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, November 26, 2007

Modeling and Weight

One of the first things I hear potential models ask is what the weight requirement for modeling is. Sometimes that is the main issue they worry about when it comes to pursuing modeling. Let me tell you right now that weight should NOT be one of those concerns.

Obviously, the height requirement reigns supreme when measuring up to the modeling standards sought out by agencies. If you meet the height requirements--whether it's for fashion and runway or commercial/print--that is the first step towards starting on the path to modeling.

How much you weigh shouldn't be your biggest fear. It is rare that anyone can look at someone and say, "Oh, my gosh, he/she looks like they are 5 pounds over our weight requirement!" It just isn't realistic. If you look at many modeling agency websites, they clearly list the age and height requirements--rarely, if at all do they list any weight restrictions.

The general rule of thumb when it comes to weight is that for models who are 5'8" and taller, the weight range should be somewhere between 105-125 lbs. Can you be a few pounds under or over? Sure, you can! Weight is one of the last things an agency considers.

However, the exception to this rule is in fashion/runway modeling. Because that part of the modeling industry is so size specific in regards to clothes and sample sizes, then yes weight will play a part. It is no secret that agencies have told their models to slim down. However, there are so many other things to pay attention to when you are starting out. Plus-size models also have to meet specific weight requirements.

Commercial/print is less likely to be stringent on the weight factor. So depending on which area you are looking to pursue, approach the weight factor accordingly. Even if you are a fashion/runway model hopeful, stressing about your weight is not going to give you the clear mind you need to get an agent.

Instead, your stress and dieting and worry will more than likely backfire on you--even if you were to get signed, you'll be so self-conscious about your body that you'll constantly be pushing yourself and your health/weight to the limit in order to please your agent. It should never come down to that, no matter what anyone tells you. I'm sure you've all heard enough horror stories of models dropping dead just to make it and honestly, as much as I love this industry and what I do, the day it puts my health in jeopardy is the day that I will walk away from it all.

Preserve your peace of mind and begin your search for an agent when you are completely comfortable with whatever number shows up when you step on the scale.

If your weight bothers you that much or if you are on the heavier side, just know that an agency may point that out. That is what critiques are for. However, it isn't worth your sanity to stress about your weight before even meeting with any agencies. Don't get yourself worked up before you even know what you should be working on.

Instead of worrying about weight requirements and dieting to slim down, seek out casting calls or send in pictures as you are and see what feedback you get. In the meantime, take care of your body and if all else fails, work with what you have. You'd be surprised how much weight doesn't become an issue when the person carries it well and does not let it affect them.

Don't compare yourself to other models or try to strive for their weight or size. Chances are it's going to be physically impossible to have the same body as someone else. Focus on whether you have the skills it takes to be a great model, not how many pounds you need to shed in order to impress an agency. That may be easier said than done, but the sooner you are able to focus on more important things and not solely your weight, the better your spirits will be, as well as your chances for successfully snagging an agent.

As long as you fall somewhere within the weight range I listed above, you should be fine. Do not obsess over this, please. Many people look nothing like what they weigh. Chances are your "extra" pounds don't even show anywhere on your body. We are our own worst critics after all so give yourself a break. Do not let a number dictate what you should change about yourself just to make it in this industry. More than likely, it's all in your head.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Show Some Support for Amber!

It has been a dream to talk to the many young ladies who have emailed me in regards to my blog. I enjoy getting to know everyone and seeing where their modeling careers have taken them, as well as knowing that in some small way, I have helped empower them to follow their dreams.

Amber is one of those such girls. She is well on her way to getting the exposure she needs to make it in the industry. She has recently made it to the final rounds of the Seventeen Reader Model Contest! Out of thousands of model hopefuls, Amber is one of 17 lucky gals competing to win a chance at a $10,000 modeling contract with FORD Models (my agency, woot!) as well as an editorial shoot/spread in Seventeen Magazine! How cool is that?!

To view Amber's personal profile

Go HERE to vote for Amber! Be sure to select her name from the drop down list of contestants.

Amber is not just naturally beautiful, she's a smart girl with her head on straight. She believes in herself and carries herself with a positive energy, plus she is very into school and getting her education together. It is because of how cool Amber is that I am hoping that everyone takes a chance to vote for her. :)

I'm always ready and willing to help anyone in any way I can and I am honored to be able to promote Amber on my blog. Those who vote are also entered into a drawing to win a Francesca dress from Single. You can vote once a day so vote often!

