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.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

One of the Best Experiences In My Life

Just thought I'd share some fun pictures from when I was a co-host at the BET Awards Show in Los Angeles a while back and to show that even if you don't make it big right away, that doesn't mean you can't still go on to do big things...

Flavor Flave!!!!!!!!




Me & the Crew Posing with Gabrielle Union




My Co-Host Interviewing Dave Navarro (I was too busy staring at his body...that man is hot! LOL)




Me & Hip-Hop Violinist, Miri Ben Ari




Me and My Co-Host with Director Bryan Barber




Me and Fantasia




The Crew at The After Party After a Long Day's Work


Modeling & Beyond


Well, here I am 100 posts later...who would have thought I could find so much to talk about when it comes to modeling?! Obviously, you see my passion for this field is strong and as long as that passion is in me, I will continue to update this blog and share my latest photos and experiences as a commercial/print model.

For me, there's more to modeling than just being in front of the camera striking a pose. Luckily, I have a lot of experience in broadcasting and working in the television field.

This has led to many exciting projects and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, one of the most memorable was as a co-host live on the red carpet conducting interviews with celebrities at the 2004 & 2005 BET Awards Show in Los Angeles. If you just want to stick to modeling, there's nothing wrong with that at all but for those of you who are like me, there are ways to use your modeling career to cross over into new territories.

Many supermodels and other top models have been very successful as spokesmodels, representing brands, products or companies through commercials, promotional events and even into acting or hosting their own show. Anytime you have the chance to step outside of the modeling world to further your career, jump on it without hesitation.

Spokesmodeling involves being the face of a brand or company and possessing good communication skills, grace and poise in front of the public is a must. If you're outgoing, love to talk and meet new people, then spokesmodeling will be the perfect fit. At the same time, also keep in mind that you are a role model to many young girls and guys.

While some people say they don't mind being a role model, their actions show otherwise. Be smart and don't indulge in drugs, alcohol or other bad behavior...there's more to life out there and you should be better than that. Never squander or take opportunities given to you for granted.

There is no one way to get into spokesmodeling--many times it just kind of happens. Working in promotional modeling is one fast way to becoming the chosen face for a product, as well as being an in-demand model.

If you're freelancing, work hard to open up new doors for yourself and demand that the public knows who you are. When I began doing promotions for my 2007 calendar, all it took was a little research, a few emails and some snail mailed letters and I was able to appear on two popular radio stations. I used those opportunities to not only broadcast the reason I was there (to sell and promote my calendars) but to let everyone know that there was a model out there who didn't believe in the hype and the negativity that some people associate models with.

Through that outlet, the listeners were able to learn who I was and that I wasn't someone who was just a flash in the pan. And that's the thing about being a businessperson--it's always going to be a hustle. If you slow down, you only allow the next person to catch up and steal your spotlight. Never let that happen.

What aspiring models today must realize is that the best way for companies to make money and to showcase talent is to hire models who can function in other arenas aside from being in a studio during a photo shoot. A model who not only takes good pictures, but also has the ability to command a strong presence in a room filed with people is every designer, photographer and marketing exec's dream come true. If modeling doesn't already provide you with a decent income, then signing contracts with businesses to represent them will definitely keep you going in the finances department.

There are two types of models: the ones who are content with just being another face on a magazine or strutting down a runway and the ones who want to not only dominate the modeling world, but all of the areas in between. One isn't necessarily better than the other but if you have the opportunity to make it in the modeling world, then you better be the best damn model you can and outshine the competition. Claim what's yours and climb as high as you can, but also stay humble and avoid making the bad decisions that can send you crashing down to the bottom.

Success is fleeting...hold on to it while you can and make the most of it. Remember: opportunities are never lost--they just go to someone else and that every setback is a setup for a comeback!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

What You Should Look for In An Agent

I've already made a post similar to this one but I want to focus more on the actual physical working relationship between an agent and a model.

Having an agency at your side is the ultimate asset any model can have, male or female, young or old. However, it is a business relationship and only the most successful modeling careers continue to flourish when there is mutual respect and trust between an agency and its models.

There is such a thing as a model being fitted with the wrong agency. That's why it's important to do your homework and make sure that you find an agency that is right for you.

That being said, when you're attending open casting calls, interviewing with modeling agencies, or are going over your contract, there are a few things to keep in mind, aside from trying to keep yourself from getting scammed.

Because you'll be working one-on-one with your agent, make sure that you are comforable around him/her. You may be working with different bookers at the agency or you may correspond with one main person. It can be intimidating at first but look past the agency and modeling atmosphere and try to figure out if you feel comfortable enough around the agency's staff and other big players.

It's always reassuring to know that you get a good vibe from the people who you're working with. Try to picture yourself interacting with these same people everyday and see if that is the particular environment you want to work in.

Trust is the most important factor that a model and agency must have. You have to be able to feel comfortable enough to trust that your agent is booking you for jobs that will benefit you as well as the agency. You should be able to come to your agent with any questions or concerns and feel secure in knowing that your agent won't steer you wrong. Without trust, you can't have a positive and successful partnership.

Each agency brings its own sense of style and atmosphere; the larger agencies will undoubtedly be buzzing with people and move at a fast pace, while smaller agencys almost feel like a second home where you know everyone by name. Knowing which one you fit into and knowing you'll be able to fit into that mold will help greatly when it comes time for you to decide who to sign with if you get an offer.

