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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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Video Girl, The Video Vixen and the Video Ho

One of my goals was to pursue modeling/acting in the music video world. I remember growing up watching beautiful young ladies playing opposite the singer and the story lines following the song lyrics.

 Then as the dance videos came into popularity (aka Sean Paul's "Give Me the Light"), I admired the way the background dancers were able to move their bodies.

That was about 5+ years ago and I have since stopped watching music videos. Why? It's pretty simple.

There was a time when all I wanted was to play the leading lady, the "Video Girl" who played the artist's love interest. The Video Girl was sexy and classy and didn't have to bare all. Video Vixens have now come to dominate this role and not really in a bad way but not really good, either. Most of them still follow the same behavior and mannerisms as the Video Girls but now the sex factor is WAY up. And besides, to be a Video Vixen is to be a woman who has been in numerous mainstream music videos. And in order to do that, you have to go through a lot.

And then there's the Video Ho, which sadly is what many young ladies prefer to be just to be in the video or in order to get next to the artist. I hate how generic music videos have become, not to mention that most of them don't make any sense. It seems that the music video world now consists of doing an open casting for girls who will work for free and seeing how many the director can fit into one scene. The end result? A lot of T&A. Not very appealing if you ask me.

I'm glad that I'm educated about what goes on at music video castings and I can proudly say I don't desire to be a part of it anymore. I highly doubt that the music videos of old with the original casting of Video Girls will ever come back but when they do, then maybe I'll reconsider.

The Taming of Tyra

I am absolutely disgusted at how much controversy there is over Tyra Banks gaining weight.

While I did notice she had packed on a few pounds during the last season of ANTM, I pretty much forgot about it. But sadly, I see that no one else has.

I, for one, commend her on talking about the issue on her show and for showing everyone that she has the ability to laugh at herself. She's spent years with self-image issues and is now older and wise enough to know that she doesn't need to please anybody but herself!

And for all the critics, HELLO! Tyra's a retired model so who are we to be harsh just because she doesn't want to fit into an impossible standard? Since when did being a sex symbol, model, etc. mean that you have to maintain it for the rest of your life just to be aesthetically pleasing to the eye? It's pathetic and unrealistic.

Critics, negative people, haters and all others who apply, just let it go and stop wasting your breath! Tyra's weight is fine and as long as she's comfortable with it, that's all that matters.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Just Because You're Short, Doesn't Mean You Can't Model!

Probably one of the most annoying things I read and hear when it comes to who can be a model is how people automatically think that if you're not 5'7"+, you can't model and may as well give up. That's a stupid way to think and I hope that view changes.

There is more to modeling than fashion and runway. Sure, it looks glamorous but it really isn't. And for girls who aren't tall enough, that doesn't mean you need to throw in the towel. Commercial/print modeling, petite and plus-size models are all models within their own right and I hate how so many people dismiss these categories of modeling.

Commercial/print models are in more demand than fashion models and is a legit and great way of getting exposure. For the young girls out there who pray every night to get taller, don't stress yourself so much. Don't count commercial/print modeling out. Besides, why would you want to lead a life where you have to limit yourself and stay in constant fear of stepping on the scale?

If you want to model and be able to be yourself, please opt for one of the other modeling fields I mentioned above. These kind of models don't have to deal with strict weight and height requirements and stress maintaining a healthy weight. It's the best step you can take towards a modeling career and towards a healthy life.

Model Lingo

There are some terms that you'll need to know if you want to be in the modeling world. Here are some of the most important:

1) TFP: Stands for "time for prints/photos", also called TFCDs "time for CD of images". This process involves a photographer taking your pictures and instead of paying him/her, you get a copy of all your images from the shoot and the photographer gets to use those photos to expand/update their portfolio. TF arrangements are free for both parties and may or may not require a model release form. Most models get a CD of all the images or their choice of their favorite shots, which are retouched by the photographer. TF arrangements are not black and white and the terms can be flexible as agreed upon by the model and photographer. If you see TF*, that means you can negotiate what you want out of the shoot, whether it is prints or a CD of photos.

