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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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Modeling for the Wrong Reasons


While going through some old photos in my room the other day, I came across my very first modeling/acting headshot, which is the photo associated with this post. Aside from bringing back a lot of memories, I also stopped to realize how far the modeling industry has come, both the good and the bad. And it made me think about how differently the approach to modeling was just a decade ago.

When I first got the flyer in the mail for a San Francisco open casting call, which will have been exactly 10 years ago for me in February (how time flies!), I didn't pursue the industry because I wanted to be a supermodel or to make a million dollars--I wanted to do it because it looked like it would be fun.

That's not to say that I wasn't passionate, but during the time I was growing up, modeling wasn't in the forefront like it is today. There was no "America's Next Top Model," heck, there was no such thing as reality tv. I didn't flip through high fashion magazines admiring the models. But it seemed like something new and exciting to try and as I became more involved, I fell in love with it and that is why all these years later, I am still dedicating my time and energy towards this profession.

Unfortunately, many things change over time and I can definitely say that has happened not only with how people view the modeling world, but the reasons that people aspire to be models in the first place. Now this is not to say that there aren't any of you out there who aren't passionate or who haven't wanted to do this since birth--I know you're all out there and kudos to you.

But there are those few that kind of have the wrong idea about being a model and why they want to do it. So I thought it would be good to post some of the wrong reasons people use for wanting to be a model and why those reasons aren't what modeling is all about...

To Be Famous

I hate to break it to you, but not all models become "famous." Most you wouldn't even recognize on the street unless they managed to book a high profile campaign that splashes their face all over. Not everyone can or will be a supermodel. Out of the thousands of people who get into the modeling game, exactly 1% become supermodels. Sad but true.

While you should pursue modeling to be the best, doing it soley to be famous isn't a very good reason. If you manage that success, that's wonderful but you also have to be realistic about the odds and the competition. You can't go into this industry with stars in your eyes or delusions of grandeur. Keep your hopes high but at the same time keep your feet on the ground. You'll be sorely disappointed if you think that being a model will instantly boost you to stardom.

To Be Filthy Rich

Surprisingly, not all modeling gigs pay well. The key to making a substantial amount of money that you can live off of is to sign major contracts with companies, get endorsements, and to constantly book high-paying jobs on a regular basis. Much easier said than done, trust me.

For the younger ladies who have yet to graduate from school and be on their own, you should take what I have to say on this subject to heart. If you think about it, editorial gigs pay chump change compared to higher end jobs...usually $250-300. Sure that's better than nothing and no one should turn down this type of work but when it comes to paying rent on your apartment, studio, etc., a car note, bills, getting one or two editorial gigs a month just isn't going to cut it.

Sure, there are jobs that pay much, much more (I just did a casting for a Verizon print ad that pays $2,000 for one day), but the odds of consistently getting that type of work is slim. If you think that you'll have an easy time living solely off your income as a working model, you will be very disappointed. I'm not saying all this to knock you down, but it helps to know the truth. Not all modeling jobs pay well to the point that you can completely live off of it, unless you do hit supermodel status.

There are many working models who book gigs but still work part-time for more money. This doesn't mean they are not successful models, but the reality is that if you're thinking about going into modeling purely for the financial gain, you may want to choose another profession or at least be willing to get an extra job to support yourself. This is why I always stress the importance of getting an education and having a backup career for yourself.

To Travel and Walk Down the Runway

Unfortunately, your height will dictate how far you will or will not go in the industry and if you aren't at least 5'8" or a stunning 5'7" chances are you won't be on a runway for a huge designer or jet-setting around the world. As much as I hate the height restriction, it is a reality that I've come to accept and so should all of my shorter gals. There is more to modeling than just fashion so don't get discouraged if you don't grow taller. Work with what you've got and apply yourself to other fields of modeling that are open to you.

To Be a Part of the Glamour

I'll be the first to say that there are no words to describe the adrenaline rush I feel while in the middle of a photoshoot. However, there are words to describe other parts of being a model: unglamourous (is that even a words? haha). It isn't all fun and games, makeup and posing.

There are hours of standing around, wearing a ton of makeup (which may look great but doesn't always feel great), wearing crazy outfits, doing poses that hurt but require you to look comfortable, and getting up at ridiculous hours for the "perfect lighting." Then there's the freezing temperatures where you're required to wear a thin dress or worse--a bathing suit--and have to act like you're on a tropical beach.

