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WELCOME TO MODELING 101!!!
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.
Friday, July 28, 2017
Chances are you already know this news if you follow me on social media but for those of you that don't or who only check out my blog for modeling related purposes, I'm pleased to announce that I am the new State Director for the first ever Miss California Petite Pageant!
So if you've ever thought about doing pageants, have done them in the past, always thought you were "too old" or were looking to try something new and see what it's all about, I strongly encourage you to apply because as State Director, I run the show (and you'd be in good hands)!
Essentially, it is my own pageant that I will be producing and putting together so contestants would be interacting with me directly throughout the whole process. To avoid writing a long blog post and getting lost in my words, below is a breakdown of what this all means and how you can be a part of the festivities!
WHAT: Miss California Petite Pageant 2018
WHO: I'm looking for ladies that are 5'6" or shorter in bare feet. You will be wearing heels in the pageant but your true height has to be 5'6" max. There is no size restriction so by "Petite," I'm strictly talking about height. I want women of all shapes and sizes!
There are 4 divisions: TEEN (13-17), MISS (18-26), MS. (24-40) & MRS. (30+).
MS. contestants must be unmarried but may have children. MRS. contestants must be married and may be with or without children. Married contestants under the age of 30 will automatically compete in the MRS. division.
AREAS OF COMPETITION: 1) Swimwear, 2) Evening Gown, 3) Private Interview with the Judges, 4) On-Stage Question (for the finalists). There is NO Talent Portion!
MRS. contestants will not compete in Swimwear and will instead compete in Fun Fashion, where they get to model an outfit of their choice on-stage that reflects their personality and sense of style.
WHEN: The Miss California Petite pageant will take place on April 13 - 15, 2018 (Friday thru Sunday).
WHERE: The host hotel is the Hyatt House in Emeryville, California. Check-in and interviews will take place at the host hotel. The On-Stage Finale Show will take place at the Oakland Scottish Rite Center in Oakland, California.
HOW TO APPLY: You must fill out the registration form to be considered:
My team and I will review all applicants and send an official acceptance email to those that have been selected. After being accepted as a contestant, the registration fee will need to be paid by the set deadline and all contestants will receive email instructions with the next steps, what to expect, a checklist, etc.
WHAT YOU WIN: The details of the prize package are listed on the registration page but in addition to all that, the 4 winners from each division will be trained by me personally to prepare for the National Competition, USA Petite, which takes place in Florida. I will also travel with my titleholders and accommodations will be paid.
If you win at USA Petite, you get a free cruise (you read that right!), with the TEEN and MISS winners going on to compete at the International Competition, Universal Petite, which actually takes place on the cruise ship! The MS. and MRS. winners do not have to compete and get to enjoy the cruise and support their sister queens.
Miss California Petite 2018 is a huge undertaking for me and a passion project I'm devoted to because it is creating experiences and opportunities specifically designed for shorter women (and we all know how tough it can be to get the foot in the door for us "shorties").
Even if you've never thought about pageants and just want to model, remember that winning a pageant opens up a score of networking opportunities, the chance to do a slew of photoshoots, making public appearances and those all open doors to people whose radar you wouldn't be on otherwise.
So take a chance and check it out. Pageants aren't for everyone but being a part of such an experience (and with me taking the lead), I can promise you it will be an unforgettable journey!
Thursday, July 20, 2017
I would hope that you've read enough of my blog posts by now to see that there is, indeed, life after 25 for models.
I've done several posts in regards to the concept of modeling at virtually any age but I did want to do this particular post to remind you "mature" models out there that when it comes to submitting yourself to agencies that have your division, you shouldn't compare yourself to your younger counterparts.
It's helpful to think of "mature modeling" as a sub-category of commercial/print and lifestyle modeling. You're not modeling designer clothes on the runway or necessarily doing editorial spreads. Like traditional print models, you'll be representing the every day consumer but for your age group. People your age shop for all kinds of products from a number of reputable brands and it is those clients who need your lovely face to represent their products, company or concept.