2) Model Release Form: This is a document, usually one page, that lists the conditions agreed to between the model and the photographer. Each model release form differs but basically outlines what type of shoot it is, and what restrictions or limitations the model or photographer has when using the images for personal or professional purposes. The majority of model release forms require the model to waive (or dismiss) their claim of ownership/copyright to the photos, which means that they do not own any of the photos, nor are they allowed to make a profit from selling the images. They are allowed to use it for promotional purposes, however.

3) Go-See: The first time you meet with a prospective client who may be interested in booking you for a job.

4) Casting Agency: Not to be confused with a modeling/talent agency. This type of agency is responsible for contacting the agent with potential auditions, gigs and bookings for their models. Casting agencies do not represent models or talent, nor do they deal with modeling contracts, although many do allow models and actors to upload their photos and resume onto their database/website in order to notify them of upcoming projects. Casting agencies do not charge commission fees, although they may charge a small monthly fee to have your profile on in their database and/or website.

5) Exclusive Contract: When you sign a contract that is "exclusive" that means you can only work for that agent and cannot accept representation from anyone else. These types of contracts must be reviewed carefully. Exclusive contracts makes sure the talent/model doesn't get signed by a competing agent.

6) Non-Exclusive Contract: This type of contract allows you to be represented by other agencies or allows you to search and book your own gigs. Most non-exclusive contracts will have limitations to how their contract works. For example, if you are signed to a Los Angeles modeling agency under a non-exclusive contract, then you are free to get another agent outside of the LA market, such as San Francisco or New York. Each agency you sign with must offer a non-exclusive contract. Read the fine print carefully to see which areas you can have multiple representation in.

7) Open Casting Calls: Many agencies hold open casting calls, which are specific days and times out of the week where they'll accept walk-ins without an appointment. You get to meet the agency staff face-to-face. Be sure to check out the agency's website; they'll provide the dates and times they have open casting calls and what you should wear and bring.

8) Tear Sheet: A tear sheet is a page that's actually been torn out of the publication you appeared in. Many models use tear sheets of their photos in their portfolios because it gives clients a more authentic way to see what work you've done. A photo of yourself in an Old Navy magazine ad with the official logo and other print looks a lot more convincing than the photo by itself.

9) GWC: This is an acronym for "guy with a camera." This term refers to those individuals (mostly males) who have expensive cameras and label themselves "photographers" but generally have no training. Many of these types figure that just because they have a camera that costs over $2,000, that qualifies them to take "professional" pictures of models. The term GWC is a negative one and meant to describe those who shouldn't be trusted or worked with.

10) Implied Nudity: This type of modeling suggests that the model is nude but does not explicitly show any private parts. For example, a model with her hands over her bare breasts or a topless model with her back to the camera would qualify as implied. There will be times when the model will actually be nude on-set, however, she/he will be strategically covered up.

11) Cheat: This is industry-speak for "move." For example, "cheat to the right a little" means "move to the right a little." This term originated in the film industry and sometimes pops up in the modeling world.

12) Glamour Modeling: This type of modeling focuses on the actual model and not a product, clothes, or company brand. It is often adult or sexual in nature and often includes various stages of undress (implied nudity, partial nudity, full nudity). Many examples of glamour modeling can be found in men's magazines such as Maxim, FHM, King, and Smooth Magazine).

13): Commercial/Print Modeling: This type of modeling focuses on promoting a product, brand, idea, or company. Commercial/print models are used to sell products and are not required to look unique, stunning, or strange like runway models. The appeal is for the main public so these models are required to be attractive with symmetrical features and proportional figures. Consumers want to be able to relate to the model. Commercial/print models appear on billboards, catalogs, product labels and other forms of print material.