This may not sound as serious as you would think but believe me, I've shot in San Francisco in an evening gown on a cloudy day when it was about 55 degrees and I had to be sexy and totally comfortable in front of the camera.

The photoshoots you see on tv are just a small snippet of what occurs throughout an entire day of shooting. There is much more to the edited segments you see on your favorite show. If you think the modeling is all about looking and sitting pretty, you're so wrong.

To Be in a Magazine

Unless you've got a really great agent, the chances of booking a magazine spread is very slim. Before you can even think about what type of work you want to do, you've got to get a highly reputable agent who can get that job for you. However, getting an agent is one of the toughest challenges when it comes to pursuing a modeling career. It isn't as simple as walking in and saying, "Sign me!"

So before you get all geared up about what publications you'll grace the pages of, plan what agencies to see who can help you reach that goal. While in the middle of your agency search, you'll quickly see how your dreams of being in a magazine will take a backseat to trying to find someone who will at least give you a chance in the first place.

So That You'll Never Have to Get a Job or Work a Day in Your Life

Once again, people, unless you become the next "it" supermodel, this is probably one of the most unrealistic expectations for an aspiring model to have. While modeling can be a career, it does not provide the stability that a regular job or career does. I know not too many people think very far ahead into their future, but if anything think about this: as a model signed with an agency, you are working as an independent contractor.

What does that mean? It means that your agency (although it may seem like it) is not your boss and is not your employer. This means you don't get health insurance (so no vision or dental), you don't get any other types of benefits either, like pay raises, or a 401(k) plan so you can start saving for retirement. All you get are your checks and the work in your portfolio.

If you want to make a stable and steady living on your own 10 years from now, modeling is not going to make the cut unless--like I've been saying throughout this entire post--you hit it big, which is rare. What you have to realize is that all models are replaceable. There will always be the need for the newest and next "it" girl or guy and even the best models can be knocked off their pedestals. Not to mention that if you don't age well, you're not going to get future work.

Bottom line: seeking modeling as a way out of having to work a regular job and be well taken care of for a long time is not just unrealistic, it's foolish. Plan for your future better than that. Modeling should be an asset in your life, not a crutch. You don't want to be the former model who gets out of the game and doesn't have any work skills or educational background to pick up where life left you off.

Modeling is not and will never be easy. I'm not listing these points to discourage anyone but I don't think it's wise to go into this business without knowing the hard truth, either. It's better to know exactly what you're getting into. Once the initial shock wears off, your head will be much clearer about what to expect and you'll be able to better plan how you will approach getting your foot in the door.

Monday, January 21, 2008

My Daily Diet/Health Routine

Since I talked about my beauty and skin care routine, I figured I may as well follow up that post with one about my health and daily diet. Being 5'4" I like to keep my weight range between 115-125 lbs. No more, no less. I have never done a "diet" in my life so when I use the word "diet" here I'm simply referring to my daily eating habits.

I've been lucky that my agent has never asked me to lose a pound--yet another benefit of being a commercial/print model, but that doesn't mean that I don't pay attention to what I eat.

It's actually pretty easy to maintain a good and healthy weight without being a slave to counting calories or crash-dieting. All it takes is some discipline and routine.

Eats

I eat 5-6 small meals a day. My main meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) are smaller portions that are no bigger than the size of my palm or hand. You'll find that eating smaller more frequent meals and snacks throughout the day works wonders for keeping your metabolism constantly burning calories, not to mention that eating so often keeps you fuller throughout the day.

This can help you avoid over-eating in one sitting. How many of us have been starving for dinner after not eating since lunchtime? This meal plan is ideal for helping you maintain your weight so if you're at a good number, you'll be able to prevent excessively shedding or gaining--for the ladies we all know that our "time of the month" accounts for extra weight due to water gain--that's something we won't be able to change. LOL.