Many modeling agencies have divisions specifically for mature models, while others tend to just consider them traditional commercial/print models. When it comes to submitting yourself to agencies for potential representation, it is important to remember that you aren't expected to look in your snapshots the same way a 16-year-old aspiring runway model would.
That being said, keep the following tips in mind when it comes time to start sending out your photos and info to the agencies on your list:
LOOK FOR AGENCIES WITH MATURE MODELING DIVISIONS
A basic online search for "mature modeling agencies" or "mature modeling" will turn up many results. The ones you want to focus on first are the actual agency websites. Some may specialize in only mature models, while others may be regular agencies that also have mature modeling as one of their divisions.
Don't get misled by blog posts and other sites that seem to only have the keywords/phrase "mature model/modeling" in the text. Stick to the legitimate results like the agency websites first. Articles that talk about the subject of mature modeling are also worth checking out, not just for informative purposes but oftentimes they'll list one or more names of agencies that deal with mature models, which can help add to your list of potential places to submit to.
CHECK OUT THE COMPETITION
I always find it helpful to go on agency websites and see the roster of models they currently represent. Check out the commercial/print section or the mature modeling section (if they have their own division) and see who is on there.
Look at the quality of the headshots, how the models are posed, their hairstyles, wardrobe, etc. It will give you a good idea of what that particular agency is looking for, as well as what to expect when you do test shoots or the types of work you could potentially book, should you be offered a contract.
Find mature models that have a similar "look" as you and see how many there are. Some agencies won't sign on new models if they already have a lot that are similar in appearance. Don't see anyone that quite matches your stats? That could mean they'd have room for someone with your look or it might not be in demand at that time. The only way to find out is to submit!
READ SUBMISSION GUIDELINES CAREFULLY
I will confess that one of the pet peeves I have with many agency websites is that their submission guidelines are basically written for young models. Even though they may represent mature models, it boggles my mind how many don't have a separate set of guidelines for other divisions. Some do but a good number don't.
So first thing's first: check out the agency's website and make your way to the part of the site that talks about how to send your info. Read any listed info from top to bottom. If there is any part that specifically discusses what to send for models in your age group/division (or for print models), follow it to a tee. Send only what they specifically ask for. No more, no less.
Don't see anything in regards to non-fashion/runway model submissions? Then do your submission according to what is listed on the site but tailor it for your age, which leads us to the next tip...
PREP THOSE SNAPSHOTS ACCORDINGLY
If you are in your 30s, 40s, 50s or even 60s, agencies aren't going to expect you to do the standard two-piece swimsuit snapshots for women or the shirtless shots for the men. Once the agency staff realize you're a mature model, everything will make sense so don't worry about that.
Ladies: Wear fitted clothing in solid colors (no logos, graphics or busy patterns). It can be a short-sleeve shirt or even a tank top, with fitted jeans or shorts. They don't have to be skinny jeans but they shouldn't be baggy. Or if you have a nice casual dress you like that shows off your figure in a flattering way, wear that.
For the full length body shot, you can be barefoot or if you choose to wear heels, keep it simple--they don't have to be stilettos. The key is to not wear anything that would take away the focus from your face.
If you can pull off the no-makeup look, rock it. If you're a bit anxious about that idea, keep any makeup you apply super light, such as concealer for any blemishes. Resist the temptation to wear lipstick and no fake lashes or heavy mascara (if you have light colored lashes that disappear otherwise, wear a very light coat of mascara that makes your eyelashes look natural and not overly dramatic).
Keep your hair out of your face. Long haired gals can wear a low ponytail or if you choose to wear it down, brush it behind your shoulders or keep it behind one shoulder.
Men: Simple, solid colored t-shirts or collared polo shirts are ideal (no logos, graphics or busy patterns), paired with nice jeans or khakis. You can get away with being barefoot if you choose to wear shorts but if you're wearing pants, casual shoes will likely be best. Most men can pull off the no-makeup look (color me jealous!), so chances are you won't have much to worry about as with your female counterparts.
You don't need to be a beefcake and super buff but your physique in general should be healthy and height/weight proportionate. Keep any facial hair well groomed and properly trimmed.
