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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Monday, March 31, 2008

Be Discreet About Your Knowledge of the Industry


As much as I love educating others about the modeling industry and everything it embodies, I do have to warn you about being so free with your knowledge--especially when you start your agency search. There may be times when what you know can work against you.

It may sound strange to read this but modeling agencies get uncomfortable when a model knows "too much." Do they want their models to be dumb? Definitely not but it's very intimidating for them when a model potential knows just as much if not more than they do. Why is that? I'm not exactly sure but it varies from case to case.

I recently spoke with a fellow model friend of mine who just got signed to her first agency after being freelance for a while. She's pretty savvy about the business and has her head on straight so she knew no one was going to run any game on her.

While talking about contract terms, her agent mentioned a topic (I can't recall what it was though) that was verbally promised to her and not included in the contract. So my friend requested that the agent put her verbal promise in writing for her. At that moment, her agent looked hesitant/suspicious and while she did fulfill my friend's request (it is totally legit to request something in writing btw) since that day, she has treated my friend somewhat indifferently.

Needless to say, my friend believes that her small insight to her knowledge of the industry was off putting to her agent and may have caused an unspoken rift between the two. Is anyone to blame? Not necessarily. Is it fair? Nope.

However, like I continuously say, modeling is a business and while agencies are there to promote their models, they first and foremost are trying to make money. Agencies don't take too well to models who openly state how much research they've done, what they know about the industry, etc.

That being said, when it comes to the knowledge that I offer through my blog and through mentoring aspiring/established models online via email, it will be in your best interest to not mention my blog, myself or your affiliation with me to a potential agent you are hoping to get signed with. Any agency will do what it takes to save face and they will have no problems with telling you that what I am doing is wrong, that I am not a credible source of information, etc, etc, etc.

To be fair, I am not affiliated personally with any agencies or staff and mentioning me or my blog isn't going to get you in good with anyone in the modeling industry. Does that mean that you should stop reading my blog or contacting me for information/guidance/advice? Of course not! BUT you should keep all of the information you get from me and from your own research to yourself while pursuing your modeling career. I

nstead of showcasing all of your knowledge (which is a great way to turn an agency away from you) keep it to yourself and draw upon it when you find yourself in certain situations. Play along if you have to, just don't let on that you know more than you really do.

Oh, and that isn't a free ticket to play dumb. LOL. Still be your smart and savvy self but just be cautious about letting an agency know that you've done a lot of research and just let things work for you.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Limitations & Personal Boundaries in Modeling


This post will best serve models over 18. Younger models will not have to deal with the following topics due to their age and the law.

When it comes to what type of modeling you will or will not do, just know that no one will force you to do anything, especially your agent if you have one. When you get signed to an agency, you will be asked what type of work you will do and what you won't do. This may be a hard copy form with boxes you have to check or you may be asked to do it online for your profile.

The modeling you'll be asked about includes but is not limited to:

- Alcohol
- Cigarettes
- Fur
- Nude
- Glamor/Implied Nudity

You will never be submitted for work that you have explicitly stated you will not do. So any worries you may have about turning down work or disappointing your agent will not be an issue in this case. This is one of the rare instances where your own personal/moral/ethical beliefs will be taken into consideration. With that being said, think hard about how you want to portray yourself as a model and what your boundaries are.

Even if you are freelance, there is still a need to state your limitations. Many models do this on their websites, on their profiles online through modeling community sites, etc. And that is perfectly fine. It is much easier to avoid any unnecessary situations if people know upfront what you will or will not do.

As for myself, I have stated through my agent and everywhere else that I will not do nude work, wear fur or do gigs involving cigarettes. Alcohol is fine with me as well as glamor but only if it is for a tasteful publication and is done by a credible photographer.

It all boils down to what you feel comfortable with and as long as you keep the lines of communication open, you shouldn't run into any problems.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Answering a Reader Question


This is in response to Anonymous, who posted the following comment on my post "The Runway Walk":

Anonymous said...

Hey
I was wondering..I am really young and wanted to get started in the modeling business but doesn't know how?. Also, is there any way you can become a model without spending any money?


To answer your first question about how to get started, check out this post I did about the very subject: Where Do You Start?

To answer your second question, you can definitely get started in modeling without throwing away a load of money. First, since you are young and inexperienced, agencies will not expect or require you to have a professional portfolio with photos. Just take regular snapshots of yourself according to what photos they ask for. When you sign with an agency that is legit, there are no upfront fees or anything like that so you're still in the clear when it comes to not spending money.

However, it is normal for an agency to require you to pay for your professional photoshoot to put together your modeling portfolio. Go with the photographer(s) you agent recommends. Expect to pay anywhere between $100-500...BUT you are paying for a makeup artist, the photographer, hair stylist and wardrobe stylist so your money will go a long way. You may pay an additional $100 for printing costs for your comp cards. Other than that small investment, the rest of your career won't come at the cost of you or your parents' wallets and paying for your portfolio is a smart investment in your modeling career. Once you start getting hired for gigs, you'll make that money back right away.

Hope that answers your question and thanks for reading!

Monday, March 24, 2008

DaniaDenise.com Officially Relaunched!

So it's been a looooong time coming, but I am happy to announce that my professional and official Dania Denise website is now live! I worked with a great graphic designer and I am very happy with the new layout and I'm sure you'll be happy to see newer photos, learn more about myself and enjoy the cool Flash features we've all come to know and love.

Check me out at: DaniaDenise.com

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Let's Get Some Things Straight About Me...

So I just wanted to make a quick post to address a few things. For some time now my blog has enjoyed a lot of traffic from devoted readers and those who just happen to come across it. Lately I’ve been in the habit of Googling my blog and related search terms (keywords) to see where it pops up, who has been using the content and who has mentioned it in other websites, forums, etc.