14) Fashion/Runway/Editorial Modeling: This type of modeling is all about selling and showcasing the latest clothes and trends in the fashion world via runway shows, photoshoots, ad campaigns and ads in high fashion magazines. Models in these fields are required to be very tall, very slim, and often possess facial features that are strange, weird, odd, alien, or unique.

15) Portfolio: This can be considered a model's "resume" of work, which contains a model's best photos, including tearsheets. Clients and agencies often determine a model's potential for success based on how strong his/her portfolio is. Model portfolios should be regularly updated as you take on new work. Only put the strongest images in your portfolio.

16) Book: Lingo for a model's portfolio. A model's "book" more specifically refers to the hard copy of the portfolio, as opposed to an online portfolio.

17) Test: This term refers to test shooting with a photographer for the first time.

18) Comp Card/Zed Card: This is the model's calling card, which is used by agencies to shop around their models to potential clients. Comp cards can come in all types of formats but usually consist of the model's headshot, name, measurements, and a selection of other photos that showcase what type of modeling he/she specializes in.

19) Inseam: The measurement that represents the length from the inside of the upper thigh, near the crotch area, to the ankle. The inseam is important when determining sizing for pants or other types of bottoms.

20) 3/4 Stance or 3/4 pose: This type of pose is typically taken from the mid-thigh up and is in between a profile and a full on pose. The 3/4 stance creates slimmer lines and is more flattering for a model's figure. For a better idea of what a 3/4 stance looks like, you can refer to beauty pageant contestants and how they often pose while standing or at the end of their walk.

21) Voucher: Modeling vouchers are a slip of paper that models must bring with them to gigs booked by their agency. These vouchers are necessary for receiving payment. After each gig, models should turn in their voucher(s) promptly in order for the payroll process to begin. The longer you wait to turn your voucher in, the longer you'll have to wait for a check. It is best to make blank copies so you always have some on hand. Ask your agency for blank vouchers if you don't already have them.

22) Booker/Model Booker: The booker is your best friend in a modeling agency. Each model is assigned a model booker and that person is solely responsible for finding you work and is the person that contacts you with the details about your castings, go-sees, and shoots. Your model booker will be your go-to person if you have questions, are running late for a gig, etc.

23) HWP: This stands for "height-weight-proportionate." This is a quick way for clients to ask for a model that is properly in proportion in all aspects, mainly their height, weight, and measurements.

24) Photog: This is pretty obvious but for those that aren't sure, this is simply shorthand for "photographer."

25) Port: Short for "portfolio."

26) DOE: Short for "depends on experience." Shorthand for the way compensation will work for a project/shoot. The more experience a model has, the more likely his/her pay rate will be higher than a new/inexperienced model. Sometimes DOE also appears as BOE, which is short for "based on experience" and means the same thing.

27) Headshot: A close up photo of your face. There are different ways to compose a headshot but it is basically taken from the shoulders up or closer. You should be facing the camera directly (no profiles) and you can choose to smile or not smile. Your hair should be out of your face and your makeup natural. Headshots are required for models to submit themselves for work.

28) Snapshots: This term is used to described photos taken that are not done professionally. Photos taken by a friend using a digital camera and then printed are an example of a snapshot. These usually come into play for new/inexperienced models that are submitting to modeling agencies for the first time. 9 times out of 10 agencies will specifically request digital snapshots that are not professionally done to really gage a person's modeling potential.

29) TG: This is short for "transgender." There are some transgender models out there and clients that need them. If you are not transgender and come across a model casting for "TG Models" do NOT submit.

30) Polars: This term is short for "polaroids." You do not need to use an actual Polaroid camera...this is just a general term for "snapshot" (see #28 for the definition of snapshot).