So here is a list of the foods that I choose from for this eating plan--and no, I don't eat all of these at once haha it's just a list:

BREAKFAST

1. Cereal

2. Oatmeal

3. 1 Pop Tart

4. Large cup of hot chocolate (keeps me full until lunchtime if I don't really feel like eating solid food and is a great source of calcium)

5. Smoothie

6. Breakfast sandwich

LUNCH

1. Oven roasted turkey sandwich on white or wheat bread with mayo, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes

2. Leftovers from dinner (small portion)

3. Small portion of pasta

4. Panini sandwich

DINNER

1. Pasta with chopped/sliced beef or chicken

2. Sushi (yes, the raw fish in addition to miso soup and other dishes. Salmon both cooked and raw are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which help keep good cholesterol up and bad cholesterol down, is good for your heart and is known to provide natural anti-aging properties)

3. Portion of steak with veggies

4. Rice with a mix of hard-boiled eggs and diced tomatoes (with salt added for taste)

5. Pizza (yes, I allow myself the good stuff!)

SNACKS (for in between meals)

1. Can of mandarin orange slices in light syrup

2. 1 Rice Krispie Treat or granola bar

3. Fresh fruit (banana, plum, cherries, strawberries, etc.)

4. Smoothie

5. Can of sliced peaches or pear halves

6. 1 Pop Tart

Drinks/Beverages


  •  I drink water throughout the day and keep a bottle of it near me at all times.
  • During lunch I drink one (1) Capri Sun or some other type of fruit juice
  • I also like to enjoy decaf tea
  • Hot Chocolate: this stuff keeps me full for a long time but I usually only drink it in the morning for breakfast or as a snack after lunch and before dinner

I also take a daily multivitamin each day after lunch or dinner. I love the Women's One A Day with added calcium. You'd be surprised how much better your body feels and reacts once you start taking a daily multivitamin!

As far as exercise goes, I actually don't do much. I've been blessed with a fast metabolism and great genes so unfortunately, I can't provide too much detailed info/tips on that, unfortunately, but below is a great workout routine that I sometimes use when I'm feeling like I'm getting a bit too "comfortable" with my eating habits, haha:

http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/fitness/g134/fitness-plan-two-weeks-oct06/

But I also know the importance of getting a good night's sleep. No busy schedule is worth wreaking havoc on my looks so when I know I'm doing too much, I try to take a time out and go to bed early or I'll squeeze a cat nap in on the weekends if possible.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

My Beauty Regimen

Because a lot of people are fascinated by getting "model skin," I thought it would be fun to post my beauty regimen in more detail. I do stress that what works for one person may not necessarily work for someone else so before you go out there and buy the same products I'll be listing here, be sure to get the right ones for your skin type and always do a patch test to avoid any bad skin reactions.

I have combination skin with eczema so unless you've got that same skin type, you may not experience the same results with your skin that I have but feel free to use my beauty regimen as a reference in creating your own. Most importantly, tailor your beauty/skin care regimen to fit your skin's needs.

FACE

Every morning and every night before bed, I cleanse with Clean & Clear Morning Burst with Shine Control. I apply a heavier dose of Dove dry skin moisturizer to my cheeks because with combo skin that area tends to get dry easily and I only apply a thin amount to my T-zone (forehead, nose and chin) since they get oily quickly.

Once to twice a week I'll exfoliate with St. Ive's Apricot Scrub. When I notice the pores on my nose getting too big, I'll apply a Biore pore strip and leave it on until it is completely dry. Although it does hurt when I take it off, I quickly apply a cool compress and remove any parts of the strip that get stuck on my skin. Because the pore strips can be tough on the skin, I only use them before a shoot, casting or when I just can't stand looking at my enormous pores anymore. :)

When I can't stand my eyebrows anymore, I get them professionally threaded at a local salon. For only $8 I get clean brows in less than 10 minutes...I will never go back to waxing or plucking ever!

HAIR

I chemically relax my hair and have been doing it for years so my hair is used to it. I do it myself at home once every 2-3 months. While my hair is pretty straight normally, my roots tend to get wavy so I use the relaxer to smoothen and make it look nice and purdy. lol. I use Soft and Beautiful Normal Strength.

Because chemical relaxers are so harsh on the hair, I make sure to do a lot of extra care so that my hair doesn't suffer from too much damage. I get my ends trimmed every 6-8 weeks to avoid breakage. I use Eurfora Pure Cleanse Therapeutic Shampoo and Eufora Urgent Repair Replenishing Treatment. Once a week I deep condition my hair using a product called Silk Elements MegaSilk Moisturizing Treatment. I blot my hair with a towel and keep it slightly damp and work the deep conditioner from roots to tips.