While it’s been really fun to see others cite my blog posts in order to pass on my information to others, I have also found that many who mention my blog or myself are putting out statements that aren’t just inaccurate…they’re just plain wrong. I know more than anyone how one person’s statement about you can affect others, whether intentional or not, so to clarify some of the inaccuracies I have seen in regards to myself and my blog, I wanted to get a couple of things straightened out:

1) For the record, I am 5’4”. NOT 5’3” or any other height that I’ve seen people claim I am on the Web. One inch may not seem significant to many, but it's just funny how many times I've stated on here that I am 5'4" only to have people still say I am a different height. Guess I'm just a stickler for being factual (must be the journalist in me!).

2) I am CURRENTLY signed with FORD San Francisco’s Commercial/Print & Lifestyle division—some people have made statements such as “she was signed to FORD for a time”—ummmm that time is still now. LOL.

3) I did not “walk away from modeling because it was too much.” I think some folks who read my post “Taking a Break From Freelancing” took it out of context and may not have read my other posts to get the full picture of the type of model I am. I never “walked away” from modeling, nor do I intend to anytime soon. I talk about taking a break from freelancing in order to allow my agent (FORD) to find me legit and well-paying gigs to boost my career instead of dealing with small-time clients who pay next to nothing (often nothing) for my services when I know that I am worth much more.

4) I am not your typical model. While I do have an agent, I do a lot on my own to ensure my success and to push along my career. Unlike many agency represented models out there, I edit and retouch my own photos as needed, am savvy with Photoshop and put together my own websites, blogs, pages, etc. I’m not the type of model who just lets the agency do everything because I know that oftentimes that isn’t enough, especially being a commercial/print model, my career takes work and I am more than willing to do what it takes to find opportunities and put myself out there. So for the photographers, who responded to my post(s) about being frustrated with not getting photos back, etc…just know that I don’t need just one or two photos for my book…I do so much with my photos that I require more than the typical handful most give…if I even get the images at all. I like raw untouched images because I am capable of fixing them myself for my needs and do not need a photographer’s help in doing that. In that sense, I am one of the most worry-free models a photographer can work with because all I ask in exchange for shooting together is a cd of raw images so all they have to do is burn them. End of story.

5) Models.com is one site that seems to favor mentioning my blog, which is great, but are also prone to putting out misconceptions of me to others. Just to clarify, I don’t mind people talking about my blog, referring to my blog or any other action BUT I do ask that you at least take the time to read more of my posts and get a more well-rounded idea of who I am before you put out your own notions of who I am as a model. There is more to me than meets the eye and for those who read my blog faithfully, they know that without a doubt.

So, with all that being said, I hope that folks start to post accurate information about me. I am a 5’4” commercial/print, swimwear, and fitness model who is signed to FORD in San Francisco, I love what I do, I acknowledge that it is a difficult at times in this business but I have succeeded at it for a decade and am only going to continue to move up. I have not and do not plan on walking away from modeling, nor do I find my height a hindrance.

If you come across such inaccuracies on sites, please do me a favor and respond to them and mention this specific post. Link to it if you want…I just want people to know that I do keep track of who has my name in their mouth and how it is being used. All I ask is that you at least get it right. ;)

Monday, March 3, 2008

Modeling & School


A common question that I get from model hopefuls has to do with the concept of pursuing a modeling career as well as school. Others worry that their parents won't approve of them doing both and many wonder if it's even possible to do so.

So can someone do modeling and still go to school? To keep the answer to this question simple: YES, YES, and YES!!!

HIGH SCHOOL

While I do strongly encourage education and not putting studies on the back burner, that doesn't mean that the two can't coexist because they can but it's up to you to make it work. There are plenty of high school students who also model part-time. Any modeling agency acknowledges that school is important and they will work around your school schedule. If you're wondering how often you'll need to miss class, that all depends on what type of model you are.

Needless to say if you're a fashion/runway model and are always traveling and are high in demand, chances are you'll have to stick to homeschooling. But if you are a fashion model who does mostly local stuff or a commercial/print model (whose gigs typically stay close to home as well), you can expect anywhere between 2-3 times a month where you may have to miss school, give or take (it also depends on the season and if there is a lot of demand for models).

That being said, most shoots do not last longer than 4 hours (8 hours max) so you may only need to take a half day and leave school in the morning and be back by lunch or a little afterwards. So chances are you won't be missing entire days on end.

Plus, these are excused absences since the agencies require underage models to use work permits, which are totally in accordance with school policies so don't fret if you think you'll be racking up a score of absences on your permanent record (parents, feel free to breathe a sigh of relief).

However, it is your responsibility to make the two work together and to keep your parents off your back. Unless you completely neglect your homework and other school-related stuff, you'll be more than able to do modeling and still maintain good grades and participate in extracurricular activities. I did modeling in high school and was still a part of three school clubs and maintained a 3.5 GPA.

COLLEGE

The great thing about college is the fact that you get to control your schedule. This makes it easy to juggle modeling and school. However, there may still be times when you'll have to miss a class or two in order to go to a go-see or a photoshoot. As long as you can maintain your grades and don't fall behind, you can reach a perfect balance between the two as well.

When I was in college I cut back on the modeling because I was very focused on getting my degree. But that doesn't mean that I turned down a lot of work but there were times when I had to choose between the two. There are many top models who manage to do both college and modeling, while a few took a break from the industry altogether in order to get their degree. Do whatever works best for you and your plans for the future.

So to sum things up, if you're worried about whether or not you'll be able to do both, relax because yes, school and modeling can go together...it may take a little work or no effort at all but either way, if your goal is to pursue your education and manage a modeling career, you've got the green light.