DON'T TOUCH THAT HAIR DYE!
If you've got the salt and pepper hair going, stick with it, especially if that's how you normally wear your hair.
There are older models who have yet to see any gray or who have made it a long time practice of dying their hair and if you fall under that category, don't do anything different. Don't have any gray hair to speak of? That's cool, it's not a mandatory requirement to be a mature model. It's mainly your age and how well you've kept yourself up, appearance-wise.
The good thing about pursuing the mature modeling path is that you're supposed to reflect your age group in the best of ways and that includes your hair color. So before reaching for that DIY kit or making an appointment at the salon, remember that the snapshots you submit should look like YOU on a daily basis.
Don't feel like you have to go to the extremes to alter your appearance unnecessarily. That's no fun and these days, youngins are dying their hair silver and gray and white so clearly you're doing something right if the millennials are trying to sport your look!
Runway and fashion models are known for the sexy pout and dead face stare but mature models typically are all about smiles and genuine expressions because that is the nature of the majority of the modeling work they'll be booked for. So don't be afraid to show off those pearly whites in your snapshots!
If the agency guidelines ask for snapshots with a smile and without a smile then follow that they say but if they don't go into details about exactly the types of shots they're looking for, play it up with a warm and friendly smile.
DON'T GET SCAMMED
Unfortunately, there are some people out there looking to make a quick buck by mislead aspiring mature models with offers that are just too good to be true.
Be wary of agencies that are only "online" and don't have a physical location. That's not to say online agencies are all scams BUT you dramatically decrease the odds of any shady happenings by considering agencies that have a brick and mortar location, as well as those that have been in the business for a while.
Any basic research will usually help you determine if a particular agency is worth checking out further. Keep in mind that if you get invited to an interview or open call, you are under no obligation to say yes to anything or to sign anything you don't want to. High pressure sales tactics are always red flags, as is the promise of representation if you pay X amount of dollars upfront.
You have the right to politely decline and walk away at all times--always remember that and do not sign anything you haven't read several times over or don't completely understand.
THE BOTTOM LINE: BE YOU
Models come in all shapes, sizes, races and ages. Mature models have a place in the modeling industry that is all their own and doesn't require trying to turn back the hands of time. That's why there's no need to get Botox, plastic surgery or completely transform yourself for this category of modeling.
Like traditional commercial/print, you're simply expected to be your fabulous self so stick with it, own your age and see if modeling can be another great chapter to add to your life. With the right agency and research, it is possible.
Wednesday, July 5, 2017
One of the many reasons why it's so difficult to be truly successful in this industry is the fact that there are tons of female and male models that want the exact same jobs and there are certainly more candidates than there are openings for.
However, it is possible to use the spirit of competition to your advantage, especially if you're a freelance model looking for a way to boost your career, portfolio and resume.
Representing yourself comes with its own territory, as well as pros and cons. One of the downsides is not having a modeling agency submitting you to castings and projects on your behalf. Coming across opportunities isn't always easy and oftentimes requires the use of several networking and casting sites, not to mention the countless online modeling groups one can join to get the latest scoop on local projects seeking models.
One way many models--myself and my colleagues included--have gone about finding new avenues to pursue is to look at what the competition is doing. I'm not talking about the Victoria's Secret models and the supermodels--that's an entirely different level, not to mention that you'd need the backing of a top agency to get those gigs. I'm not talking about them.
What I'm referencing is a bit more attainable. Thanks to social media--namely, Instagram--there are more models out there than you can shake a stick at. Some more successful than others, with many becoming what we all know now as "influencers." If you're stuck as to what modeling opportunities are ripe for the taking, it's a good idea to start by looking up the social media profiles of these types of models.
STALK THEM ONLINE (PROFESSIONALLY, THAT IS!)
Research the models that are doing the types of work you want to do yourself. That means runway, editorial, swimwear, fitness, glamour, etc, etc.
Chances are you already follow and/or are a fan of a number of models so that would be a good place to start (again, I'm not talking about the supermodels).