Sign with an agency that you feel will operate in your best interest. Don't just sign with an agency because you're desparate to get work and get your face out in the public. When you talk with your agent, take note of how responsive he/she is to you and how they answer your questions. Give yourself a chance to explain the type of work you like to do or would like to do and see if your agent books you for such work or if they take you in a completely different direction.

Communication is key. Don't be a stranger to your agent but don't annoy them, either. If you've been signed and work is a little slow, be sure to contact your agent from time to time to keep up the latest trends in the modeling world or simply to say "hi." An agent will always appreciate a model who takes an active interest in their career, as opposed to sitting back and waiting for a phone call.

Not all of the things I'm talking about are necessarily bad if they don't happen (such as feeling an initial good vibe) but it's always helpful to know what to expect as well as what to look for. Signing with an agency is a vital step to starting or maintaining your modeling career but that doesn't mean you should settle for an agency that doesn't listen to you, doesn't try to compromise and orders you around. Then again, sometimes that kind of atmosphere tends to come with the territory.

While seeking agency representation, make sure that you know with your whole heart that you belong with that particular agency. Agencies tend to operate as parents, with the models as their offspring. This is an extended family that you will be a part of and it will take some time to get used to, but once you really click with your agency, everything will fall into place and your working relationship with your agency will be greatly beneficial to all who are involved.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Plus-Size Modeling


Plus-size modeling, unlike petite modeling, is gathering a huge following in the fashion world and more and more agencies are developing plus-size divisions. The reason for this is simple: in America people are getting bigger in size, not smaller.

That's not to say that anyone is promoting obesity, but with the average sized woman being larger than your typical fashion model, the modeling industry is starting to cater to this large target audience.

Plus-size models must meet almost the same requirements as fashion models: they must be tall (5'8" to 6'0"), with a great face, nice bone structure, clear skin and a well proportioned body. The size requirements may differ from each agency but the general range is somewhere between a size 10-18 (some exceptions are made for size 8). Plus-size models get booked for runway shows, fit modeling, print work and a score of other well-paying gigs.

The best way to find out if you have what it takes to be a plus-size model is to look up agencies that have plus-size model divisions. Take note of each agency's requirements and submit yourself to the ones that you feel would be the right fit for you.

Slowly but surely the modeling world's image of beauty is changing to accommodate the times, so all of you big, beautiful gals, give it a shot and represent the millions of women who look just like you!

Petite Modeling


I have a petite build. Always have, always will. However, I am not a petite model. I am a commercial/print model and I think that there is some confusion between the two.

Commercial/print modeling is a very in demand part of the modeling industry that uses models of all sizes to promote products through catalogs, flyers, magazines, etc. and are aimed at the general public.

Petite modeling operates in the same way, except that the target audience is smaller and the requirements aren't as open as commercial/print. Think of commercial/print as a "free for all" and petite modeling as a "select few".

This type of modeling does include runway but because this part of the modeling industry isn't as well-known or popular, these types of bookings are very rare. Many agencies have a special petite models division and there are some that solely specialize in petite models only. The general requirements vary but the rule of thumb is that anybody who is under 5'8" and no shorter than 5'0" can be a petite model.

While this may seem like the same "free for all" requirements in commercial/print, in order to be a petite model, you have to have an amazing figure that is proportional and you must have a flawless face. Basically, petite models have to have the same "it" factor as fashion/runway models but all contained in a petite frame.

Because petite modeling serves a very specific and small group of people, the bookings for such jobs may not be as numerous as the other types of modeling. Not everyone is jumping on the petite model train at this point in time so this part of the modeling industry still has a way to go but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't pursue it.

If you fit the requirements, then go for it. But just know that this isn't one of the best paying parts of the modeling industry and you may be better off crossing over into commercial/print to get more bookings. Talk to agencies that represent petite models and see how much work they've gotten their models.

I'm not trying to cast a bad light on petite modeling or steer anyone away from it. It's great that petite modeling even exists and there's nothing wrong with wanting to stick to representing your group but right now the demand for petite models is not there so doing petite modeling alone won't get you much work--of course there is always the opportunity to do both commercial/print as well as petite modeling or even parts modeling.

But people also said plus-size modeling would never amount to much or be taken seriously and now that part of the modeling industry is taking off so maybe in a few more years, the spotlight will be cast on petite models as well. My best advice about pursuing petite modeling is to also do commercial/print so that you can build your portfolio up faster and get booked for more gigs.

Skin Care & Wardrobe for Male Models


Okay, fellas, I found another topic for you! Although some of the information I give the ladies also applies for men as well, there are a few topics that do need to be addressed separately.

The best advice I can give any aspiring male model is to take care of your skin. If you haven't had any skin issues in the past, then congrats, you're one of the lucky ones.

But if you're like many other guys out where who are dealing with breakouts, acne or other skin problems, the first thing you should do is visit a dermatologist or other skin care specialist who can help you figure out the best way to take care of your complexion and what types of products you should be using.

Your face is your greatest asset so your skin needs to be on its best behavior. If you have facial hair of any kind, keep it well groomed by a professional barber or other type of hair stylist. You never want a hair out of place. Of course if you're able to maintain your facial hair by yourself, that's great but also know that it will save you time and stress by having a professional do it when you're not able to.

