gives them the chance to see how you speak and present yourself in person.

I can’t count how many times I’ve seen models get the “deer in headlights” look when asked to talk about themselves. The best way to avoid this initial panic is to go in assuming that you’re going to have to talk about yourself. This means you’ll be properly prepared and even if you don’t get asked, at least you’ll know that you would have been ready.

It’s always better to err on the side of caution and prepare for the unexpected, including talking about yourself.

DEVELOP YOUR “PITCH”

In addition to expecting to be asked to talk about yourself at a casting/interview, it also helps if you actually have an idea of what you’re going to say. Prepare 2-3 very brief talking points beforehand and practice saying it out loud. This doesn’t mean you should have a completely rehearsed answer, however. The last thing you want to do is sound robotic.

Practice at home by having a friend or family member ask you, “Tell us about yourself” and jump straight into what you want to say. Be open to their feedback and tweak your answer as needed. Over time and with practice, you’ll be able to answer that question without giving it a second thought.

KEEP IT BRIEF
It’s easy to get caught up rambling and trying to include every single fact about yourself. Remember, most castings and interviews don’t have that much time to dedicate to each model so knowing how to keep your answer brief and to the point is essential. 2-3 sentences about yourself should be more than enough to fill people in on who you are.

After you’re done speaking, there will be other questions asked so make sure you aren’t taking too long with your answer in order to allow for ample time for other questions/topics to be brought up.

KEEP IT SIMPLE

“Tell us a bit about yourself” isn’t a trick question. Keep it simple. Talking about how long you’ve been modeling, what you do for work, favorite hobbies and/or where you go to school are all ideal subjects to cover in an answer. If you’re a student, throwing in what you’re studying is also a great topic to touch on.

The key is to tell them just enough so that they’ll be able to ask you any follow up questions related to anything you’ve mentioned. This is how you create “momentum” in a casting/interview situation. You want people to know who you are, be interested in you and make yourself memorable. The more engaging you are, the more your personality will shine and that’s what will sell you as the person a client should hire or the model an agency should sign.

BE HUMBLE

One of the best ways to make a good first impression is to know how to talk about yourself that comes across as natural, conversational and informative but not arrogant. Just because you’re asked to say a few words about who you are doesn’t mean that it’s time to drone on about every single aspect of your life or—even worse—use that time to brag about everything that’s so wonderful about you.
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The sooner you learn how to successfully answer the question: “Tell us a bit about yourself,” the better you’ll perform at any casting, open call or other related modeling opportunity where you’re being interviewed.

It isn’t rocket science, it’s simply a matter of being confident and comfortable enough in your own skin to showcase to others who you are and why you’re the right choice.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

New Website Launch: DaniaDee.com is Live!

I blogged about my next business venture earlier this year and after a lot of tweaking and planning, I'm happy to announce the official launch of DaniaDee.com!

WHAT IS DANIADEE.COM?

Being able to help others pursue their goals for the modeling industry over the years has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. People have shared their stories, dreams and aspirations with me and to be able to get them closer to making those dreams a reality inspired me to take things up a notch.

I've been mentoring/coaching/consulting for a while now but mainly via email and word-of-mouth. However, I feel the time is right to take my services to the next level by officially marketing myself as a mentor/coach/consultant!

DaniaDee.com is specifically for the purpose of marking those services to those with a serious interest in having one-on-one assistance with their entertainment careers.

IS IT JUST FOR MODELS?

No, DaniaDee.com is designed to offer one-on-one services for models, actors, pageant contestants and those "behind the scenes" (i.e. photographers, clients/casting directors looking for talent, etc.).

IS IT FREE?

No. Unlike my blog, the services offered through DaniaDee.com are paid services. For rate inquiries, you'll have to visit the site and fill out the form to get more details.