Follow their careers and take note of the types of jobs they're booking. 99% of the time they'll list the name of the client/publication/designer/photographer they are working with, as well as that person's social media handle and info.
So what are you supposed to do with this knowledge once you've seen it mentioned on the profiles of models you follow? Start making contact with those people.
The best way to put this into practice is when it comes to publications they've appeared in, as well as runway shows and even photoshoots. Let's tackle these one at a time:
I've already done blog posts about getting published as a model in a magazine (click HERE and HERE to check them out) and I've mentioned that there are countless publications out there today. That means even more chances to become a published model and get some digital and hard copy tearsheets to strengthen your portfolio and resume.
Once you find out what magazines the modeling competition you're researching has appeared in, visit the websites and profiles of those magazines to see what the guidelines are for getting published. Magazines are very good at posting what themes/looks they're in need of for future issues. After you've acquired that info, start putting together your team to get a submission going.
Diligently focus on getting submissions out to various publications and you will start racking up published credits that will benefit all those involved and bring new modeling jobs your way.
Happen to come across a cool shot on IG of a model you like who is pictured strutting down a runway? Check out the caption and find out the name of the designer, fashion show, photographer, production company, etc. Any or all of these folks may be mentioned in the caption accompanying the photo.
If there's a website listed, even better. The key is to start becoming a detective and checking out who these individuals and companies are. Do you really like the designer's work that is displayed in the images posted by the model? Then reach out to the designer and introduce yourself. Inquire as to what future shows he/she plans on showing at and when casting calls will be held for new models and express your interest in attending.
It's rare that the designer wouldn't be mentioned in a caption/description but if you can't locate that info for whatever reason, see who else is mentioned or credited in the model's post and see if they can get you to the right person.
It really is 6 degrees of separation so all it usually takes is reaching out to one person to get directed to the individual or company you're seeking out.
Aside from publications and runway shows, models do tons of photoshoots. While professionally stalking certain successful models, take note of which photographers they've worked with. Again, the beauty of social media is that everyone automatically gives credit/mentions of the people involved in each project by listing their social media handle, website and other contact info.
Are you dying to work with a photographer that another model has shot with? Similar to what I described above for connecting with designers, use the same approach for photographers.
BASIC TIPS FOR ALL OF THE ABOVE
1. When contacting the key people you want to get in touch with (magazine publication, designer, photographer), practice common courtesy and "Like" their social media pages, send them a friend request (if they allow them) and Follow them online.
2. Keep your introduction brief. When emailing and direct messaging, don't send a novel. Think about how you can briefly tell the recipient of your message who you are, what you do, what you're interested in and why you want to work with them.
Don't forget to include your best contact info. Sending attachments (for email) should only be done if you have a professional headshot or comp card to pass along. Stick to 1 attachment and do not send huge files.
3. Don't stalk them for real! When I say "stalk professionally," I mean do your research to learn more about the person/company before you contact them. Do not call after business hours or send multiple messages to their inboxes. That's a surefire way to get yourself blocked or reported.
4. Hair stylists, makeup artists and wardrobe stylists all count as people you can also professionally stalk to find out how to work with them. So be on the lookout for those mentions when looking at what other model's are posting from their career highlights.
5. I wouldn't necessarily recommend contacting the model him/herself to get info about how you can work with the people they've worked with.
Not all professional models are as accessible or open as myself when it comes to being asked questions about our career moves. Some may not reply back at all, while others might have a bit of an attitude about it. Others could be totally great and allow you to pick their brain. But your results will be much more effective if you stick to contacting the professionals that you want to network with to build that working relationship.
6. It's okay to be a copycat. Just because one model is published in a particular magazine doesn't mean no one else can ever be published after him/her. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten work or at least developed a rapport with clients solely because I found out about them from another model's profile.
I've spoken to other professional models and they do the same thing. It's a common practice and you're not "copying" anybody. You're simply getting leads from the competition as to what modeling opportunities you could submit yourself for. Besides, if you do get chosen to work with those same individuals/companies, it's not like you'd be doing the exact same look, shoot, show or concept.