Be careful with shaving, as this is the perfect way to get razor bumps and cuts. Only use shaving products made for your skin type and take your time while shaving--no rush jobs!

When it comes to wardrobe, make sure your clothes are a combination of casual and business styles. Nothing looks better on a male model than a suit so it would help for you to own at least two or three good quality suits that you can show off in your portfolio. Flip through magazines and look at the clothes the male models wear (if they're wearing any at all!).

Jeans are a must and make sure that you have a few pairs of comfortable jeans that aren't dirty, filled with holes or are snagged at the bottom. Learn how to tie a tie yourself if you don't already know how and try to include a few dress shirts that can be worn without a blazer. Owning some loose-fitting white button-up shirts and tank tops add a nice finishing touch.

Always make sure that you have a wide range of looks in your portfolio that reflect the type of work you do. If you have any questions or are totally confused about how to build your wardrobe, then ask your agent for help or if they can refer you to a stylist who can guide you and make this process of getting started in modeling a lot easier.

The Runway Walk


In order to be a successful fashion/runway model, you have to learn how to walk down a runway. The best advice in a nutshell is to watch fashion shows and take note of the various ways the models walk.

No two models walk the same and as you get more experience, you'll be able to own your own style or throw in a little nuance that will set you apart from the other girls. Of course there are a few basic rules of thumb that every runway model should know:

Posture

There's nothing glamorous about a runway model that is hunched over. Anytime you set foot on that runway, your whole body needs to be upright and alert but not so rigid that you look like a robot. While walking, keep your chin tilted down slightly but not in a way that your whole head is looking down. The audience sits below you during a runway show and you don't want them completely looking up your nose the entire time.

It's all in the eyes

Anytime you watch a fashion show, the model's eyes are always focused straight ahead and rarely look anywhere else. When you're on the runway, find a comfortable spot where you can stare straight ahead and don't let your eyes wander all over the place. Make sure you don't look down! It's a bad habit to continuously look down to see where you're stepping.

Try to break this habit and learn how to look ahead while being able to see where your feet are landing. To switch things up a little, when you reach the end of the runway, do your pose and let your eyes slightly look down and make contact with the audience. But do this without your whole head looking down--limit it to the eyes.

Keep your mouth natural

No one expects you to have a full-watt smile from the beginning to the end of the runway and back...this isn't a beauty pageant. Keep your mouth closed and smile naturally, whether it's a sexy smirk or no smile at all. Learn to relax your lips and you'll be fine.

Pay attention to your arms and hands

Your arms should sway naturally as you walk but don't swing them too much or you'll look silly. Keep your arms close to your body so that only your lower arms sway. Your hands and fingers should be relaxed. Don't ball them up or curl them up in any way. This makes for bad photos--you don't want to look like you're missing a couple of fingers. Keep your hands open and your fingers as straight as you can get them without it looking unnatural.

Be mindful of your shoulders

Your shoulders should always stay steady and shouldn't bounce or dip as you walk. Keep your shoulders still but not to a point where it's painful.

Your stride

When walking down the runway, don't take baby steps. To enhance your walk, you'll need to take longer strides than you normally would but avoid overdoing it to the point where you almost fall down. You have to find the perfect medium. Remember in a fashion show, the walk is paced in a certain way so that all the models have a steady tempo to walk to.

If you ruin that tempo, it throws everyone off. Place each foot in front of the other as opposed to side-by-side when you normally walk. As you place each foot down in front of the other, allow your hips to sway naturally.

Possess confidence and attitude

There is no way you can fake this on the runway. When you have confidence and attitude, it comes out in your walk and makes you the center of attention. Nothing is more important than having the emotional aspect in check. When you know you've got it, it comes through in an amazing way that all runway models possess.

Don't forget to pose 

In addition to walking down the runway, there is also your time to shine when you reach the end of the catwalk and pose for photographers. It is easy to get caught up in the moment and only spend a few seconds in that spot before walking back but remember, this is not only the time to show off the designer's clothes to the audience, but for you to get great images for your portfolio.

Photographers can't get a good shot if you're barely still once you reach the end of the catwalk. I find that it helps to do a 3-5 second count in your head. When you reach the end of the runway, strike your first pose and do your 3-5 count...then perform your second pose and do another 3-5 count. No more, no less.

This should be more than enough time for photographers to get a handful of decent images of you that are not blurry, show off the outfit and still keep with the pace of the show. With time and practice, newer fashion models will learn how to master this part of the process. Remember, only by continuing to do fashion shows can you really become comfortable with all aspects of being on the runway.

Small Markets vs. Large Markets

Signing with a top agent is every model and aspiring model's dream. But unless you live in one of the hot spots--Los Angeles, New York, Miami--chances are, you'll have to sign with a smaller agency in a smaller market.

First thing's first: learn to be grateful for the opportunities that come your way. There are entirely too many people reaching for the goal of pursuing a modeling career for you to be whining about the kind of representation you have.

By simply having an agent, no matter what size market you're in, opens up more doors for you than you could ever hope to find on your own in most cases. It always annoys me to hear about models who complain about their agencies when there are so many others who dream of just getting signed.

Any legit and reputable agency will get you work, no matter what size market you're in. Even if you're getting work in a city that isn't easily found on a map, you're still booking jobs that cater to that specific city's demographic/target audience. You're still a model and shouldn't feel inferior to someone who is represented by Elite or some other top agency.

