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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Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Anatomy of a Modeling Website Pt II: Photo Gallery

I've already written about the importance of having a modeling website ("The Benefits of Having an Official Modeling Website") but I know how hard it can be for freelance models to get the ball rolling so I've decided to do another mini series of blog posts, with each post focusing individually on the most common meat and potatoes of a modeling website.

I've already written one post in this series, "The Anatomy of a Modeling Website Pt I: Welcome Page," so if you haven't had a chance to check it out yet, that link will take you right to it.

Hopefully with this detailed info, all potential freelance models will be able to transform their careers in a way that meets or exceeds their goals.

These are all suggestions based on my personal and professional experience in dealing with websites so the info in this post (and the posts to follow), are not 100% the law and can be modified to suit your freelance modeling preferences or specific situation.

Think of this info as a guideline to help you establish some of the basic elements of your modeling website. Feel free to tweak things as you see fit.

Now let's jump into the Photo Gallery section of a modeling website.


As the name suggests, this is the part of the website where models are supposed to showcase their professional images. It basically serves as an online portfolio.


Because an official modeling website should be polished and professional in appearance, the only images that should appear in the photo gallery are professionally taken photos. Unlike what's required of model newbies submitting to agencies, there isn't the need to include non-professional, digital snapshots. Freelance models are required to already have pro images in place to book work so focus on those.

Just as with a hard copy modeling portfolio, your photo gallery online should only contain your strongest pictures. They should be a combination of headshots, full body shots, etc. Any tearsheets (digital or scanned hard copies) should definitely be in the photo gallery and among the first pictures viewers will see.


The number of modeling images you post will be determined by the layout of your website. If you have a thumbnail gallery where the viewer clicks on a thumbnail and it opens up an expanded view of the image, then you can choose to have more photos on the page. You can see an example of this layout on my own website. As you can see, it's quite a lot of thumbnails but because they are organized and offer a preview of what the image looks like, it doesn't clutter up the page.

If the layout is a regular photo slideshow, then you may not want to have as many as you would with the thumbnail version. It is very important to be selective in the number and types of photos you end up adding to your photo gallery.

Make sure to not have several versions of the same "look." For example, if you did a formal shoot where you're in a red dress and gold heels, don't have 3-4 shots in that same "look" or outfit. Even if the poses are all different, it's technically the same "look" and doesn't make for a diverse looking portfolio. At most 2 photos of the same look should be the max.


That all depends on your personal preference. There isn't a right or wrong approach but the most important thing to keep in mind is to choose a layout/design that is organized and easy to for users to navigate.

You can choose to have all of your modeling photos mixed up together (my website photo gallery is an example of this), or you can opt to have separate galleries for each type of modeling you do (i.e. a photo gallery page/tab for Fashion, a photo gallery page/tab for Commercial/Print, a photo gallery page/tab for Swimwear, etc.).

With my modeling website, I originally had a separate page for each category of modeling. But after a while I felt that my website menu had too many tabs and was cluttered. So I chose to combine my photos using the thumbnail gallery layout. However, I did create a separate photo gallery tab dedicated to just my tearsheets. I wanted clients to see right away that I was a published model and make it easy for them to see what publications I had done, instead of fishing around for it on a regular photo gallery.

Take a few moments to think about how you want to present your work to potential clients. There's nothing wrong with looking at other models' sites to see what formats/layouts they've chosen. Once you've identified the "look" you like, test it out on your site and see how you like it. This will be especially easy if you're using a self publishing platform like Wix, Weebly (or the countless others) that allow users to create their own websites.

Remember, like any other modeling portfolio, you should update the photo gallery as you book more work and/or do test shoots to keep things fresh and show the progress of your career.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Anatomy of a Modeling Website Pt I: Welcome Page

Contrary to popular belief, not all models seek agency representation. Freelance modeling, while it has its own set of pros and cons, is a much more flexible approach to a modeling career.

Both female and male models can benefit from effectively marketing themselves online, especially when it comes to social media.

I've already written about the importance of having a modeling website ("The Benefits of Having an Official Modeling Website") but I know how hard it can be for freelance models to get the ball rolling so I've decided to do another mini series of blog posts, with each post focusing individually on the most common meat and potatoes of a modeling website.