Good luck Amber!!!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

My Latest Shoot for Tad Gear

I had a shoot last night that was definitely out of the norm for me, but it was very fun. I was one of three models helping promote a company called Tad Gear. We weren't told much about the company itself except that they deal with military gear and supplies. The company wanted to begin promoting more and needed models to give them that special edge.

The shoot took place in San Francisco around 7:30pm. The third model never showed so the photographer had to scramble for a replacement and luckily he was able to find someone last minute. After hair and makeup, we got into our military gear. I got to showcase a Vietnam War-era uniform.

Each of us had real weapons (not loaded of course!). The American flag was hung in the background and we stood on soapboxes to give us the height. The shoot went really fast. We kept it pretty simple: standing side to side next to each other and looking off in the distance and saluting.

After that set of shoots, we each got to do another look. This next set was for the company's calendar, which is going to be sold in stores nationwide, as well as worldwide, depending on how much distribution Tad Gear can get. Instead of sporting military garb, we switched it up for a sexier shoot...this is for a calendar, after all! For me, the photographer and art director decided to dress me up as a sexy snowboarder. Sweet! They supplied the parka, boots, sports bra top and snowboard...I supplied the hot pants.

They attached the snowboard to my boots and had a wind fan blowing on me--it felt so good, considering how hot it can get in front of the bright lights. I have never snowboarded a day in my life but lucky that experience wasn't needed. The art director gave me simple directions and we did a range of looks, from sexy/sporty, to even having me growl like a bear to get a bunch of different facial expressions. Talk about being fierce! LOL.

It was funny because prior to shooting the snowboard outfit, the photographer and art director were explaining that the look for this shoot wasn't going to involve a serious expression like the military uniform shot. As soon as they said they needed a sexy look, I gave them one as an example and they went wild! It's a good thing that I'm a Victoria's Secret freak--the catalogues are a great reference for sexy expressions! :)

In order to really get me in the mood, I pretended I was on the set of the Victoria's Secret holiday catalogue shoot. That definitely helped me get into the sexy mode. It was a bit of a challenge since I did have to worry about not only looking sexy, but posing my body in a way that was flattering, yet looked like the actions of someone snowboarding. We played around with a couple of different things and it was definitely a workout for me!

Just when I thought I was getting the hang of being attached to the snowboard, my clumsy behind fell back and onto the backdrop! I was so embarassed but I wasn't hurt and I didn't completely destroy the set. I couldn't believe I fell down! One minute I was listening to the photographer's directions about posing and the next thing I knew, I started to tilt back and just when I thought I could catch my balance--down I went!

The crew was so worried that I was hurt, but I was laughing my head off! Hey, if you can't laugh at yourself, what can you do? It took a few minutes to get me upright since the board weighed me down a lot but I got right back up and went right back to being sexy!

When I was done, I was told I could keep the top so I removed the parka and boots and gave them back to the art director. As I turned around to get my stuff, the art director shouted out that he loved the curves of my back and wanted to do another quick shoot. Who knew that walking away and showcasing my backside could inspire another outfit! LOL.

They had me get back on top of the soapbox, but without the snowboard and had me turn my back to the camera. They gave me a military hunting knife, which I held in my right hand and put behind my back, while I looked over my shoulder at the camera. I know they are definitely going to come out hot!

Thankfully, the crew and photographer I worked with were very professional about paying me as well as promising to give me copies of all the images. In addition to all that, when the Tad Gear calendar comes out, I'll get free copies to keep. Finally, I get some tearsheets! Yes! The photographer also told me that if I ever needed the large, high resolution images for my book, all I had to do was ask and they would send it right over.

After the many times I've worked with photographers, only to never see any of my images or receive them for my portfolio, this offer was a model's dream come true! I will be receiving the images within three weeks and it will take some time for the calendars to be put together but I can't wait to see how everything turns out. The photos will be used in Tad Gear's brochures, website, calendar and other print material. I'm very excited!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

When You Get No Support for Modeling

It isn't always every parents' dream to hear their child say, "Mom, Dad, I want to be a model!" Not having that support system from your family can be tough but that doesn't mean that you can't continue to pursue a career in the modeling industry.

Of course, that's easier said than done and for those of you who are underage and still live in your parents' house and under their rules, my heart goes out to you. In that particular situation, I always advise that if you are really set on being a model, do as much research as you can and have a game plan.

