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.
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.
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.