Getting signed to an agency in a small market can only help and not hurt your career. The fact that you have an agency that wants to sign you is reason enough to celebrate. Once you've signed the contract and start getting work, you're already building up your portfolio and marketability. This is a positive thing, not something to be looked down upon.

Sure, smaller agencies may not have a lot of glitz and glamour that the bigger agencies do but they still do their job of getting your face out there in the public eye. Being in a small market does NOT mean that is where you'll stay. I think that is a common misconception that some aspiring models have.

Some of the biggest models have switched agencies many times and bumped up to bigger and better ones as their careers progressed. And it doesn't matter what type of model you are--the option to move on to a better agency is always an alternative as long as you go about it the right way.

Once you've built a great portfolio and decide that you're ready to seek representation in a bigger market (keep in mind that 9 times out of 10, you'll have to relocate) then you can begin submitting your photos to bigger agencies in larger markets.

While most of these top agencies prefer models with little to no experience, that doesn't mean they'll turn down a model who already have an awesome portfolio and experience. That may work in your favor and get you signed in a larger market. Just make sure that you pursue this path closer to the time that your contract with your current agent expires. Avoid breaching a contract at all costs.

For those of you who would rather head straight to the top, go ahead. There is nothing stopping you other than yourself (and maybe your parents). Exhaust all possibilities and submit yourself to every agency and attend every casting call the larger market has to offer.

But if you come up empty-handed, then know that going back to a smaller market doesn't make you any less of a model. Never count the smaller agencies out. They may be just the stepping stone you need to reach out for bigger and better opportunities down the line. Patience is key and so is hard work and determination.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Playing it Safe

I can't stress enough how important it is to have an escort or friend along when going to a shoot. If you're underage, then obviously you'll need to have a parent or guardian present but this isn't always the case if you're older and/or freelancing.

As I've stated in a previous post, networking or corresponding with any photographer for shoots, tfps/tfcds is a necessary building block for your portfolio and career, but until you meet that person, he/she is a stranger.

It's always best to play it safe and arrange to meet with the photographer in person BEFORE you shoot together. Everyone has busy schedules and there will be times when this is not an option but I've found that making contact with a photographer beforehand really makes things go a lot smoother.

Get to know him/her and ask to look at past work and use that time to ask any questions, as well as to let the photographer know what you will and will not do and what your comfort zones are. You should always meet in a public setting, like a Starbucks or other cafe/restaurant type of setting (never meet a photographer in his/her house unless you have someone with you, but even then you should insist on meeting in a public place).

This will serve you especially well if you can't bring someone with you to the meeting. Ask if the shoot will be indoors, outdoors or a bit of both. If you'll be shooting in a studio, ask where the location of the studio is. It could be in a building with other studios or it could be in the photographer's house.

When it comes time for the actual shoot, have someone with you for safety's sake. When it comes to freelancing or working with people not booked by your agent, there is ample room for something bad to happen. I highly suggest bringing an escort with you if you are under 21...or any age for that matter, but photographers with bad intentions tend to prey on younger, more naive girls under 21.

If you are going alone, let someone close to you (parent, sibling boyfriend/girlfriend, best friend) know the exact address or location of where you'll be at, as well as the name of the photographer and the photographer's contact information.

Be sure to mention to the photographer ahead of time that you will be bringing someone along with you. Do not ask if they allow escorts, simply say in casual conversation that you will be bringing someone and see how they react. If the photographer has no problem with it, then you're good to go. But if he/she hesitates or tries to assure you that you don't need to bring anyone, be cautious.

Sometimes photographers have their own people present at the shoot, like a makeup artist or assistant and that's fine but even then, most won't have a problem with you having an escort. The best photographers encourage models to bring an extra person along. This also helps the shoot because having an extra set of hands makes things go a lot easier. So prepare your escort/companion by telling them they may be doing some hands on work, but nothing physically demanding.

If you are bringing a boyfriend or girlfriend, please be sure that they are not the jealous type who will be more of a distraction than an asset on a shoot. Sit him/her down and explain the concept of the shoot, the outfits you'll be wearing and what he/she should expect.

No matter who you bring along, make sure it is someone you trust. There is no such thing as being too careful. It's always better to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. That's just the times we live in today, unfortunately.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Comp/Zed Cards


In addition to a portfolio, many models also have comp cards, also known as zed cards. These act as your business or calling card and are widely used by all aspects of the modeling industry, especially high fashion models.

In a nutshell, a comp card consists of:

- headshot and

- 3 to 4 of your best shots from your portfolio

- name

basic stats: height, weight, age (sometimes), and your measurements

- website (if you're a freelance model)

- email/phone number

Comp cards serve as excellent marketing tools to get models noticed and booked for jobs.

They are normally printed on card stock or other high grade paper so that they aren't flimsy or bend easily. Agencies tend to display their models' comp cards in the office for easy access to potential clients to see the various people the agency represents. These cards can also be sent out to photographers, casting directors, and anyone else in the industry who may be in need of models.

The type of photos you put on your comp card should represent the type of work you do, whether it's fashion, commercial/print, swimsuit, parts modeling, etc. Because you have a small amount of pictures that you can fit on the comp card, only include your best photos. While keeping the theme of your photos consistent, you also need to show your versatility.

Basically, all the photos should show different poses, different types of outfits and must be the highest quality. Include images where you are smiling and when you aren't. Anytime a client or photographer is looking to hire a model, you want to show them everything you're capable of all on one comp card. This may be easier said than done but it is possible.

