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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Monday, October 29, 2007

Models are Actors, Too

Modeling is very similar to acting at times. As a model it is common for you to step outside of yourself and take on a different persona to match whatever theme is involved with your gig. Models need to have the ability to tap into their emotions and project the right attitude and presence to sell the product, idea, concept, clothes, etc.

For example, a model may have to pose with another model of the opposite sex and have to convey the image of two long lost lovers--even though he/she may have just met their modeling partner a few minutes ago on-set.

But once the two step out in front of that camera, the goal is to convince anyone who sees the photo that these models are madly in love. Or you may be asked to do a group shot with other models that you may never met in your life but you'll all have to act as if you've been friends forever. The possibilities for these scenarios is endless and if you can manage to fine tune your acting abilities to suit each concept, the better off you'll be.

That's not to say you've got to go to acting classes and aim for an Oscar, however. But you do have to be in touch with your emotions. The more expressions a model can master, the better. Not all of your shoots will involve looking happy and smiling or being sexy and not smiling. A good model has range and depth to their modeling. The worst thing you can do is get comfortable with just a few expressions.

Always strive to push yourself further. Get in front of a mirror and practice, practice, practice! From the sexy pout or a genuine smile or laugh, to crying and despair, these are looks that a model should be able to do in front of the camera without thinking. These emotions should be second nature to any model, male or female.

If you want to really hone your acting skills when it comes to modeling you can try the following exercise to help you get into the swing of things:

What you'll need: a mirror, a friend, a stopwatch.

-- Stand in front of the mirror and have your friend stand off to the side so that you only see yourself and don't have any distractions in the background.

-- Your friend should be holding the stopwatch.

-- When your friend starts the stopwatch, they will tell you "Pose!" and go into your first facial expression--it can be anything but only pose your face, keep your body relaxed.

-- After 30 seconds, your friend will say "Pose!" again and then immediately switch to a different facial expression. While posing, you should have your next facial expression ready in your mind. If you hesitate and don't change your pose in time, your friend will stop the stopwatch and you'll have to start over.

-- Repeat this process for 2-3 minutes and see how many different types of facial expressions you can do. To make things harder, see how many different expressions you can do every 10-15 seconds.

Your friend should only speak to you to say "Pose!" each time 30 seconds passes. They should not talk to you or tell you how much longer you have till your next change in expression. This will keep you constantly guessing and train you to think quickly. To make it more challenging, instead of saying "Pose!," your friend can say different types of expressions or emotions that you have to do, for example "Sadness," "Anger," "Confusion," etc.

The key here is to keep your cool and stay in the moment. If you laugh or get distracted, start over. With enough practice, you should be able to throw any expression on your face without a second thought. This exercise helps you think fast and allows you to be creative without overanalyzing everything, which many models have a habit of doing.

To take things up a notch, you can do this same exercise and include posing your body. It's best to do 2-3 minutes of various facial expression exercises and then 4-5 minutes of face and body poses. For the face and body poses, instead of changing every 30 seconds, you can change your pose every minute or however you choose to break things up.

While you can do this exercise by yourself, it works much better with a friend that way you won't have any clue as to when your pose will change. And you shouldn't be shy about doing this type of thing in front of someone else, after all you are a model and models are not shy!

The more you are able to do with your face and your body language, the more useful you will be to a photographer, client, etc. People often refer to me as a chameleon and I think that is a great compliment. You have to be able to change and morph into whatever person the client needs. Don't limit yourself by sticking to what you know and what makes you feel comfortable.

Modeling is about taking risks and it's always a gamble...that's part of the territory. If you're always playing it safe when it comes to your images, your poses and your expressions, chances are you won't get to move much further past the work you're already doing. A model's career should strive to continuously grow, change and move towards bigger and better opportunities. Whenever you take on a shoot, be sure to evaulate the idea, theme or concept and really throw yourself into it, whether the shoot is simple or complex.

Stretch your imagination and see how far you can go by experimenting with different poses and expressions. You may surprise yourself.

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