Your project will be totally different from the model you got the inspiration from and at the end of the day, it all counts towards growing your career, your networking pool and the doors that could open as a result of your affiliation with those projects.
Who says you can't embrace the competition? ;-)
Friday, June 23, 2017
I've written a few articles on the subject (if you use the search tool on my blog and type in "taxes," the posts will come up--make sure you select the "Amodelsdiary.blogspot.com" option and not "Web") but this particular post is a bit more specific.
I want to talk about write offs, also referred to as "deductions." You may or may not have heard this term before but it is a popular one--namely, with business owners, entrepreneurs and independent contractors.
So what exactly is a write off as it relates to doing taxes? According to the site TurboTax:
"Well, a write-off is any legitimate expense that can be deducted from your taxable income on your tax return. For many, this is the trickiest part of filing their income tax, particularly because there is a fine line between which expenses are deductible and which ones are not."
The reason I highlighted the last sentence in red is precisely the reason I wanted to write this blog post. In previous posts I've done, I mentioned that models in particular likely shouldn't consider the expenses related to their modeling career as write offs because in the event of being audited by the IRS, they would need to have sufficient proof that the products and services they spent money on were solely related to their modeling endeavors (it can be difficult to convince an IRS agent that only models get their nails done or buy cute dresses and heels).
I wanted to dive a bit deeper into this concept and clarify any statements I've made in those other posts. Technically, you can write off certain expenses dealing with modeling. BUT it's something that each model does at his/her own risk. I say that because it is critical to keep in mind that not only do you have to meticulously keep track of all receipts, records and other documentation dealing with those expenses, your income made from modeling also needs to justify the deductions.
A few examples of write offs that professional models include when it comes time to file taxes include but are not limited to:
- Makeup Products
- Skincare/Hair Care Products
- Body/Health & Wellness Treatments
- Gas/Mileage for Transportation
- Marketing Materials (business cards, website maintenance costs, casting services that cost money, etc.)
What's the big deal about write offs? Being able to deduct certain expenses typically means the ability to reduce your taxable income. What does that mean? It means you tend to pay less in taxes to the government. In some cases, you might even get a refund instead of owing money. Who wouldn't want a piece of that action?
So how can you do write offs for your taxes and stay in Uncle Sam's good graces?
ONLY DO WRITE OFFS IF YOU ARE PROFESSIONALLY MODELING AKA "GETTING PAID"
If you're an Instagram model, mostly post selfies or do a ton of various test shoots but do not earn an actual income from modeling, you might not want to take the chance of designating the items listed above as a tax write off.
However, if you've booked paid work throughout the year, traveled extensively for modeling assignments and basically are collecting checks from the work you book, then you have a solid professional standing that would allow for the items listed above to be considered a tax write off.
How much should your income be? There isn't a magic number (the more money you earn, the better of course) but that leads me to the next point...
YOUR EXPENSES AREN'T MORE THAN YOUR EARNINGS FROM MODELING
One of the main ways Uncle Sam determines whether someone is operating as an entrepreneur/business or if they're just doing something part-time for fun is whether or not they actually earn a profit or if they have more expenses than income.
For example, if you consider yourself a professional model and you're doing write offs related to it, keep an eye on how much income you make compared to how much you're spending on expenses for modeling. If you go on record too many years in a row with expenses that are more than the income you earn, the IRS will basically say, "That's a hobby," and won't allow you to continue writing off those expenses.
I will say, however, that you are allowed to report a "loss" with modeling if you happen to have a low earning year. That's okay because all businesses large and small, modeling as an independent contractor included, don't always have a profitable year when it comes time to do taxes and declare income. But that's why I stress that you need to keep close track of the numbers you're spending and bringing in so that you can balance the two properly and avoid any penalties/fees.
YOU CAN PROVE YOU MODEL PROFESSIONALLY IN THE EVENT OF AN AUDIT
I don't know what the odds are of getting audited by the IRS but in the event that you lose out and end up having the IRS examine your tax paperwork to make sure everything is on point, you better make sure you have sufficient evidence that the tax deductions you claimed are explicitly related to modeling as a professional career.