There is no set format that you need to make for your comp card. Some are one-sided, others have photos and info on both sides. You can follow the template like the comp card image associated with this post or you can have one main image on the front and the rest on the back. The possibilities for this are endless so play around with different layouts until you find one that you're happy with.

If you're wondering if you even need a comp card, the answer varies. If you already have an agent and the topic hasn't been brought up, then don't worry about it. Chances are your agent is already marketing you using your headshot, portfolio, etc.

Comp cards are not mandatory in the modeling field so don't feel like you're doing something wrong if you don't have one. If your agent has advised you to get one, then ask them to guide you through the process so that it meets the agency's standards.

If you're freelancing or don't have agency representation, then putting together a comp card will definitely work in your favor. Some modeling agencies even ask for new models to submit comp cards if they have them. As long as you have a handful of good shots, you can throw together a comp card using programs such as Photoshop or at a printing place like FedEx Office. Prices vary and the more comp cards you print, the higher the price may be.

With people using digital files and at-home printing software, you can even design and print your own comp cards at home. FedEx Office and places like OfficeMax have all the supplies you need. Of course you should only pursue this option if you are really computer savvy or know someone who is. Most printing places have special discounts so there are a number of ways you can get a comp card put together to fit your budget.

There are also online printing labs that specialize in comp cards for models and actors. A few of these include:

http://www.compcard.com/

http://www.compcardexpress.com/

https://www.photoscanonline.com/

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Music Video Modeling Revisited


Once again, this particular topic is for those who are 18+.

I made a post a while back about getting into music videos as a video girl or model. I figured it was time to update my information and provide a resource that I hadn't thought to bring up in my past post, "The Video Girl, The Video Vixen and the Video Ho."

There are three parts a woman can play when it comes to music videos:

1) Lead Girl
2) Background Extra
3) Dancer

The Lead Girl is usually a model and/or actress who is featured in the video, mostly playing opposite the music artist. She is sexy, confident and normally doesn't have to shake her junk. Essentially, she is the star of the video, next to the music artist, of course. These models/actresses are paid the highest among the three roles and they are usually represented by an agency that makes sure their talent is treated with the utmost respect on set.

The Background Extra is the easiest role to get and involves being in a sea of other background extras, dancing to the song and giving life to the video. The number of extras depends on the concept of the shoot and how many people the casting director can get, but the number normally falls between 50-100 extras. How else do you think they make a club look full?

Oftentimes, there will be the opportunity for some extras to get cameos in the video, where the camera will focus on one or a small group of girls dancing. Many young ladies fall over themselves just to be in such a shot but the chances of it happening vary greatly. There may be a video you're an extra in, where you can actually see yourself and other times you may not appear once.

Being an extra in a music video doesn't guarantee you'll appear in the final version. Background extras typically don't get paid at all, but there are some instances where you may be paid a flat fee like $50-150 for 8 hours or more of work.

The dancer is a great role for those of you who enjoy dancing and are good at it. Having a dance background or being able to learn and do choreography is also helpful. Sometimes casting directors will find specific dancers to feature in the video while casting for extras or they'll hire professional dancers. If you want to bump up to a more visible position in a music video, when you attend the casting call, be sure to pull off your best moves and attitude and you may be cast for a slightly bigger role than that of a regular background extra.

Ethnicity Models is the agency responsible for supplying the most beautiful and exotic models and actresses that you see in music videos today--namely the rap and hip hop videos. If you're interested in trying your luck, you can visit the website: www.ethnicitymodels.com. They offer the chance to be included in their vast database or you can pay a membership fee to have your online portfolio seen by their best clients.

While this company isn't a scam (although it does employ some of the same scam-like tactics I've covered before, the company's long list of proven clients and track record prove it is legit and reputable), it does charge a $20 application fee to cover its expenses to handle its huge load of submissions so it's up to you to decide if it's worth paying.

If Ethnicity Models thinks you have a marketable look, they'll allow you to post your photos on their site and contact you with work. That part operates like a casting agency and being allowed on the database does not mean that Ethnicity Models is your agent. They state that if they like your look and think you can be an asset to them, there are extra steps you'll need to take to have Ethnicity Models as your legit agent. So keep that in mind.

So far this is the best way I have seen to try and break into the music video modeling industry without having to sleep your way to the top--and believe me, that is still the number one way that many young ladies pursue the chance to appear in a video.

There's nothing wrong with wanting to appear in a music video, even if it's only to shake your money maker but if you're serious about becoming the next Melyssa Ford or K.D., then there are a few more steps to take and it's up to you to find the right venues and networking opportunities to take advantage of this opportunity.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Parts Modeling


If you've ever been complimented on how lovely your hands are or how cute your tootsies are (that's toes/feet in case you're not following...lol), then you may be able to use that to your advantage by being a body parts model. No, I'm serious!

Ever notice the ads where all you see is the person's hand, foot or even their ears or neck? That is the prime example of parts modeling. Not all models have great hands, fingers or toes and in many cases, parts models are used almost as body doubles to make sure that the product looks good.

This relates to gigs that have to do with jewelry, footwear, watches, etc. and can include legs, arms and any other part of the body that needs to be specifically shot without the need for the model's face.