Hopefully with this detailed info, all potential freelance models will be able to transform their careers in a way that meets or exceeds their goals.

These are all suggestions based on my personal and professional experience in dealing with websites so the info in this post (and the posts to follow), are not 100% the law and can be modified to suit your freelance modeling preferences or specific situation.

Think of this info as a guideline to help you establish some of the basic elements of your modeling website. Feel free to tweak things as you see fit.

Let's start with the Welcome Page.


As the name implies, this is the first page you view when you visit a website. Some sites use their Welcome Page as the Home page but whether you choose to have them as the same or separate is personal preference. It really doesn't matter which one you pick.

The purpose of the Welcome Page is to, well, welcome you. This page should be straightforward and not complicated. It should make the person viewing your modeling website want to stick around and click the other tabs to learn more about you and your modeling services.


Your Photo 

Duh. However, I have seen a few modeling websites that didn't have the model's image, just the name. I get the idea of why a model would do this but there tons of modeling websites on the Internet and I'm a firm believer in not giving anybody a reason to want to skip out on your site in favor of someone else's. Plus, you're a model--you should want people to see your face as the first thing on your site.

That being said, have a professional modeling photo greet your viewers on your Welcome Page. It can be a headshot, full body shot, half body shot, etc. I have seen collages of a model's gallery on the Welcome Page but my personal opinion is that a collage is just too busy design-wise as the first thing a person sees. Again, my opinion.

Another option would be to have a slideshow gallery of your modeling photos that plays automatically when a person comes to the Welcome Page of your modeling website. Make sure to choose the strongest images for the slideshow (that goes for any modeling gallery or portfolio in general) and set the transition time so that it doesn't take forever to display one photo to the next (but don't set the transition time to be too fast, either).

Your Name

Again, duh. BUT remember: I wouldn't mention these things if there wasn't a reason. If you use a model alias, then you should associate that with your modeling website. Keep things consistent. When people try to find you online, they should be using the name that relates to your modeling career. 

If you don't have a model alias and choose to use your legal name, which is totally fine (model aliases are not mandatory), then use that on your site. Don't feel pressured to come up with a model alias if you haven't felt the need to use one before.

List What You Do/Who You Are

I don't mean list paragraphs of what types of modeling services you offer. What I mean is list the name of the profession you are pursuing. Below are examples:

1. Model

2. Print ~ Fitness ~ Swimwear

3. Print/Lifestyle Model

4. High Fashion/Runway Model

5. Fashion ~ Print ~ Fitness ~ Glamour

Are you a model and an actor? Then you can list these two separately or on one line (i.e. Model/Actor).

***Quick note for you Model/Actors out there: the info I'm going to be discussing in this mini blog post series is only in regards to modeling websites but you can adapt the content and tailor it for your website if you are using it to actively promote your acting career as well as your modeling career.***

By simplifying this info and putting it on the Welcome Page, it makes it clear to potential clients right away what kind of model you are and what to expect if they choose to navigate your site further. But don't go overboard by listing a ton of specialties. I would suggest no more than 3-4. 

Can't decide which ones to highlight or do you have a lot of modeling categories that would be too much clutter for the Welcome Page? This you can keep it simple and just put: Professional Model. You don't need to overthink things.

Remember, it's the Welcome Page so it shouldn't contain too much information that may overwhelm the person viewing it.

Contact Info & Social Media Icons (Optional)

I say this is optional because your modeling website will have its own Contact Page, but it isn't uncommon to list a phone number and email in smaller text either in the header or footer of the Welcome Page. There is also the option of adding social media icons that link directly to those profiles when a person clicks on them (i.e. Twitter bird, IG camera, FB icon, etc).

In fact, depending on the template you're using to design your site, you can make it so that the contact and/or social media icons info appears on the header or footer of all the pages. So regardless of what page a person is visiting, your contact info and social media profiles will be readily available for reference.

Menu/Navigation Bar

There are a bunch of different styles and ways you can display the menu/navigation bar on the Welcome Page but make sure it isn't super huge and distracting to the rest of the elements on the page. At the same time, don't make it difficult to locate, either. Find a happy medium.

Chances are, you've visited your fair share of websites on the Internet in general so I'm sure you know how to gauge what kinds of menu displays you liked and which ones you didn't.