That doesn't mean you need to be a supermodel for the feds to believe you but you should have plenty of ways to prove that you get paid for what you do and generate credible results. That includes pay check stubs, bank statements and other similar financial records, as well as actual evidence like tearsheets (hard copy and digital), a website, resume, contracts, model release forms--anything that shows the IRS that yes, you are a professional model who gets paid for your services.
If your presence online is non-existent or only contains social media profiles with some photoshoots but nothing more substantial like published work or photos from shows and assignments for clients or your agency, it could cast doubt and the feds might not consider your write offs as legitimate.
I am not--I repeat--am NOT a tax professional. I live and work in California and have a CPA who I've worked with for several years and I sit with her each tax season and meticulously go through everything so the information I've written about above is for general informative purposes based on my own experiences and research.
The details and exceptions will likely vary from state to state. If you are under the age of 18 in the US, your parents will be the ones responsible for this part of the process (lucky you!). It is your responsibility to make sure you understand what you're doing if you file your own taxes or place your trust in a certified and reputable tax professional who has experience dealing with independent contractors and small businesses.
In case you're curious about the things I write off for my own modeling career, here ya go: skincare items, makeup/cosmetics, salon appointments (waxing and manicure/pedicure services), wardrobe/shoes/accessories I specifically wear for shoots and castings, hair care services, casting website membership costs, business cards/comp card printing services, website maintenance costs, mileage for all the driving I do to castings and bookings and airfare/rental car/hotel costs related to work travels.
It's a lot, right? Well, I have been doing this for a looong time and I have super OCD organized documentation (spreadsheets!) and receipts for everything I buy. Additionally, a Google search easily turns up plenty of proof that I do modeling at a professional level and earn income as a result.
Newbies just starting out may not be in a position to do tax write offs just yet but once you start earning money from paid bookings and keep at it consistently enough to see a profit, you will eventually be able to benefit from choosing which expenses can help you out in the long run come tax time where write offs are concerned.
If you have any specifics questions or concerns, you'd be better off asking a tax professional instead of me since I can only provide general info but hopefully this post will get you on the right track and thinking seriously about what it takes to get your taxes filed effectively if you are fortunate enough to earn a decent profit from modeling.
Saturday, June 17, 2017
I can't say I blame them--there's something about being in the spotlight with all eyes on you as you strut down the catwalk. It's a pure adrenaline rush.
I've written numerous topics about the runway walk on this blog but wanted to add this post to break down some of the important dos and don'ts that female and male models can learn from, especially if you're just getting into the industry.
Remember: you don't have to be in Fashion Week to use these tips to your advantage. Whether you're doing a huge show or have the chance to model in a student fashion show or other type of event, the work atmosphere tends to be pretty similar so going in armed with the info below will help position you to be the type of model that clients will want to work with again and again.
DO: ARRIVE EARLY
My motto is, "Early is on time and on time is late." Once you know the time and address of where you need to be, do whatever it takes to get there early. How early? Depends on how long it takes you to get yourself together. I personally prefer to get to my shows 30 minutes to 1 hour early. If your first instinct is, "Dang, that's so early!" then you clearly don't grasp why being that early is totally not a big deal for me.
I'd rather be that early so I can take my time finding parking, checking any last minute emails/texts so that I can put my phone away once I get inside, as well as mentally prep for the event. Going in cool, calm and collected will always make for a better modeling experience compared to being late or even on time but feeling rushed and panicked.
Another perk: being early usually means you get first dibs on getting hair and makeup done!
DON'T: ACT LIKE YOU RULE THE ROOST AND/OR HAVE A MELTDOWN
Want to learn how to NOT make friends? Walk into a show as if you're the supermodel and everyone else is just furniture. You are one of many models because that's how a fashion show works. It's a team effort and if the production is organized properly, you should have already gone to your fitting in advance and been assigned the outfits you're supposed to wear.
