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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Model Aliases

You don't have to have a model alias (a name that is different from your legal name given to you at birth). Models have an alias for different reasons: to distinguish their modeling career from their regular life, to keep their legal name secret from the public when it comes to stalkers, the press, etc.

Some people call these model aliases "stage names," but that term is mostly used by those who work in the adult entertainment industry (aka: strippers and porn stars) so if you don't want people thinking that's the industry you're in, it's much safer to just say you have a "model alias."

When creating a model alias, try not to be too creative. "White Dove" and "Mandy Bubbles" aren't very smart or attractive model aliases. You can mix and match your real first name with a different last name or whatever else inspires you.

 But make sure it is appropriate and something that won't make a client raise his/her eyebrows. Many models and other celebrities use their first and middle name as their alias and leave out their last name. Angelina Jolie is a prime example.

I use a model alias although it isn't a made-up name. Because I do a lot of other work in the media, from hosting to writing and producing, I like to keep the two worlds separate. When you google my legal name and my model alias, different results pop up and that's how I like to keep it. It can be confusing for someone who wants to hire me for a broadcast project to look me up online and come up with all my modeling stuff that has nothing to do with what they want to book me for.

If you decide to use a model alias, there won't be too many issues you'll have to deal with, with the exception of model release forms and other types of documented paperwork. A model alias is one that is supposed to identify you but at the same time, when it comes to paperwork that requires your signature, it's always best to use your legal name.

This will keep someone from claiming that you are misrepresenting yourself. Unless you are famous and a publicly-known type of model, it's highly unlikely that anyone will recognize your model alias...they will more than likely assume that to be your legal name, which can lead to confusion.

The best way to continue using your model alias without problems--just short of changing your legal name--is to remind yourself to sign any piece of paper, form, invoice, etc. with your legal name and list your model alias as well. If the client has booked you and only knows you by your alias, explain to them that you are signing using your legal name and find somewhere on the paper to squeeze in your alias name.

This may be a little too much work for signing a paper but I've found it better to cover all your bases. I've had some clients get confused when they see a different last name other than "Denise." When it comes to getting paid, the last thing you want is for the client or the people doing the payroll to be unsure as to which name is the real one needed to make the payment.

This situation is more likely with models operating freelance without an agent. When you do sign with an agency for representation, more times than not, they will go with your legal name...model aliases usually are not welcome, unless the agency comes up with it initially. If you have an agent and would like to go about using an alias, that is something to talk to your agent about. There are many reasons why they may or may not agree.

It's great to have a model alias to represent your model persona but at the same time, when it comes to paperwork and legalities, standing by your legal name will avoid confusion and any other issues that may arise.


pinup_girl said...

Very informative. I never knew Angelina Jolie goes by her first and middle name.

McLaughlin-Barlow said...

This is a great blog.

Can we have more on dealing with agents/bookers?