Then I pin it up and sit under a portable hair dryer, which has a hood attachment. I wish I could find a picture of it but it was a few years ago so they may not make the one I use anymore but it's a real find! After 5-10 minutes, I rinse my hair out and spritz it with Pureology ColourMax before blow drying it with the Straight-On Dual Professional Straightening Pic attachment.

Once my hair is dry I try to avoid putting any heat on it for a few days. When it's time to curl my hair, I use the Pureology ColourMax on each section of hair so that it's protected against any thermal damage.

HANDS & FEET

I carry a small tube of Aveeno Intense Relief Hand Cream and apply it whenever my hands get dry. I massage the lotion deep into my hands and also apply it onto my nails. I keep my fingernails slightly short and I never get acrylic or any special manicure stuff done. I do however get a pedicure done with French tips. It's clean and matches whatever I choose to wear for a shoot.

BODY

I use St. Ive's Renewing Collagen & Elastin Lotion all over my body and I use a loofah brush to gently exfoliate in the shower. This may sound weird but when I have a shoot or casting coming up and I need my skin to look its best, I don't shave for at a couple of days.

No, I'm not talking about not taking a shower at all, but I let my hair grow out. I've found that letting it all grow out longer gives me a much closer shave and my skin looks and feels a lot better afterwards instead of shaving every other day or whatnot. I don't know, but it works for me! :)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Creating Your Own Comp Card in Photoshop

I'm sure you're wondering what happened to the content that used to be on this blog post related to creating your own comp card.

As some of you may or may not know, I am a writer for the website eHow.com. I took this particular blog post and formatted it for eHow, where it has continued to receive a lot of hits from readers.

Unfortunately, eHow has discontinued its writing program since merging with a larger company. I have agreed to sell the rights to my articles published on eHow, which now become property of the new company.

As part of the agreement, I have to remove any content that currently appears as an article on eHow.com since I no longer own that content. Rest assured, everything else on my blog will stay as is since I own the rights to this blog content.

But never fear, there is still a way to find out the information needed to create your own comp card in Photoshop. Instead of reading it here on my blog, simply click on the link below, which will take you to the same content that used to be in this post, but on the eHow.com site:

How to Create Your Own Modeling Comp Cards

So you'll still be able to get all the info needed to put together a great comp card...it'll just have to be on another site. Of course eHow can't replace the valuable information and insight that I'll continue to post here on A Model's Diary so don't worry, my blog is here to stay! ;-)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

My Take on America's Next Top Model


As passionate as I am about modeling, I'm sure you may be asking yourself where I stand when it comes to ANTM? Well, if it weren't for Tyra's show, I'm pretty sure this blog wouldn't exist! It seems that ever since Tyra appeared on television and gave undiscovered models from across the country a shot at top model stardom, the fascination with the modeling industry has increased exponentially.

I do give Tyra her props for the success of her career and the many roads she has paved for the latest generation but at the same time there are both advantages and disadvantages to the show.

First thing's first, ANTM is NOT what the modeling world is really like. Nor does it offer a very accurate picture of how to approach modeling. All reality TV shows are a "created reality." You have editors and directors who cut and splice and put together the very episodes we love to indulge in. If anything, the show should be taken at face value and watched for pure entertainment.

The most accurate parts of the show that you should pay attention to are the photoshoots, the photographer interaction with the models and the encounters they face with go-sees and talking to talent agencies. There is truth to those parts of the show so it isn't completely fantasy. haha.

To this day, whenever the casting for ANTM hits San Francisco, I get calls and emails from people telling me to try out. As interesting as it may be, I know that they do have a height requirement (I believe it is 5'7" last time I checked) but even if they had an open height requirement, I don't think I would want to try ANTM out. I can only speak for myself but I will tell any model hopeful the same thing I am about to say.

Advantages:

- The opportunity to be on television and meet/work with Tyra.
- Getting to put together a top notch modeling portfolio at no cost to you.
- Working with the world's best fashion photographers, makeup artists and stylists.
- A shot at winning a modeling contract with Elite.