However, Murphy's Law has a knack for creeping up and it's not uncommon for models to not have their outfits show up at a show (for whatever reason) or even have one or more of their assigned clothes given to another model to wear (this happened to me before).
Things happen backstage that could affect your participation in the show. Do. Not. Make. A. Scene. It's completely understandable that you would want to BUT saving face and keeping a cool head will make you look so much better in the eyes of the designer and the other models. Save your emotions for when you get home and by that, I don't mean blast the people involved on social media. That's just not a good look.
If something happens at the show, don't let it affect your ability to do what you were hired to do. Work with whoever you need to in order to do damage control, figure out a solution and keep it moving.
DO: BRING YOUR OWN STUFF
Even if I know a full team is going to be there to take care of hair and makeup at a fashion show, I will still bring my "Model Bag," that contains my own makeup, thermal styling spray, several types of bras and undies and 3-4 pairs of shoes (among other items).
I do this more as a backup plan and I don't announce to the hair and makeup team that I've brought my own stuff. I've been to shows where there were more models than people there to get them ready and in worst case scenarios, I've done my own makeup and/or hair if I felt they weren't going to get to me in time. The last thing I want is to be late getting into my clothes because I was stuck in the chair.
I also bring my makeup because I've had makeup artists not have the right color to match me (this doesn't happen as often anymore, thankfully) but basically, I always recommend bringing stuff that belongs to you in case something isn't onsite for you and you don't have to worry about borrowing other people's things.
DON'T: GO ROGUE
You know why fashion shows look so cool? It's because the models do what they're supposed to. Much of the choreography or instruction for where to hit certain marks on the runway are taught to the models the day of the show. When everyone looks uniform, it makes the overall show run smoothly.
If you break protocol and decide to do something different or stay to pose at the end of the runway too long because you're soaking up the spotlight, you'll throw off the pace for the other models, not to mention you'll get backstage to some pretty angry people.
Enjoy the time you're on the runway for the brief time you're on it and respect the fact that that's what your colleagues in the show are trying to do, too.
DO: MAINTAIN A CLEAN FACE & BODY
Unless told otherwise, models (male and female) should arrive to the show without makeup on and with their hair a little dirty (to make for easy styling) but without a ton of product in it. This will make the hair and makeup team's job easier and keep them in a good mood.
Body-wise, do not wear heavily scented body lotion, perfume, deodorant, cologne or body spray. These scents can stain and/or linger on the fabric afterwards, which tends to be a huge pet peeve for designers. An industry insider tip for not sweating onto an outfit is to wear tissue under your arms to absorb the sweat while you're waiting to go on the runway. Simply take them out and toss them when it's your turn and it'll minimize any chance of pit stains happening.
Also nix body oils and lotions containing body glitter. Again, it will get on the clothes and the designer will not be happy. You can wear lotion (who wants dry skin?) but make sure it's either lightly scented or non-scented and not greasy.
DON'T: BE BASHFUL
I have yet to be in a fashion show where once you step off the runway, you don't encounter a lot of fast-paced madness backstage. Oftentimes models only have seconds to get out of one outfit and into another. This means you don't have the luxury of trying to be modest and cover yourself up.
Many seasoned runway models have no problem dropping their clothes and walking over to their next outfit with just a thong on and no bra. They don't even bother to cover themselves because they're going to be dressed in a matter of minutes anyway.
Male and female models are dressed separately for shows so if there's any worries about someone of the opposite sex "seeing you," you'll be fine. It is a work environment and trust me, the people backstage have seen their fair share of half naked or nude female and male models changing so it's not like they're going to be hitting on you. That's not what they are there for.
If you have issues with being in a state of undress in front of others or if you feel the need to take your outfit and find a corner to get dressed in, I'm sad to say the world of fashion may end up being a rude awakening for you. Again, it is a work environment and everyone is there to put on a good show so keep things in that perspective and you'll do just fine.
DO: BE NICE TO YOUR DRESSERS
Dressers are amazing people whose purpose is to help models get in and out of the clothes they're modeling. 99% of the time these are unpaid volunteers so they are doing it for the love of fashion and oftentimes for networking reasons and to get their foot in the modeling industry door.