Then tell your parents after you have all the information and know without a doubt that you can answer any and all questions they may have. Parents tend to get cautious about something if you can't give them a legit answer about it. Don't just jump in and announce your plans to walk the runways in Europe and other major countries without thinking it through first. Just by you knowing your stuff, you may impress your parents enough to make them at least acknowledge that this is something you are serious about.

The key is to convince them that:

1) this is not a phase you're going through that you'll just dump a few weeks or months later

2) it will not interfere with your schooling

3) that you don't intend on modeling becoming your sole career (if you do, you have a lot more obstacles to tackle with your parents that I can't help you with!).

The main thing to emphasize to your parents or other family members is that this is something you are passionate about and want to give a shot...but that you need them to be supportive of whether you make it or not. Just having confirmation of that type of support can make all the difference to how you approach modeling.

 If you are currently a student in high school or college, you'll have to test the waters first and convince your parents that your choices aren't going to interfere with everything else. Of course if you end up being the next "it" model and are jetting around the world and making more than your parents combined, I don't think they would really complain. LOL.

If you have parents that are concerned about your self-esteem issues or falling into the eating disorder category, they are well within their rights to have such concerns because modeling as a business can be nasty and what parent wants to know that they willingly let their child take on something that may emotionally scar them if it doesn't work out?

This is why it is so important to know the ins and outs of the business and have a plan. Include your parents as much as possible in your decisions with modeling and try to always find a compromise, as opposed to yelling at them when they won't let you do something your way.

Find a happy medium and encourage them to talk to the agencies and ask all the questions they need until they are satisfied. Don't hide your parents from the agencies...especially if you are under 18...it is vital that they be a part of this process every step of the way with you.

For those of you with parents who are absolutely furious that you want to be a model and do or say things to discourage you, my heart REALLY goes out to you. But don't give up. If you know you stand a good chance at finding an agency that will take your modeling career in the right direction, go for it! But at the same time, don't burn bridges with your parents.

Modeling is a fleeting career that isn't promised...family (most times anyway) is forever. If you're bashing heads with your parents on the subject of modeling, step back and evaluate everything from all sides. In the end if they are just being difficult for no reason, then do what you can to pursue your dream without stepping on their toes. Sometimes you will have to push through without their support...as long as you handle your business and continue to do well in your modeling career, that is all that matters.

My mom is very supportive of my modeling career but I can't say the same about my dad. He is very wishy-washy about the subject. Mostly he doesn't take it seriously that I model and even with my resume and "proof" of my career, to him it isn't something he feels I should spend my time on.

When I go to go-sees or auditions, he always tells me that it's a waste of my time and gas and that for now all I know is that the gig will pay well IF I get it. Yes, it hurts to know that he cannot find it in his heart to support my modeling but that has never stopped me from going out and achieving my goals.

"One monkey don't stop no show," as the old saying goes.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

It's All About Communication

I can't stress enough how important it is as a model to have great communication skills. Keeping the communication barrier open and consistent is the way to ensure a good shoot every single time.

However, this is easier said than done because one thing the modeling industry is known for is miscommunication. It is very easy for a potential photoshoot to go awry simply because one or both parties are not on the same page, communication-wise.

Both photographers and models are guilty of this so it would be in your best interest to develop good communication skills and stick to them. Sometimes this may require you to be a little harsh or cold but modeling is a business and as is one of my favorite mottos, "I am a businesswoman before I am a model." No one likes to have their time wasted. Freelance models will find a lot of great information from this post.

When freelancing your time is money. Whether the shoot is paid or a TFP/TFCD, you still spend money of some kind: gas, buying clothes or accessories, etc. Same for the photographer. My biggest pet peeve is working with a photographer who does not communicate consistently with me. If you set a date for a shoot with a photographer and do not talk or email at all until the day of the shoot, you are taking a great risk.

I can't tell you the times I've done all the calling and emailing, only to have a photographer never contact me again...even when we've set a date for the photoshoot. I've had one photographer set up the date, time and outfits and I called and emailed the week prior, up until the night before--with no answer. Needless to say, I spent that day doing nothing. Had that photographer contacted me to keep me in the loop, I could have picked up a different gig or done something else worth my time.

Here are some helpful tips for ensuring that your next shoot goes smoothly and actually takes place!

1) Once initial contact is made (either by you contacting a photog to shoot or vice-versa) establish the following ASAP:

- Time, date, location of shoot
- Themes, outfits, number of outfits
- Meeting place
- How long the shoot will take
- Transportation arrangements (are you picking the photog up? are they going to meet you somewhere? will you be driving together to locations?)
- What you will be getting from the shoot (money? prints? high resolution cd of
- When will you be getting these things (in the mail? the day of?)