Disadvantages:

It's easier for me to explain this instead of listing it. As enticing as ANTM appears, you have to think about the details. Not all exposure is good exposure. While you may be getting your face out there, your actions and words may damage your budding modeling career and could backfire on you.

What is the most exciting part about watching ANTM? Is it the competition itself? Finding out who wins? What outfits they get to wear? No! It's about the drama! Not a cycle of ANTM has passed without tears, cat fights, attitude, confrontations and a whole lot of the "B word" being thrown around. It may serve for good TV but it makes for a lousy start to a modeling career if you get caught up in the reality TV modeling politics/drama.

Unless you really know yourself and can remain calm and collected, you can put yourself at risk for some bad behavior that could make people in the industry not want to work with you, or get you unfairly labeled/stereotyped.

For example, say you make it onto the show and throughout the entire cycle you had a sobfest twice. Only twice. With the magic of reality tv, editors can manipulate the footage to make it appear as if you've cried every single episode. The same goes for throwing around an attitude or not getting along with the other girls. Reality TV is known for creating "personas" for certain people in order to get ratings. The way you are presented on ANTM can either make or break any chance you have at modeling, as well as how the public perceives you as a person.

The bottom line: ANTM can do a lot for your career if you win, regardless of whether you do in fact hit "top model" status or not. But at the same time, be sure to evaluate all the risks involved and don't just jump into it if you are interested in auditioning. I still advocate going to modeling agencies yourself and exhausting those possibilities first and then try out for ANTM as a backup plan.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Entering Modeling Contests


Modeling contests are a fun way of trying to break into modeling, whether you're new to it or not. Of course there are some things to keep in mind when it comes to searching and submitting yourself to them.

You can find modeling contests online through search engines like Google, although the results will be so numerous, it can be confusing. You can also try looking for modeling contest info at online modeling communities like Models.com or ModelMayhem.com. Sometimes the people who are putting on the contests advertise on sites like those in order to get models to enter.

Regardless of how you find out about them, be sure that you only enter modeling contests that you qualify for and be sure to read all the contest rules. There may be things listed in the fine print that aren't stated up front elsewhere. Many also have age requirements. Most will be 18+. Unfortunately, teen model contests are pretty rare but if you look hard enough, I'm sure you'll find them.

When submitting your photos to any modeling contest, be sure they are top quality and professional. This isn't the time and place for pictures taken on your cameraphone. No Myspace type photos, either. Many modeling contests will disqualify you if you have photos posted that aren't professional. This is a contest after all so present yourself in the best way possible.

Also take into account the theme of the contest. Is it a swimwear competition? Sports wear? Glamour? The type of contest you want to enter will determine what types of pictures you should upload. Only choose the ones that fit the contest.

Nowadays many modeling contests require participation from their online viewers, which may involve getting votes. If this is the type of contest you are interested in entering, be sure to be ready to work! Many of the models in these contests have no problems getting hundreds to thousands of votes a day so you'll have to be prepared to work just as hard if not harder to get the right amount of votes to advance you throughout your competition.

Some contests offer promotional materials such as online banners that you can put on your Myspace pages, websites, forums and anywhere else you want to plug them. Use these resources since they are there to help you...not to mention free! Think of all your friends and family when it comes to asking for votes. Be sure to let them know the basic rules and how they can vote. You'd be surprised how many votes you can lose because people aren't sure where to go, what to do and how to vote.

Note if there is an entrance fee or not. Obviously, the ones where you don't have to pay will be your best bet. Why spend money if you don't have to? Also be sure to note what the prizes are for winning. Don't enter a contest with a prize that you may either not want or can't win. What do I mean by that? For example, many modeling contests offer modeling contracts with agencies or particular companies.

If you have agency representation, your agent may not allow you to sign such a contract, which would be an awful waste of time and effort if you won. So review the prize details and make sure that if you do win the contest, there will be no issues with your agent. Of course if you are freelance and/or don't have an agent to deal with, then you are in the clear! Many modeling contests are put on to specifically search for new and undiscovered talent.

While entering contests can be fun, also remember the reality of it all: there are hundreds if not thousands of other contestants who all want the same thing you do. Even though winning a modeling contest isn't impossible it isn't easy or a sure thing, either, so keep that in mind.

Stay positive, follow the rules and cross your fingers and you may just win!