So that's it for this first post in "The Anatomy of a Modeling Website" mini blog series. The topic for Part II: About Me. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Letter to Tall Girls, From a Short Model

Dear Tall Girls,

I use the word “girls” very loosely because, truth be told, the majority of young ladies I work with are under the age of 18, although this post can certainly apply to women of all ages. But I think once you read this letter, you’ll see why I’ve chosen that particular word…

You can’t be in the modeling industry for 16+ years and expect to not have some things from the work world spill over into daily life. I playfully think of myself as an unofficial model scout. When I’m out and about, I can’t help but look at men and women and notice bone structure, height, size, smile and all the other things that tend to fall under the “model-ish” category.

Of course, I’m not a scout and I don’t pick models for agencies so usually I keep these observations to myself but one thing that stood out to me is the constant trend of tall girls hunched over with bad posture. The constant sight of this type of body language motivated me to write this letter in the hopes that it will positively impact the very young ladies I am concerned about, whether you want to be a model or not.

When I see a beautiful young girl, who also happens to be tall, stooped over, it tugs at my heartstrings because of what this action/behavior represents. It’s hard to deny that 9 times out of 10, they’re hunched over to try and conceal their true height—so they won’t tower over their peers in such an obvious way. This behavior is so natural to many of these girls that they probably don’t realize they’re doing it. Or how bad it actually looks.

Maintaining healthy self-esteem is always hard, especially in your teens and whether a tall girl has aspirations to get into modeling or not, it seems the hunchback behavior is something that comes with the territory of being tall. But it doesn’t (and shouldn’t) have to be this way.

Ladies, when your mother nags you about standing up straight, she’s not just saying it for fun. Body language speaks volumes in its own way about who you are as a person. Each time you step out in public, the way you carry yourself is more telling than you realize. And it’s not about caring what other people think—on the contrary, it’s more about what you think about yourself and what you project.

Nothing is more beautiful to me than a girl, young woman, lady, etc. who walks with her back straight and head held up high. Nothing screams “confidence” more to me than seeing a young girl not caring that she’s a head above everyone else because her height makes her no different. She is just like everyone else.

I have to literally stop myself from going over to every hunched over tall girl I see and giving her this pep talk so while I can’t reach all of you young ladies out there, I hope this post gets read by those of you dealing with this situation. You may not even notice that you stoop over but take a moment and look at yourself in the mirror. Stand up straight. Does it feel different? If so, then chances are you’re one of those girls who really isn’t as comfortable in her own skin as she thought. There is nothing wrong with standing up straight and owning your height.

Just because you’re tall, doesn’t mean you have to be a model. Just like tall guys don’t automatically have to be basketball players. The point I’m trying to make is that for myself as a working, professional, short model in the industry, I’ve seen the good and bad of those who strive to make it in this business. I get a lot of personal emails from aspiring newbies who can’t help but feel the odds are stacked against them. From insecurity to doubts about whether or not they would be a good fit for modeling, I’ve heard it all.

Having true self-confidence won’t just take you far in the modeling industry, it will take you far in life. So don’t shortchange yourself (no pun intended). Practice good posture, hold your head up high and realize that being tall has its own advantages. We all want to change things about ourselves that other people would kill to have. 

Girls with straight hair want voluminous, curly hair, while curly haired gals do everything in their power to achieve stick-straight hair. People with freckles would give anything to mask or disguise them, while those without praise how they look. Tall girls hunch over to try and appear shorter, while shorter girls go to the extremes to beat Mother Nature and genetics to gain just a half inch more.

So please take it to heart when I say that being tall should never make you feel small. I had a short girl recently email me to say she was considering shin surgery to add more length to her legs and increase her height so she could pursue fashion modeling. I’m sure you get my point by now if you’re still reading this.

People are always dying to have what they aren’t naturally born with. Realize your good fortune and whether modeling is in your cards or not, standing up tall and proud will always help you accomplish your life’s goals, no matter what they are. It may seem difficult now but trust me, time and confidence will help you love what you see in the mirror so start off on a good foot by standing tall and loving every inch you were given.


Dania Denise, A Short Model

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Benefits of Having an Official Modeling Website

After writing my mini-series of blog posts about the importance of putting together a solid “About Me” section, it made me want to write about why an official modeling website in particular is such a vital tool for all models, especially freelancers.