However, that does not mean people can't still ask me questions or get help via my blogs (Modeling 101 - A Model's Diary and Modeling 101 - Answering Reader Questions with Dania Denise) because you still can--that will always be free. Sending me emails is also going to continue to be free so all of that will continue as it always has.

DO YOU TRAVEL?

Yes! That is the best thing about this new business venture--I want to make myself available to work in-person with those who have a vested interest in using my services to help them reach their career goals (travel & accommodations must be covered for work out of city limits and out-of-state).

However, I do have an office space for in-person sessions located in Roseville, California (just outside of Sacramento) so anyone in that area is more than welcome to come to the office for services if coming to your home or other designated location is not possible.
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I'm excited to launch this new business and can't wait to get started! I'll be sure to keep you posted on how things are going so stay tuned!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Anatomy of a Modeling Website Pt VII: Social Media

I'm sure you can't believe it but this is the last post in this mini-blog series!

Haven't read the other six before this one? Well, lucky for you, they're listed below with links you can click on to go directly to the post you want to read:

"The Anatomy of a Modeling Website Pt I: Welcome Page"

"The Anatomy of a Modeling Website Pt II: Photo Gallery"

“The Anatomy of a Modeling Website Pt III: About Me”

"The Anatomy of a Modeling Website Pt IV: Resume Page"

"The Anatomy of a Modeling Website Pt V: Services Page"

"The Anatomy of a Modeling Website Pt VI: Contact Page"

This last post is going to focus on social media. Sure, we all know what it is and use it frequently--in fact, social media is now a regular part of our daily lives, regardless of your background and lifestyle.

But when it comes to using this feature on your official modeling website, there are a few rules of thumb you'll want to take note of and implement.

KEEP IT SIMPLE

Nothing looks worse on a modeling website than a list of crazy long links/URLs to social media profiles. Stay away from having those on your site.

Using the icons (like the ones in the image associated with this post) is a more visually appealing way to let visitors to your site know that you have additional profiles they can check out.

Whether you use a self-publishing website platform or have someone else maintain your modeling website for you, a great way to incorporate social media in an easy way is to make the icons active links so that whenever someone clicks on each one, it will direct them to that specific social media profile.

An online image search for social media icons will present you with tons of options to choose from. Save the image to your computer and then you'll be able to use it.

It's also a good idea to adjust the settings on your site so that when the social media icons are clicked, the info opens up in a separate window. This will prevent visitors from having to click the back button if they want to go back to your modeling site.

DON'T OVERANALYZE 

By that, I mean you don't have to fuss over whether to use colored social media icons or black and white. It really doesn't matter and there is no right or wrong way when it comes to how the icons appear. As long as they are easily visible and aren't pixelated in appearance, they'll serve their purpose just fine.

SIZE DOES MATTER

You don't want your social media icons to be so tiny that it gets missed but you also don't want it to be so large that it becomes a huge distraction on the page. Exercise good judgment when it comes to the size of the icons you use--you'll know when it's the right size.

PLACEMENT IS KEY

Social media icons often appear at the bottom of a website in the footer area but can technically be placed anywhere (although I would stay away from placing them as part of the navigation menu bar).

I've seen the icons used just on the Contact Page of a site or are set so that they appear in the same place on every page of the website so no matter which page you're looking at, you have instant access to those icons if you wanted to click on them.

DOUBLE-CHECK YOUR LINKS

Nothing is worse than sending visitors to your website to a social media profile that doesn't work. Take advantage of the "copy/paste" shortcut when linking the icons to your profiles. Doing so eliminates the possibility of messing up the hyperlink itself.

Make sure it's possible to "preview" your site so that you can check if everything works properly before making the website live and visible to the public.

KEEP IT PROFESSIONAL

I've already blogged about the importance of being professional and having a polished online presence when it comes to social media profiles so I won't go into depth on this subject again but I do want to say that if you haven't updated your profiles in a while, you may want to do so--especially your modeling images/portfolio on those sites.