2) Once the specifics are agreed to, try to meet up in person if possible. Meeting before the actual shoot will give the both of you a chance to feel each other out, see if you vibe with the photog in a good way, etc. This also gives you a chance to talk about the themes for the shoot, go over outfits, and discuss business policies. If the first meeting doesn't go over well, politely decline the offer to shoot together and move on.

3) If you still want to shoot with the photog, set up a day and time when you will call or email (calling is best) to confirm that the shoot is still going to happen on the date and time you've both agreed to. Things always come up last minute so you can't assume that all will go according to plan, even if you've met with the photog ahead of time before. Try to get a hold of the photog by phone at least a day or so before your shoot date--the night before at the latest.

By following these steps, you can avoid flakes and reduce the chances of missing out on other bookings. When it comes to photoshoots, I always stick to a strict schedule with plenty of communication. I tell photogs who are interested in working with me right away that I am very strict about returning phone calls and emails on time...as well as confirming the date and time we are set to shoot. I let them know that if I do not hear back from them by email or phone the day before the shoot, I will not be there.

You have to know where to draw the line in this business. No one has the time and money to go out to shoots and not have anyone show up, or to wait by the phone or computer for a call or email that will never come. Emergencies happen but in everyday life, those rarely occur.

As a model, if you cannot find the time to return an email or a phone call to a photog or client who is interested in shooting with you, or if you are not good about keeping up good correspondence, then you should find another profession. In my book, there is no excuse for any model to not contact the photog to let them know when something has come up or be MIA from a shoot without any notification. There are so many flakes and people with bad communication skills in this industry, why contribute to a growing problem? Be on time, be firm and keep the lines of communication open.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Having More Than One Agent

Did you know that a model can have more than once agency? It's true but there is a way to go about it without getting yourself in trouble. When you have more than one agency representing you as a model, the chances for getting booked, paid work increases. The only way a model can get more than one modeling agency is if they are only dealing with non-exclusive contracts.

To refresh your memory, a non-exclusive contract means that the model is allowed to sign with another agency, as well as get their own freelance work. The catch is to read the fine print. Even though an agency with a non-exclusive contract allows you multiple representation, it also lists where you can or cannot obtain representation.

For example, if you have an agent out of San Francisco with a non-exclusive contract, you are free to sign with another agency in Los Angeles, New York, or Miami (or all three in addition to San Francisco!), who also operate with non-exclusive contracts.

However, you may not be allowed to sign with another modeling agency located within 45-50 miles of San Francisco so if there is another agency interested in you that is in San Jose (which is less than 50 miles from San Francisco), you more than likely will not be able to have one agency in both cities since they are so close to each other. To have two agencies located so close together is bad for the model because they will more than likely book you for your same gigs...who would get the commission? There lies the problem.

If you go behind your agency's back and sign with another agent within the same competing market and your original agency finds out, you could be dropped from your contract. So play it smart and make sure to read the fine print of your non-exclusive contract to find out just where you can obtain additional representation.

For models signed to exclusive modeling contracts, the opportunity to have more than one agent is eliminated. Many exclusive contracts maintain control over their models within the United States, as well as other countries. This means you cannot sign with any other agency no matter if the contract would be non-exclusive or exclusive or if they are located 100 miles away from your original agent.

For example, FORD's exclusive contract states that their models cannot sign with any competing agency in the entire United States, Canada, France, and Brazil. That basically means you belong to the agency completely until your contract is up. If you decide you don't want to be under an exclusive contract anymore and would rather have multiple representation dealing with non-exclusive contracts, simply give your agent written notification and read your contract to see how the process works.

As one photographer once told me, "Don't let them [the agency] bully you. They are there to make you money. Just because they are exclusive doesn't mean they will guarantee you more work than a non-exclusive contract. If they don't get you work, you aren't getting paid and you are within your right to break your contract and move on."

While having more than one agency can be great, it can also be a lot of work. Be prepared to fly or drive often since you'll more than likely have to go to wherever the audition is. So if you have an agent in San Francisco and Los Angeles, expect to rack up some frequent flier miles. If you have the time and the money, traveling for these opportunities can definitely work in your favor.

But if your funds are limited and you're in school or have a full-time job, then sticking to one agency that is local to you may be your best bet. It's your choice just make sure that whatever decision you make, you'll be able to follow through.