Don't be weird or act like the dresser helping you is a creeper. In the "real world," it isn't normal for people who are essentially strangers to assist you with putting on and taking off clothes. But fashion shows are a different type of reality and they are there to do a specific job that is actually beneficial because it makes your job as a model that much easier.
Many designs are difficult to put on yourself and having dressers help with zippers, lace-up corsets, tightening, fastening, pinning, smoothing and altering the clothes is a God send to models who just want to focus on looking good once they hit the runway.
I once did a runway show where I had to wear a skin tight leather body suit and not only was I not able to wear a bra or panties, I had to have body oil applied in order to slide into the garment. The woman who was in charge of applying the oil (not to my private parts of course), was super nice, chill and I didn't hesitate or act weird because I knew why she was there and she was definitely helping me out. Just another day at the office. :-)
Dressers are your friend. Be nice to them.
DON'T: MISTREAT THE CLOTHES
Eating, drinking and messing around while wearing a designer's clothes are huge no-nos. Be aware of your movements when backstage and be mindful of keeping your outfit from getting stepped on, torn or snagged. If you need assistance doing something to avoid possibly ruining what you're wearing, don't hesitate to ask for help.
DO: NOT BE SCARED OF THE END OF THE RUNWAY
The only time photographers have a real shot at getting decent photos of models in a fashion show is when they come to the end of the runway and pose. Don't be a blur when you get to the end and scurry away. Once you hit your mark, revel in the moment for a few seconds. 5-7 seconds is pretty ideal. It sounds fast but believe me, on stage it is the perfect amount of time for photographers to get good flicks.
That doesn't mean you need to hold the same pose for 5-7 seconds and become a mannequin, however. If you've ever watched a fashion show, you'll see the model stop at the end of the runway and hit one pose, then slightly shift to a different pose before they walk away. So that's the amount of time you have to do at least 2 poses, which easily eats up those seconds. If you stay any longer, it will be noticeable and likely pretty awkward.
Unless your garment has a special feature that you need to showcase that might take a few extra seconds, don't linger too long.
DON'T: BREAK IN NEW SHOES AT A RUNWAY SHOW
While this certainly applies to female models it can also go for male models, too. I can't stress enough the importance of breaking in new shoes well in advance of any shows you plan on walking in. If you want to break your feet, wear brand new shoes in a fashion show. I guarantee you'll have blisters galore.
Practicing your walk is vital so if you're going to kill two birds with one stone, break in your new shoes while doing your practice walks at home. Want to make sure you're doing right by your tootsies? Then you can check out the following link (for female models):
Breaking In Heels for Modeling: Why It's So Important
DO: WATCH VIDEOS
One of the best ways to learn the world of runway is to watch shows. YouTube and other online sites have more reference videos than you can shake a stick at. You'll see that no two shows are exactly the same. Each model has his/her own walk and style and the types of runway stages all differ.
If you're trying to figure out your own sense of runway style, don't be pressured to master everything you've seen in the videos. Things will vary from show to show in terms of what you'll be wearing, where you'll be walking, how many marks you'll have to hit, etc. So take it one show at a time and you'll learn to adjust accordingly, if needed.
DON'T: BUG THE DESIGNER
Chances are the designer is going to be stressed and running around like a chicken with its head cut off. That's understandable--their brand and rep is on the line with each show and they want each event to go well. If you have questions or concerns for the designer, that's okay but be observant and pick the right time to approach them. If there is someone else you know that can answer your questions, pull them aside instead, especially if you see that the designer is tied up.
They've got a lot on their plate and many models to keep track of so don't they won't have the time to pay a lot of attention to catering to your needs and wants. Don't take it personally.
DO: YOUR BEST & HAVE FUN
No one is perfect on the runway in their first show. We all have to start somewhere so go into your first show with a lot of energy, enthusiasm and come away with knowing what you did well and what you want to improve on. Practice, practice, practice! The more you know your body and your walk, the more confident you'll be in any show, no matter how big or small the production is.