Social media has made it easy for models to market themselves and gain some measure of exposure. But too many models rely on just their social media sites and treat them as websites, which they are not. 

Having a Facebook page is not the same as having a website. Having an Instagram and/or Twitter account is not the same as having a website. Even a profile on a social networking site like Model Mayhem is not the same as having a website.

Just as helpful as social media profiles are, an actual website is still golden as an effective marketing tool.

Below are a few key reasons why:

It’s Steadfast & Constant

Remember that thing called Myspace? What about Friendster? Sure, Facebook is still going strong but it isn’t uncommon for social media sites to come and go. All the time and effort we put into our social media profiles can be gone in an instant if the site goes out of business or could be changed completely if they get acquired by a different company.

Social media sites are not in your control when it comes to infrastructure. If something happens, you have to deal with it. But that doesn’t happen with an official website—at least it’s not as likely to happen nearly as much as it does with other sites.

An official modeling website means having it hosted on a platform that is under your control at all times. While I’ve changed my website a few times in terms of design and look, I’ve had it up and active for years. The only way it will ever disappear is if I delete it.

In the ever-changing world of the Internet and the trend of jumping all over what the next best thing is, your modeling website can remain a constant and dependable place to point your fans, potential clients and social media followers. Even if the biggest social media sites disappear, your website will be the last one standing and that’s certainly what you want.

It’s the Best Form of Professionalism

Okay, this is the business-minded tycoon version of me talking here: when it comes to booking serious, paid modeling work and building a solid reputation and brand, you have to show potential clients that you are professional and have what it takes to get hired. In the business world, social media profiles and similar sites are all well and good to have in place (I encourage it as well), but an official website is still going to be what they look for when they do their online research about you.

Anytime you want to find out more info about something, especially relating to business, products and services, what do you look for on the Internet? The website. Again, social media sites are good and do offer insight and info but it’s the “official website” that most people consider the best resource of getting answers to their questions. The same can be applied to modeling websites.

That’s also why I constantly tell people to visit the official website of modeling agencies to get the info they need to know. Notice that I don’t say to check out the agency’s blog or social media profiles. There’s a reason for that, which is what this post is all about in terms of why actual websites still reign supreme in building your presence online and getting people to take you seriously.

Not only does having a modeling website make you look more professional, it shows potential clients that you take your career seriously. Putting together a website takes time and some money, which means you have made the conscious decision to dedicate your efforts into creating a site that showcases you as a model. Clients do take note of this. A model who just has social media sites all over the place is okay but if there is also an actual website, it just strengthens your brand and career that much more. Think of it as making you more legitimate.

It’s No Longer a Pricey Endeavor

Back when I wrote my posts about putting together a modeling website (click Here and Here), the options were not as budget-friendly in some cases. The options are still the same but today models can put together their own websites for a fraction of what it would cost to hire a graphic designer.

Thanks to sites like Wix, Weebly and a handful of others, models can now take advantage of what are known as “free site creators.” These sites offer all the tools you need to build any kind of site, whether it’s from a blank template to a premade one where you can easily change text, images and layout elements. It’s 99.9% free, with any fees for upgrades and additional features still being super cheap. In the end, it’s a win-win for your wallet.

Another plus to using these types of resources is that you don’t need any tech or programming skills. As long as you know how to drag and drop, you’re good to go. What I especially like about free site creator platforms is that you are in complete control. You can update photos whenever you want, change content, update your resume and even add additional gallery pages/tabs instead of waiting around for a graphic designer to be available to do your bidding.

That was my #1 issue when I worked with a graphic designer back in the day. Not only did I have to wait for him to be available, it cost me money each time, which meant only updating my site once a month or every other month. Now that I’ve got my site through Wix, I keep everything up to date because my site is accessible to me 24/7.

As you can see, there is no longer any reason to hold off on creating a modeling website for yourself—if you truly are serious about your career and maximizing the opportunities out there. The Internet is the place to be for models hoping to take their skills to the next level and an official modeling website is one of the best ways to get you there.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

The "About Me" Section & Your Modeling Career (Pt. III: Official Modeling Website)

***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 and II 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 these links:



The world of social media has certainly made things a lot easier for models, especially freelancers, to get noticed and attract business. But, as with just about everything in life, technology has a way of making us content and--dare I say it--lazy. When it comes to online matters, many models are okay with maintaining social media profiles and ignoring the option of having a professional website.