The goal is to make sure that anyone clicking the social media icons on your site won't come across something you don't want them to see or that will make you look bad.

QUALITY OVER QUANTITY

There are dozens of social media sites out there but that does not mean you need to create a profile for every single one to include on your modeling website. Pick social media profiles/accounts that you use and update on a regular basis. If you sign up for a ton of profiles on various social media sites, chances are you'll be sharing info and photos that are repetitive.

Having a strong social media presence is great but having more of the same for each profile isn't very impressive. Focus on the substance of your existing social media profiles and that will cover all your bases each time a visitor to your site decides to learn more by checking you out on other sites.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Anatomy of a Modeling Website Pt VI: Contact Page

We're almost there, folks! This mini-blog post series is almost at its end.

I've got five blog posts so far and there's two more to go, including this one.

To recap the posts already in this series for those that haven't had a chance to check them out yet, they are listed below:


This blog post is much more straightforward and to the point compared to the other topics I've covered but nonetheless, the Contact Page is yet another crucial component of any model's official website.

THE CONTACT PAGE IS EXACTLY WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE

The goal for the contact page is to encourage those visiting your modeling website to send you a message or give you a call--hopefully for the purpose of hiring you for a modeling gig. 

This page should be fairly minimal and not cluttered with too much info. In this day and age of the Internet, people are no stranger to what the Contact Page is for so you don't need to worry about breaking down the concept for them.

The use of a contact form is a popular way to engage people with the Contact Page and since you can forward it to your own email address, it will keep that part of your information from being public. Some models also include their direct email address in addition to the form on the page but it's your preference as to whether or not to include it or just stick to the form itself.

IT'S THE INTERNET--THINK SAFETY WITH PERSONAL INFO

Remember, if you put your cell phone on the modeling website, anyone can call you. It isn't necessary to get a second number for your modeling website but if you want to go the extra mile and do that, it doesn't hurt, especially if you wish to keep your modeling career separate from your personal life. Not having a number on the Contact Page won't kill your site, however, so opt for what makes you feel most comfortable (and secure--this is the Internet we're talking about, after all).

On the Contact Page for many companies there is often an address also associated, some with that cool Google Maps feature that pinpoints where the location is, but for models I wouldn't recommend putting an address, especially if it's your home address for obvious reasons. The only exception I can think of would be if you had a P.O. Box.  

DON'T BE AFRAID TO ADD A LITTLE TEXT

It's okay to add some text/content to the Contact Page but keep it brief. We visit websites and use contact pages all the time so feel free to use others for reference when trying to come up with what text to include on the page.

On my own modeling website I have a contact page, a list of the types of modeling I do (for easy reference so visitors don't have to click around on the site to be reminded) and social media icons. Clicking on each icon will take visitors to that particular profile in a new window.

Speaking of social media, that's going to be the final post in this mini-series of blog posts so check back soon because as we all know, it's all about social media these days!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Anatomy of a Modeling Website Pt V: Services Page

After a long break from actively blogging, it's a new year and I've recharged my batteries and am ready to pick up where I've left off in this mini-series of blog posts.

As I'm sure you already know, I've written four posts in this series so far:

"The Anatomy of a Modeling Website Pt I: Welcome Page"

"The Anatomy of a Modeling Website Pt II: Photo Gallery"

“The Anatomy of a Modeling Website Pt III: About Me”

"The Anatomy of a Modeling Website Pt IV: Resume Page"

If you haven't had a chance to check them out yet, those links will take you right to it and get you up to speed.

All right, let's get to the fifth installment in this series: The Services Page!

WHAT IS THE SERVICES PAGE?

Simply put, the Services page of a modeling website states what type of modeling is being offered. Like the other pages of a website, Services should be clear and to the point. No need for long, rambling paragraphs or unnecessary information. Remember, you want people--especially potential clients--to stick around and be engaged in what they're looking at. Don't give them too much info to absorb.