31) Kit Fee: You'll run into this term when working with a makeup artist. Not all makeup artists charge a kit fee, which is basically a small amount that you or the photographer (or you can both split the amount) are required to pay when working with them on a shoot. These fees usually help the makeup artist purchase new makeup items after using them on set (foundation, false lashes, etc). The kit fee varies from artist to artist and can be as small as $20 up to $75 or more. It is usually best to ask beforehand whether the makeup artist you plan to work with will charge a kit fee.

32) Callback: This term is typically used for acting but is becoming more common in modeling as well. A callback is like a second interview, which will require you to go back and meet with the client again. This means the client liked you enough after the first casting to have you come back in order to see if you are indeed the person they want to hire for their project. Sometimes callbacks will require you to look and dress the same way as you were at the first casting. This helps the client to remember who you are quicker--especially if the shoot or project has a theme.

33) Contact: When you talk to your agent they might tell you the name of your "contact." This term refers to your "contact person," who is the individual you will need to speak with when you arrive at your casting or for the actual modeling gig. The contact person usually is the go-to person if you have any questions or concerns.

34) Buyout: When clients do not want to deal with paying commissions, residuals or usage fees for models they have used in print ads and other marketing material, they will typically pay the model a buyout fee. By paying the model/agency this fee before the shoot, it legally means that you are not entitled to any future compensation by the client, even if they end up using your printed image in other places or for other purposes. Buyout rates vary but can be very beneficial for a model to receive. Some buyout rates, which are paid in addition to the pay rate for the actual modeling work performed, can be $500 or even $1,000 or higher.

35) Call Time: This is the time you are supposed to be on set. For example, if your agent/client tells you that your call time for a shoot is 8:30AM that means you need to be there and ready to work at 8:30AM.

36) MTF/FTM: These abbreviations fall under the transgendered model category. MTF is short for "male to female" and FTM is short for "female to male". Transgendered models should take careful note of which type the client is asking for before submitting.

37) Booking Out: This refers to notifying your agent of the dates and time frames when you are not available for castings, go-sees, fittings, shoots, etc. The method of booking out can include updating your schedule using an online calendar through your agency's website or emailing your agent of the times when you won't be able to take on modeling assignments.

38) Check Avail: This is short for "check availability". Agencies and casting directors will use this term when contacting you for modeling work that you may potentially be booked for. Oftentimes check avails are last minute (within 24-48 hour notice). Sometimes clients won't be able to plan ahead and won't hire their models until the day before so when you get contacted with a check avail, you will be notified of the project, shoot dates and time. The agency or casting director will need to know if you are available during those dates/times in order to officially submit you to the project.

39) BBW: This acronym is short for "Big Beautiful Woman." Clients using this term are often looking for plus size models.

40) Agency Tested: This designation is mainly used by photographers and means that they have experience doing test shoots with models represented by agencies. Working with an "agency tested" photographer is a huge benefit because they have direct experience doing portfolio work that meets the caliber of agency requirements and could have potential networking opportunities for new, unsigned models.

41) Lookbook (Look Book): A lookbook is a special collection of photographs that are put together to showcase/display a line of clothing--similar to a catalog. This type of publication is then shopped around to potential buyers, such as boutique stores, retailers and independent buyers. Those that are interested can then decide which items they want to carry in their stores.

42) Camera-Ready: Whenever a model is told to arrive to the set "camera-ready," this means they must do their hair, makeup and wardrobe themselves so that once they get to the gig, they'll be ready to get to work. This is often the case when a project doesn't have a makeup artist, hair stylist and/or wardrobe stylist available to take care of these things for the model.

43) Model Scout: A person who works for a modeling agency and is in charge of recruiting new faces for the company. They oftentimes venture out to popular local hang-outs in the hopes of finding male and females who they feel would do well as a professional model and meets the requirements of the agency. When a person gets "scouted," they'll be given the model scout's contact information so that an appointment can be arranged at a later date and time, which gives the scouted individual the opportunity to meet the agency staff and see if they would be an ideal candidate for agency representation.

44) Booking: This term simply means a modeling job that has been confirmed.