While it's rare, there are modeling agencies that have a specialized division of parts models on their roster. Parts Models is actually a very well-known agency that only specializes in representing models for body parts. If this sounds like something you wouldn't mind giving a try (hey, it's still technically modeling and you still get a fat paycheck!) you can go to the agency's website: www.partsmodels.com.

Parts modeling includes high fashion, commercial and editorial work so this is one of the few parts of the modeling industry that welcomes all types of models. Of course that doesn't mean that they'll take just anyone. Sure we all have the same appendages, but to be a parts model, you've got to have the following:

- Clear, smooth skin without blemishes or discoloration.

- Clean and neatly trimmed nails/toenails and cuticles.

- No unsightly hair, wrinkles or funky pores.

- No tattoos or crazy piercings.

- No visible skin damage, such as sunburns, age spots, etc.

Not only do you have to meet the general requirements listed above, but you have to learn how to pose, too. There is an elegant art to showing off a hand draped in glamorous rings or kicking up your feet to show off a stunning pair of heels. What's appealing about a hand that's just flopped over on a table?

This goes for all body parts that are modeled. A parts model needs to know how to gracefully and skillfully pose his/her body part in ways that is both natural and creative, while obviously showcasing the product.

Parts modeling is generally open in terms of ethnicities and ages, although the Parts Models Agency only signs models who are 18+. To go about becoming a parts model, you would still follow the same steps as a regular model, except apply to agencies that either specialize in parts modeling or have a parts modeling division.

You'll still develop a portfolio and/or comp card that your agent will be able to submit to potential clients. And you don't have to just focus on one body part. If you've got great legs, feet and hands, then by all means, let your agent know and that will hopefully result in more work for you!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Networking


This post will mostly be helpful for models who are doing more freelance work and are over 18.

Networking is key in building not only a good name for yourself but for also getting more opportunities for paying gigs, whether it's with a photographer or with a client.

If you do a shoot with a photographer or work a gig for a client and all goes well, that is a definite plus for you and a green light to make as many connections as you can. When you freelance, you are your own agent and you need to represent yourself in the best light. Being professional and carrying yourself with class and respect, as well as producing great images, will make a client remember you and want to come back to you again in the future.

During breaks on the shoot, talk to the client or photographer--if they are in the mood to make casual conversation. Show them your personality and if they ask you about yourself, use that as an opportunity to showcase the type of work you do or any other fun facts that you think they should know about you. You never want to be the model who just came to the shoot, didn't talk to anyone and then left afterwards. Linger without being a distraction after the job is done.

Collecting business cards will be a talent you'll have to learn. Email your contacts soon as you get home or get some down time. Don't wait too long because you want them to remember you instantly. Keep the email brief and mention that you had a good time and were glad to work with them. Also be sure to throw in that if they have any other projects in the future, that you are always ready and willing to work with them again.

This is key in building a good reputation for yourself. Your correspondence with the key players (photographer, casting director, the person in charge of the gig, etc.) is vital in making sure that they not only remember you but that they will be able to refer you to their contacts as well. This results in more opportunities for gigs.

For example, my most recent shoot was with a hip-hop group out of Oakland. I was the model for their CD insert and interestingly enough, there was supposed to be another model at the shoot (I had arrived 30 minutes early and didn't know about the other model until the rest of the group had arrived). She was extremely late and didn't answer her phone. When she finally did, she explained that she was still in the shower and still a good two hour drive from where we were.

Needless to say, she was told her services were no longer needed and that left me as their sole model. I automatically showed them my genuine (not fake) enthusiasm and used that opportunity to showcase my skills, seeing as how the model element of the shoot was now in my hands. The fact that I was there early, set up my outfits right away and was ready and eager to work made the shoot go very smoothly and they were all impressed by my professionalism and ability to work with the group members, who had never shot with a model before.

This allowed me to work very closely with the group and I spent my downtime in between outfit changes talking to the group's manager, who was also present on set. He made sure to give me his business card and I immediately emailed him, thanking him for his time and to keep me in mind. He responded right away with great compliments about my professionalism and that he would keep in touch, since he had a number of artists on his label who always needed models. Hence, my job security in the future with that particular client.

Make your networking work for you. Be sure to keep in contact with people you've had positive experiences with who you wouldn't mind working with again. And make sure that they feel the same way. Even if you aren't completely sure how they feel about you (although it should be pretty obvious depending on the vibe during the shoot), be sure to keep your name out there. Build up your network and develop those top clients who you know will be more than willing to hire you on again and will gladly submit you for other gigs. Who knows where one contact and email will get you.

Sky's the limit.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

What You Should Have in Your Portfolio


Your portfolio is your most important asset. It represents you and the type of work you do. It may seem as simple as putting together some pictures into a book but there are a few key things to keep in mind.

If you're a newbie and haven't done a photo shoot before, you don't have to worry about that hurting your chances if you're looking for an agent to sign with. They love to sign undiscovered talent and will set you up with shoots for your portfolio right away.

If you are already modeling, then this post will most likely be more helpful to you but newer models can definitely take note as well!

The first thing your portfolio must do is reflect the type of work that you fit. For now, forget my whole thing about defeating stereotypes and requirements. In this particular case, only include images in your professional portfolio that you meet the requirements for. If you have an agent already, this will help them immediately submit you for bookings that are appropriate.

You do your agent no favor by being a 5'5" commercial/print model who only has high fashion images in your portfolio. That doesn't mean you can't do pictures that are outside of your field in the industry, because by all means you can, but when it comes to your agent and being considered for work, keep it to the themes your agency is representing you for.