The main thing you want to showcase on the Services page is what modeling you specialize in. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Fashion/Runway/Editorial
  • Commercial/Print/Lifestyle
  • Glamour/Fine Art/Boudoir
  • Sports/Fitness/Swimwear
  • Alternative/Goth/Steampunk

IT'S NOT MANDATORY

The Services page is actually an optional one to have, which means you don't need to include it on your site if you don't want to. However, it doesn't hurt to have one. For those of you that choose to, this post will be beneficial to helping you craft your version.

Speaking of versions, I always suggest writing a draft of what you want to say and then putting it away until the next day. Go back and re-read what you've written and start editing where it's needed. Delete things that aren't important and rewrite parts you think require more clarification. When you feel there aren't any more changes to be made, that's a sign that it's ready to be published to your site.

I don't have a Services page on my own modeling website, mainly because I've been in the industry long enough with a body of work and resume that makes it clear to people viewing it what I do and the types of modeling I can be hired for. Newer models, especially freelance models, could find this page useful for giving more content to their site if they don't have much work to showcase and to also help them determine what kind of modeling they want to focus on.

THE DETAILS

In another post in this mini-blog series, I mentioned briefly listing the types of modeling being offered on the Welcome/Home Page. While this is still a good place to have that information listed, the Services page is where you can expand on that list.

You can opt to keep it simple by listing each category, followed by more detailed examples in sentence form:

Commercial/Print: catalogs, stock photography, magazine & online ads

Or followed by a bulleted list:

Commercial/Print

  • Catalog
  • Stock Photography
  • Magazine & online ads
Some of the descriptions may apply to more than one modeling category and that's totally okay.


Want to make the content for your Services page more personal? Then you can simply write a brief paragraph describing the type of work you want to book. If you go with this option, I would recommend also talking about what you would bring to the table.

Below is an example (for this example I'm using first-person but you can also choose third-person. It's a matter of personal preference):

I'm currently interested in booking paid work related to photo shoots for magazine publication, high fashion shoots, runway shows, bridal themed shoots and tasteful boudoir photography. Depending on the project, I can arrive camera ready and have a range of wardrobe options I can bring.

This is obviously pretty short, considering that I totally made it up, lol but the point is that you can be a bit more personal with stating what your modeling services are, if you want to use that approach. I would say make it no longer than one decent paragraph or broken up into 2-3 shorter paragraphs. Include an image or graphic on the page as well if you want to use more space on the page itself.

WHAT ABOUT RATES?

The beauty of having your own modeling website is that you can have whatever you want on it. That includes rates. If you've read enough of my blog posts, you already know that I don't include rates on my website or other social media profiles because I like to keep the nature of that subject between myself and whatever client is inquiring about hiring me. Not all modeling projects are the same so I don't apply the same rate to everything I get booked for.

However, if you want to list your rates (which is totally fine!) then the Services page is exactly where that belongs on your website. The way your rate appears on the page will depend on the format/layout you choose and the content. You can have a specific rate applied to each type of modeling category you offer or you can make it its own text on the page that is separate from the content related to listing/describing your services.

For example, you may list your hourly rate and/or flat rate at the top of the page before the content of the modeling categories/services or after. It's all up to you and what you like. But don't get pulled into listing a bunch of different rates for too many different things. That will overwhelm you (and the people viewing your site). As with everything else, keep it simple and straightforward. 


You don't need to explain every nook and cranny on the page as it relates to your rates. List the rates that are relevant and then include a line of text that is a "Call to Action," such as:

Click on the Contact Page for more information about rates and booking inquiries.

For more information about rates and booking inquiries, visit the Contact Page.

Click here to submit an inquiry and/or questions. (The "here" would be an active link that would take the user straight to the Contact Page or compose an email directly to you)

These are all statements that will lead viewers to take the next step, which is to contact you. It is at that point in the process where they can ask you questions about your rate, their budget, project needs, etc. and you can respond in more detail.