Info Every Model Should Know

For models, looks are an important asset. But there is also information about yourself that you need to commit to memory because you'll be asked this same information over and over. And don't expect anyone else to remember it for you:


- Height
- Weight (be honest)
- Bust/Chest
- Waist
- Hips
- Inseam (this is the measurement from the inside of your thigh near your crotch down to your ankles)
- Shoe
- Dress
- Pants


- Height
- Weight (be honest)
- Chest
- Neck
- Waist
- Hips
- Inseam (this is the measurement from the inside of your thigh near your crotch down to your ankles)
- Shoe
- Suit
- Pants

And if you don't know, don't guess!

Please Don't Pay

One of the biggest misconceptions is that you have to pay to get an agent or to become a successful model. No...you...don't!

An agency first and foremost, believes in the models they represent. A true and legit agent will sign you without asking for any money upfront. If anything, they may recommend you working with one of their photographers to start putting together your portfolio. That part is up to you, but in general, no respectable and reputable agency will ask you to pay hundreds of dollars upfront for training.

Scams operate successfully because too many people think that if they invest a small fortune into their modeling career, it'll get them more exposure. There are talent conventions, expos, whatever they want to call themselves nowadays, that do give pretty good exposure to aspiring models, but the bottom line is that no matter how much you pay anybody, it won't guarantee you a solid modeling career.

Don't trust companies that advertise models for hire in the newspaper. Don't trust anyone who insist you need to pay in order to have them put together your portfolio, online profile, blah, blah, blah. That's nothing but a scam, scam, scam!

Believe in your true worth and deal with agencies that have a good and consistent track record. Use the Better Business Bureau website to research companies that seem suspect. If you believe in yourself and demand nothing less than perfection, a true agent will see that and take the chance of signing you with no strings attached.

Why Get An Agent?

An agent is the best way for models to get legit and well-paying work without getting scammed.

You don't have to have an agent but I wouldn't recommend going without one. If you're just starting out, getting an agent is a must to get yourself out to the public.

The best way to find out what agency you should try out for depends on the type of modeling you want to do and where you are located. The Internet has made locating agencies easier than ever. If you live in small town, be sure that you're willing to travel at a moment's notice when you get called for an audition or a booking. For high fashion agencies, there is the possibility of relocating and living with other models in a dorm but that's rare. Not impossible, but don't bet on having such an arrangement when you get signed.

Check out the websites of the agencies you're researching. Read about the company's history, look up their client list and take a look at the portfolios of the models who they currently represent. Many agencies represent more than one type of modeling so be sure to check before you think you don't qualify (for example, FORD is noted as being a fashion agency but they also have a commercial/print division so if you're not 5'7"+, you can still apply to be a FORD commercial/print model).

Many agency websites list the times and dates of open casting calls and many are starting to incorporate online photos submissions. The process can't be any eaiser!

If you're still not sure if the agency is right for you, pick up the phone and call them. I can't guarantee that they will answer you right away, but if you do get a hold of someone who works at the agency, there's no harm in asking a few questions about whatever you're unclear of.

You never know unless you try.

What Photos Do Agencies Look For?

Sure, each modeling agency is going to have its own requirements but when it comes to photos, these are the ones that count (some may ask for full body profiles, which is basically the same as a full body frontal shot but taken from the side):

1) Headshot: This picture is taken from the shoulders up. You should have two headshots, one smiling showing your teeth and one without you smiling. Wear no makeup in this shot. If you're dealing with a problem zit or are breaking out, clear up your complexion first and then take your snapshots. Wear your hair down or up in a ponytail--as long as it is out of your face.

2) 3/4 Body Shot: This photo is taken from mid-thigh up and is not a profile. Your body should be turned slightly. Still not getting it? Think of how contestants in pageants pose when they get to the end of the catwalk--that's a 3/4 stance. This pose helps slim your body and allows the agent to see the dimensions of your shape. For a more natural look, put one of your arms on your hip. Make sure your arms do not block your body--this could cause you to look wider in the torso than you really are.