If you are a commercial/print model, then your portfolio should contain that type of theme throughout. This goes for all parts of the industry. Of course there's no harm in including a little variety but make sure to communicate with your agent and get all of the photos you decide to put in your portfolio approved by your agent first.

In the age of online technology, many agencies now post online portfolios instead of having hard copies but you may still be required to have a portfolio book with printed hard copies of your images. This will definitely be the case for high fashion models. The ideal size for printing out your images is no bigger than 8"x 10". And make sure that you get a good quality, sturdy portfolio book or case that accomodates the size of your photos without wrinkling or tearing them.

Include no more than 20 photos. If you can, try to limit it to 15 photos. You never want to overwhelm the client with too many photos, unless your images are all stunning. Include both color and black and white images. If 15-20 photos sounds like it wouldn't be enough, keep in mind that over time models always update their portfolios with new shots so it's not like you'd be showing clients the same 15-20 pictures.

The most important thing to remember when it comes to your portfolio is to only include the BEST photos of you. EVERY SINGLE IMAGE IN YOUR PORTFOLIO SHOULD MAKE THE VIEWER GO "WOW"! Not, "okay", "cute", "nice", but "WOW". Each turn of the page should make them want to see more and ultimately, book you for their gig. Put your best photos on the right side of the portfolio book and the really good photos on the left side. This will allow them to catch your best images first and make them want to keep going through your book.

Never put an image in your portfolio that you have any doubts about. You need to be proud of your work and show your client and agent that you have what it takes to get the job done and that you are the one they should choose.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Modeling Scouts


Nothing seems more exciting than being randomly approached by a model scout who tells you that you've got the looks to make it big. Getting scouted can be a great boost to your ego, but after the initial shock of possibly "getting discovered" wears off, take everything with a grain of salt until you see the bigger picture.

When talking to someone who claims they are a model scout, be polite and answer any questions they ask, but be sure to not give out any personal info like your home address or your phone number.

 Legit modeling scouts will tell you their little spiel (speech) and give you their business card with instructions on how to go about being represented by the agency. They will never ask you for your personal information when they meet you.

Modeling scouts get paid on commission, which means that they make money only when the people they've scouted sign up with the company. So keep that in mind. You may have the looks but chances are that he/she has been giving the same lines and business cards out to anyone who is remotely attractive and eager to break into the modeling business.

Top agencies such as FORD, BMG, Elite, etc. do have model scouts but so do a lot of other wannabe modeling agencies. Make sure to do your homework and read the post below because the types of modeling organizations I talk about in Modeling & Casting Companies: What to Avoid also have their own scouts and if that is what you come face to face with, walk away and try not to be too disappointed.

It's fun to get scouted by someone but it's even better when you know that the agency you're about to meet with is legit and will work in your favor and not in favor of getting your money.

Modeling & Casting Companies: What to Avoid

The first thing you'll need to know and must always remember is that it is illegal--AGAINST THE LAW--for any modeling or talent agency to charge potential models and talent an upfront fee.

No matter what any "modeling scout" tells you, if their company asks for any money upfront in order to represent you, they are not a legit agency and are most likely going to rip you off.

**Keep in mind that I am not talking about sites such as One Model Place or Model Mayhem. These sites are fairly legit and do not force you to pay a fee to have your photos on their site. 

While the free accounts may be more limited, it is still available nonetheless. The types of operations I'm talking about DEMAND that you pay in order to have any affiliation with their site or to use their services.**

Because it is against the law to charge upfront fees, this helps to distinguish the real agencies from the fake ones. But at the same time, these fake companies have learned some new tricks that you should be aware of so you don't fall into the trap.

The Online Modeling/Portfolio Sites

There are companies that may appear as a modeling agency but do not actually represent models or take a commission from your bookings, as legit agencies do. These organizations charge upfront fees not to "represent" you but to allow you to put up an online portfolio with a profile that they manage and maintain.

This type of operation isn't exactly a scam because they are following the law (they are free to charge people for their services because they are not passing themselves off as a modeling agency). The website will usually have some type of statement saying that they are not a modeling agency somewhere on their site so be sure to look for it.

My opinion on this type of operation is to avoid it at all costs. There are too many free modeling related sites that allow you to post your photos and info free of charge. It is a waste of your time and money to invest in what they call a "membership", when it still doesn't guarantee you work and on top of that, you still will be a "model" on the site with no agency representation.

So that won't help your modeling career at all, with the exception of networking but that can be done a number of different ways that would be at no cost to you. If you receive an email or get "scouted" and this is the type of website you get led to, politely decline the offer.

The Unlimited Casting Sites

This type of operation works in very much the same way as the one I described above. In addition to paying a "membership" fee and having your photos on their site, this type of modeling operation provides you with hundreds of castings for models. You get a daily email with lists of links to submit your photos for consideration for projects ranging from runway shows to print jobs.

These castings are legit most times, however, having access to a bunch of casting jobs doesn't mean that you will get the ones you submit to. That's all just a matter of chance. And while you wait around for a callback, your money is feeding the company. Avoid this type of modeling website, too. Having a good, legit agent also means getting castings, but the difference is that the castings will be given to you because the client has seen your portfolio and has contacted your agent to specifically choose you for consideration.

