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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, 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. 

Saturday, January 9, 2016

2016 - A New Year & The Latest on Dania Denise

Happy New Year! Okay, it's been the new year for a few days now but this is the first post I've written for 2016 so I wanted to keep the festive feeling going.

I've gotta say that 2015 was quite a year for me and I'm sure you've noticed that I've been MIA from regularly posting. There really aren't just enough hours in the day and I apologize if you've felt abandoned or wanting for new information. I haven't forgotten you!

There is always method to my madness, however. I basically devoted myself to being a workaholic in overdrive for 2015 so that I could position myself to make 2016 the kind of year where I could pick and choose how much I wanted to work (or not work) without worrying about making ends meet. You know, grown up stuff, lol.

That being said, below is a quick recap of what 2015 held for me. Hopefully it will show you why I was absent as much as I was from my Modeling 101 blog and other related projects:

Being interviewed live during a TV news morning show about my
chalk art business, The Chalk Chica.
THE CHALK CHICA 
CONTINUED TO FLOURISH 

As some of you may or may not know, when I'm not in front of a camera or on a stage, I own and operate my own art business. Chalk art, to be specific. It is because of this business I run that I am able to make my own schedule, call the shots and be secure enough financially to pursue my other passions in life.

Being a shorter model, I knew I couldn't rely on modeling income alone to maintain my lifestyle, pay my bills, etc. so it was important to me that I pay attention to The Chalk Chica and continue to ensure that my clients were happy and that the opportunities that came my way got bigger and better. Thankfully, they have.

I not only had the chance to travel out of state for work, I also secured a client who is partnered with Kevin Hart and I will be working with them throughout the year as a chalk artist at their community events nationwide. That includes several trips this year.

I WON MS. USA PETITE 2015! 

If you follow me on social media (IG, Facebook, Twitter) then you probably already know this but if you don't, in October of 2015 I was crowned the new Ms. USA Petite in Florida. I hadn't competed in a pageant since 2008 so in a sense I was coming out of retirement. The pageant bug never left me but it took some time to find a pageant system with a division that allowed women in their 30s to compete.

I was fortunate to find the USA Petite system. By "petite" they mean height, not size. Contestants had to be 5'6" or shorter in order to participate. I went to Florida for the competition, where I represented my home state of California. After making many new friends and having such an amazing time, I got to experience what it was like to be crowned and realize all the hard work and preparation I went through being rewarded.

As Ms. USA Petite 2015, I plan on spending my time as a titleholder for 2016 traveling, making appearances and promoting my platform, Citizen Schools, which focuses on creating apprenticeship after school programs in middle schools to help students identify what career path they want to pursue later on in life. I'm also an avid supporter of promoting the arts and arts education programs in K-12 schools throughout the country.

Additionally, I get the pleasure to take a free cruise to support my sister queens in the Teen and Miss divisions, who will go on to compete at the Universal Petite Pageant (the Ms. and Mrs. divisions do not have any further levels to compete at). Then I'll crown my successor at the 2016 USA Petite pageant in Florida in October.

NEW DANIA DENISE BUSINESS ENDEAVOR 

I think I'm too entrepreneurial for my own good. I'm always looking for ways to expand and reach others and after 2015, I think the timing is right to add another branch to my Dania Denise brand by making my mentoring, coaching and consultation services official with a new website.

I've always mentored, coached and consulted over the past few years but it was more a word of mouth type of thing. After coaching my protege, Jennifer Smith, to two pageant titles, taking on a new pageant student and helping many aspiring models embark upon their modeling journeys, I realized that I have the power to really connect with others and give them the opportunity to realize their dreams.

So I'm launching DaniaDee.com, which will be my new business venture of offering in-person mentoring, coaching and consultation services for not just modeling but acting and pageants. Please note, this is a paid service and while I'm not out to break anyone's bank account, I do require being compensated for my time, efforts and any travel involved. This is an opportunity for those who really want one-on-one assistance with whatever their career goals are in the fields of modeling, acting and pageantry. My online/email services will still be free so you can still email me your questions or leave questions in comments on my blog posts and I'll reply back so none of that will change.

The website is close to being finished and I'll make sure to make an official announcement once it's ready to go.

As you can see, 2015 has been a whirlwind and with 2016 already shaping up to be even better (acting work has picked up, including my first national commercial, set to shoot this week!), I can't wait to bring Modeling 101 back to life with even more information and insight for you all to enjoy!