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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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Do Not Use Craigslist to Find Modeling Agencies

For the past few days that I have been browsing Craigslist looking for the latest modeling gigs, I’ve came across more than a handful of posts from aspiring and established models seeking agency representation.

My first question was, “If they’re looking for agencies, what are they doing posting on Craigslist?!” In case this is only obvious to me, let me say right now that if you are seeking agency representation, do not use Craigslist to find it.

Craigslist is pretty good at offering modeling gigs and opportunities but when it comes to modeling agencies, this one doesn’t quite fit. While there are times when legit agencies, such as Ford for example, post on Craigslist looking for fit models, there are many fake modeling agencies who post looking for models to sign.

If you respond to these ads, you do so at your own risk. That’s not to say that there aren’t legit agencies looking for models on there, but this makes it much harder for you to be able to find out anything about the company—especially since a good number of them post little to no information about their company, website or contact info. For the ones that do, that’s great.

Of course in this particular post I am talking about models themselves who are posting on CL looking for agencies, not responding to an agency’s post. I don’t know how to say this without it coming across as sassy but if you are hoping that a legit and reputable modeling agency will respond to a post you put up on CL then you don’t know what it takes or involves to be in the modeling industry.

If you don’t live in an area that is swamped with modeling scouts or isn’t a large market for modeling, these agencies will not come to you. The reputable agencies don’t need to go to anyone for business—the business comes to them.

Becoming an agency represented model is not supposed to be easy. The Internet has already made agency searches somewhat more accessible by allowing you to go to their websites but I am really sick of seeing these CL posts from aspiring and working models who really think that one simple post is going to get them a contract (I cringe to think about the people who actually respond to them and what they claim to offer).

I’ve emailed a couple of these individuals and put in my advice about avoiding CL in their search for an agency. Some were very thankful, while others never responded. I know I can’t put an end to it but for goodness sakes, if you’re reading this post and have thought about putting a CL post to see if agencies will find you, do not do it!

This may be mean to say but I find that models or model wannabes who turn to CL as a means of finding agency representation are lazy or desperately lack the information needed for them to be knowledgeable about the industry they want to be a part of. Looking for an agent on CL is a great way to get taken advantage of by scammers, modeling schools and companies that “appear” as modeling agencies but do not have your best interest at heart. Play it safe and do your homework.

Find agencies on your own and learn what you’re supposed to about the industry. If you’re not willing to put in the time, effort or research, then don’t bother. If you’re posting on CL looking for agency representation, chances are, you don’t know a whole lot about the industry to begin with. Okay, my little spiel is over now…just had to get that out. LOL.

Sorry, Ladies, Heels Don’t Matter

One of the first things that I commonly hear from shorter aspiring models that want to get into fashion and runway is, “Well, it doesn’t matter if I’m short, as long as I can wear really tall heels, right?” I hate to be a buzz kill but the answer is “NO.”

Any time an agency asks for a model’s height they automatically mean “without heels or shoes of any kind.” So the height they desire is the one you are naturally standing in bare feet. It’s kind of hard to fake that. Agencies will measure you so it doesn’t matter if you strut into the offices wearing the cutest pair of heels—when it’s time to take your height, you’ll be asked to step out of your shoes. On many go-sees I’ve been asked my height, and they often add the following words to the question: “without shoes.”

You would think that they would make an exception to the rule for shorter models that can successfully wear 4-inch heels as if they were tennis shoes but as much as I hate to say it, they do have their reasons for taking naturally tall girls (hey, I don’t make the rules…I’m just the messenger).

As far as runway goes, it would be safe to assume that a shorter model who is, for example, normally 5’5” could just wear 4 inch heels to easily become 5’9” right? Well, in runway shows it’s all about uniformity between the models. The audience sits below you so it’s highly likely that they’ll notice that a short model’s shoes will have heels that are obviously much higher and different than the shoes the rest of the models are wearing.

Also, a short model can have the same measurements as a runway model but look different physically. It is possible for shorter girls to have “long legs.” However, their torsos tend to be shorter, unlike a tall model that has both long legs and a long torso. This difference in body type can also cause the sample sizes to not fit right or appear the way it should on a model. While you’d have the height with the help of the heels, appearance-wise, the pros in the fashion and runway industry would see you stick out like a sore thumb.

In fashion, editorial and other print work, natural height is a must for shoots involving more than one model. Again, height accounts for uniformity. The photos would look odd if there were two tall models and one or two short models that barely came up to the taller models’ shoulders (while they do have such shoots, the ones I’m referring to here involve the fashion and editorial industry, which doesn’t allow much for this).

Couldn’t they put heels on the shorter models to make it work? I’m sure they could but there are many instances where this wouldn’t necessarily solve the problem. For example, what about swimwear shoots where the models are barefoot? No one wears heels on the beach in the sand. Or what about a casual shoot where the models are wearing sandals and tennis shoes and are being photographed full body?

It would be odd for the taller models to have regular shoes and the shorter models wearing heels to make up for the height difference. No photographer or client is going to want to spend the extra time and effort to Photoshop a shorter model into a taller one. Why go through that when they can easily just request naturally tall models of a specific height? Do you see where I’m going with this?