The type of casting operation I'm talking about get castings anonymously and sends them out to everyone on their mailing list, whether they fit the criteria or not. So you don't have that established agent/client relationship. Just one stranger to another saying, "Hey, I need girls or guys for this project."

Casting companies do exist but they don't operate by making you sign up for a membership. Legit casting agencies--not to be confused with a modeling agency, the two are different--allow you to walk in, sign up for free, post your photos online (sometimes they may charge you a small fee to post additional pictures) and email you with the castings they get. Casting agencies welcome models and talent that have agency representation as well as those who don't, so this is a great way to begin getting work that pays well without having to worry about having an agent.

The bottom line: anytime you're approached or come across a modeling organization that charges you fees or require that you pay for a membership to use their services, it is not a legit modeling agency and should be avoided at all costs.

**Some legit casting agencies now charge a small fee to submit for certain bookings but this is a better alternative than spending $50-100+ a year to be a "member" of a site that more than likely has no contacts or connections with the people who are casting. Legit casting agencies do.**

Friday, April 6, 2007

Fit Modeling


One great way to make good money and not have to worry about having "model looks" is fit modeling. The key to this type of modeling involves your size. Clothing manufacturers don't use supermodels to fit the garments on--that's all for the runway!

When it comes to everyday clothing lines such as Old Navy, Banana Republic, GAP and many others, they need real bodies to put their designs on. Fit models act as the real life dummy (no pun intended) who showcases the latest styles and threads in front of the company's head honchos and focus groups to see if they approve of the material, cut, style, colors and other tedious factors. There are both male and female fit models. What does that mean exactly?

A fit model reporting for duty will arrive at the client's office, where they'll be taken to a room filled with different garments. Their contact person at the company will assign the fit model a number of outfits to try on. For each outfit tried on, the fit model will walk out and stand in front of either one or more people, who look over the fit, style and size. They then discuss amongst themselves if changes need to be made, offer suggestions or approve the garments worn.

During this time the model just stands there and may be instructed to turn around, sit down, walk and/or perform other actions to show how the clothing looks on a moving figure. The model is essentially a live mannequin that makes it easier for the designers to see exactly how their fabrics fit on a real person.

The process is then repeated, with the fit model changing in and out of the designated outfits and showing how they fit to the designers. After the last outfit has been shown, the job is done and the fit model is free to go.

When it comes to fit modeling, they don't care about bone structure or how you'll photograph. Fit modeling is all about your height and measurements. But that's not to say that they'll only accept one body type or measurements. Clothing manufacturers and designers need to make clothes that fit all people from children, to teens and adults so there are usually specific sizes that these companies will request. If you fit, you're in! Most companies state that potential fit models should be either exactly the measurements/sizes they have listed in the casting call or at least within a half inch (larger or smaller).

To better illustrate this concept, below is info from actual casting calls for fit models:

MALE FIT MODEL CASTING CALL SAMPLE:

We are a clothing manufacturer in the East Bay, and we are looking for a Men's fit model. Work is generally during the day, about 1 hour, once or twice a month (FLEXIBLE SCHEDULE).

Requirements: Be within 1/2" (plus or minus) of measurements we need, stable weight, arrive to all appointments on time.

Measurements we need:

Height: 5'10"-5'11 1/2"
Chest: 44"
Waist: 38" (can be smaller)
Hip: 44"
Inseam (to floor): 33"
Shirt Size: Large or 16 1/2 -- 17; 36-37

FEMALE FIT MODEL CASTING CALL SAMPLE:

Height: 5'5"- 5'7"
Chest: 47" (around the bust area just across nipples)
Waist: 39" (around the mid section just above the navel)
Low Hip: 49" (around the largest part of the bottom)
Age: 18-50 

As you can see, the measurements for the female fit model are much larger than your traditional 0-2 dress size, 34-24-34 standard. That's the beauty of fit modeling: clothing manufacturers make garments for a variety of sizes, including plus sizes, which means this type of modeling can be open to a much larger pool of people, compared to fashion, runway, editorial and even print modeling requirements.

Companies post their casting calls differently. Some may be more detailed, while others might just list the dress size, height and age they need. As long as you provide the exact information each casting all asks for, you'll be fine. BTW: if you don't know certain measurements DO NOT GUESS WHEN SUBMITTING YOUR INFORMATION! Play it safe by getting your measurements done professionally by a tailor or seamstress and then submitting to the casting once you have those numbers.

While this type of modeling is less glamorous and doesn't involve getting your pictures taken professionally, it can become a stable gig and many of these companies pay as much as $125/hour. Many fit models get used often by companies and can even be hired on as a permanent position. The average frequency a fit model can expect to work once they find a company that likes them is 1-2 days a week or as needed. Some fit models only work 1-2 times a month. The duration and frequency depend solely on the actual company, how often they manufacture new garments, etc.

The main thing a fit model needs to keep in mind, however, is that you must maintain your weight and measurements at all times. If you gain an inch or two to your frame, that could automatically put you out of the running. But don't feel like you need to starve yourself or do anything crucial. Fit modeling jobs are so common that you can even find this position advertised in newspapers.

Fit modeling can be a great side gig with the potential to make a great income and is nothing to be looked down upon. If you haven't had any luck signing with an agency or want to start off slow, fit modeling will always have a place for both girls and guys of every shape and size--don't forget, these companies need plus-size and petite models, too!