I won't spend this post talking about how important it still is to have an actual website that is not a social media profile (believe it or not, a Facebook page isn't a true blue website, folks). I'll save that for another post (perhaps it'll be the next one after this third and final post in this mini series!).

Instead, I'm going to stay on topic and give you the gist of what works for the About Me section for an official modeling website and how you can use this vital piece of content to help you in your freelance modeling career.

You Can Be Personal & Professional

The great thing about an official modeling website is that it's yours--you can be more personable in writing about who you are and introducing yourself to those that view your site. You're not a member who has to share the platform with millions of other users. If you want to talk about what got you into modeling, what inspires you, the goals you have for your career, you're more than welcome to share that in your About Me section.

Let your personality shine. I've seen modeling websites where the model talked about where they went to school, the hometown they grew up in, what their hobbies are in their spare time, etc. along with the more professional info about the type of work they specialize in.

Don't get too personal, however. These are basically "strangers" viewing your website so don't disclose any information like your home address or other personal/financial info (duh) but don't "overshare" about your background. If you've got an inspirational story to tell that relates to you and your modeling career or if you've overcome an incredible obstacle, it's okay to share some of that on your About Me section but stay away from uncomfortable topics like how you feel your parents didn't love you enough, that you were the victim of abuse or went through a cutting phase or something dark until you saw the light.

It isn't that you shouldn't share those stories--because you can--but a modeling website that is supposed to be run as your business is not the appropriate place. Keep it positive, inspirational or candid, witty and fun.

Be Mindful About Length

Because an official modeling website is a "free for all," it's easy to get carried away. It is important to remember that this section of your site is still for business purposes. The About Me section shouldn't look like a novel. If there are things you want to go into detail about, go ahead, but remember that not everyone is going to have the time (or attention span) to make it all the way through.

My favorite writing tip to share (which isn't really a secret or rocket science) is to write a first draft but don't think about what you're writing. Just write. Ramble, go from topic to topic--just type away whatever is coming to your mind. Now walk away for an hour or more and look at your first draft with fresh eyes. The next step is to edit the crap out of it: rearrange paragraphs so that the topics are related and flow together, fix any typos or grammatical errors you catch, etc. Most importantly, trim the fat. 

There are going to be sentences that you'll eventually realize aren't really needed. Don't be afraid to get rid of stuff. Lather, rinse and repeat this process as many times as you feel is necessary until the final About Me section you see is what you're happy with.

First Person or Third Person is Fine

Some people say that writing about yourself on a website using third person is pretentious but if you dig it, go for it. Or if you feel more comfortable talking in first person, that's totally okay, too. I don't believe there is a right or wrong when it comes to this subject. It's your website so you should do what you want in that respect. 

I personally like using third person for my About Me page for my website because, to me, it feels more professional for someone to read. Does that mean another model's website that is written in first person is less professional than mine? Definitely not. Think of this small detail for your About Me section as one of personal preference. Do what works for you. Simple as that.

Listing Specialties, Conditions, Pay Rates, etc. is All Optional

After reading Part I and II in this mini blog series, you're probably thinking I've flipped my lid by all of a sudden saying that these things are no longer needed for the About Me section when it comes to an official modeling website. Trust me, there is always method to my madness. :-)

Modeling websites are not like social media profiles so they don't technically fall under the same guidelines I listed in the previous posts in this series. Unlike some social media sites, having your own website means you're 100% in charge. You can decide how many pages/tabs you want, where the images will go, how much text/content you want, what order to put them in, manage your photo galleries, etc.

Because this type of website doesn't have the limitations that social media profiles do, you can be more organized with the way you present your information and that includes the types of modeling you're interested in, your resume of experience and special booking conditions. Instead of cramming all of this info into one About Me page, you can make all those things separate.

Your About Me page can literally be all about you on a more personal level, while another page could be devoted to listing your modeling services, specialties and rates, and another page could list your actual resume of experience (in addition to your photo gallery of course). 

As you can see, the flexibility an official modeling website affords you is what makes the About Me section different from how it is written and presented on sites like Facebook, Model Mayhem and other related sites. So don't be afraid to make your modeling website all your own.