3) Full Body Shot: When they say "full body", that's what they mean, so do your best to not completely chop off your feet in the picture. This shot is best done in a bathing suit, one or two piece is fine. And please wear a bathing suit that caters to your age group. No agent wants to see a 14-year-old decked out in a Victoria's Secret string bikini.

For all of these photos, as well as many others you take, remember to wear solid colors that complement your skin tone. Stay away from busy patterns, stripes, plaid, and don't wear anything that has a noticeable logo or brand name on it. Additionally, these photos should be taken against a plain white background indoors with good lighting. No pictures, clothes, posters or other objects should appear in the background. No shoes or socks in any of the pictures either.

Putting Together a Modeling Portfolio

Take it from me, you don't need to spend hundreds of dollars to put together a portfolio. But having a good portfolio is the most important thing a model can have--it is his/her resume.

So how do you go about putting together a portfolio? It's actually pretty easy. The first thing you'll need is a photographer. There are tons of great photographers out there, both professional to amateur, who are more than willing to work with new models and models who need their photos updated.

For you newbies, finding a photographer in your area is simple. If you don't already know someone who does photography, use the Internet. Websites such as www.Modelmayhem.com and www.Onemodelplace.com are excellent for networking with photographers from all over the world.

There are features on there that will allow you to be notified when a photographer is shooting in your area. For those aspiring models who are underage, I stress that you have an adult or guardian who is 21+ (notice I didn't say 18+, please take the hint) help you with this part. Technically you are networking with a stranger so being cautious is a must in the first stages.

On these sites, look through all the photogrpahers' portfolios. Note the ones that you like and who have a style that you feel fits you, too. Make sure to work with photographers who are open to TFPs or TFCDs (if you're not familiar with the lingo, don't worry, I'm going to make another post describing what terms you should know). But basically this is a fair trade of your time for photos. In other words: a free photo shoot! Yes, it is possible and TFPs are the fastest growing method between photographers and models. Totally legit and both parties benefit greatly.

Once you've got a photographer you want to work with, start discussing locations and outfits. Most photographers will leave the outfit, makeup and hair up to you so make sure you know how to make yourself all purdy. LOL. Then, with your adult/guardian present (if you're underage), do your photo shoot and see what happens.

After your shoots, look over all the photos and pick a batch that you feel good about. Now you can go back to the websites like One Model Place and post up your new pictures or start getting them ready to send out to agencies.

When you get more familiar with the whole deal, you can start working with different photographers or work with the ones you feel most comfortable with. Before you know it, you'll have a decent portfolio put together!

This Whole Modeling Thing

Modeling is a world beyond "America's Next Top Model" and requires looking past the surface. While I respect everyone's opinion, I don't appreciate those who openly blab about what they see wrong with models and the modeling world, while citing the only evidence for their opinion off of what they see in fashion and runway shows as an example of what modeling really is or requires.

I am not a fashion or runway model but I am a commercial/print model. I am not 5'8"+. I am 5'4" and love every inch! I am a model and while my name is not a household one (yet), I am not new to this industry.

With all the concern about self image, weight issues or "thinspiration" if you will, and other problems that stem from this topic, I beg to differ. I won't say that the modeling world is a perfect one or that every young girl should strive to be a model, because it's not true.

I will, however, stand up for the world of modeling that I know exists: models of any shape, size and ethnicity, where personality counts for just as much as having good bone structure, where models are encouraged to represent "real" people who sell real products that real people will buy.

I am a model and I wanted to start this blog to address the various issues and problems that I see with the industry, as well as to post information, advice and other tidbits of info I come across to help younger girls, and even guys, gain insight into this field without the scams, false promises and other crap that lead so many aspiring models astray.

Modeling is not a job. It is a passion that doesn't subject itself to stereotypes.