In a nutshell, it is more time effective and cost effective to hire models that are naturally tall for fashion, runway and editorial work because there is less the agency and the client has to worry about. I’m sure in some cases, exceptions have been made but again, exceptions are not absolute enough to permanently break the rules and standards originally set by the industry, unfortunately—at least not anytime soon (and I know some of you are probably going to say, “Oh, but I saw this shoot or this runway show that did exactly what you said they wouldn’t do!" Again, there are exceptions to the rule but that’s not what I’m addressing here. I’m talking about the norm).

However, if you are an aspiring model, no matter what height you are, you should make it a point to know how to walk, stand and pose in heels. This includes you shorter ladies. 3 inch heels are a must to learn how to walk in…4 inches is stretching it but it doesn’t hurt to know how to walk in 4 inch heels either.

I hate to burst anyone’s bubble but this post is meant to help explain to the shorter aspiring models (who are usually in denial lol) about why wearing high heels to a fashion and runway agency won’t help them make the cut. Reality bites but the sooner you know the truth, the better.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Using My Content w/o Permission

So in this age of the Internet, it’s pretty easy to take other people’s content and use them on other websites, forums, etc. As my blog and articles on other sites gain popularity, I’m finding that there are those who are unfairly plagiarizing my work by taking original content word for word without mentioning my name, where the content is originally from or linking back. This is not okay.

I’m more than happy to share my information with others for free. However, I do ask that if you can’t paraphrase my content and need to use it verbatim, at least have the professional courtesy of asking my permission or letting me know who you are and where you want to use my stuff. If you’re going to use content from my blog, please link back, mention my name and who I am or at least mention the name of my blog.

I am also a writer for eHow.com and do a lot of articles related to the modeling industry. I recently got an email from a website designer who was interested in using my articles for his site and mentioned that he has already used two of them. Well, he took the entire articles from eHow, which is illegal. So eHow will be tracking him down and depending on his response, legal actions may take place. Even though he said he would link back to my own sites and promote me, the original article was first published on eHow so they should get the proper credit and not my blog or other websites (hope that makes sense? Besides, when they give eHow credit, I am automatically included so it isn’t like I’m being left out).

Please note: in order to use my eHow article content, please link back to the original URL if you are going to use it in its entirety or mention my name and that the content is from eHow if you don’t use the whole article (it’s not hard to do, plus do you really want the eHow attorneys after you?).

It’s impossible to police the entire Internet to find those who use my articles without permission but if I can at least put this message out there, maybe a few people will actually heed my words and take the proper steps to use my content with permission. Or at the very least, write your own dang stuff, this isn’t rocket science!

If any of my readers out there finds my work being used without permission, please shoot me an email (don’t leave a comment on my blog) and let me know the URL and I will investigate. Please do not contact that person yourself. Thanks!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Holding Out for an Agency

Nothing is more nerve wracking than waiting to hear back from an agency. Whether it's via phone or email, the waiting can be torture, especially if you've interviewed with the agency already but have yet to be offered a contract.

If you've already been out to see many agencies and have been promised that they will contact you soon, you're probably climbing up the walls by now.

It helps to not take things too literally. If an agency says they will call you by the end of the week, they may or may not call you on Friday. They may call you Monday (no legit agency is open on weekends--no exception!) or they may call you the very next day. So while it may be great that they give you a certain time period, don't hold them to it because they more than likely may not contact you when they say they will.

Don't take it personally, it's simply business. Most agencies are super busy on a daily basis and it is easy for them to lose track. However, if you impress them enough and they seem genuinely interested in you, then they'll more than likely get in contact right away.

That being said, if you find yourself in a situation where you have one agency interested in you but you're holding out because there is another agency that you want to hear back from, just know that you do this at your own risk.

When an agency offers you a contract that is a golden opportunity that any aspiring model would die for. While most agencies will let you think about it and/or take the contract home to read it, they won't wait forever. Most will tell you when they need the contract by and there is no asking for an extension.

Whatever you do, do not tell the agency that is currently interested that you are waiting to hear back from another agency. You may as well take your contract and flush it down the toilet if you tell them that! No agency likes to feel downplayed for the competition. So keep that to yourself.

That being said, compare the two agencies in question. On the one hand, you've got an agency sitting right in front of you offering you a contract. On the other hand, you've got this other awesome agency that seemed pretty interested but you haven't heard back and want to know if they want you. I can't say which one for sure you should choose because that is your choice to make but as I see it, if the agency you’re waiting on really wanted you, you'd have their contract in your hands by now. Get my drift?

If the agency that wants you now isn't that great, doesn't have a good rep or if you feel they wouldn't do much for your career, that's different. In that case, you can politely decline their offer. However, if the agency is a fairly good one and does get their models work, don't take the chance of losing out on a guaranteed opportunity just for an agency who has yet to even let you know where you stand.

If you can manage to hold onto the contract from your second choice long enough to hear back from your first choice, then that's great. But if your first choice doesn't call by the time you need to turn in your contract, then you should give the second choice a shot. It may not be what you wanted at first, but it is still a modeling contract and it is still an opportunity to begin your career.

Oh, and while it may be tempting, it is generally in bad taste to call an agency and remind them that they were supposed to call you. If you don't hear from them, chalk it up as a loss and look to the agencies that do want you right now. It may not be something you want to hear but even if an agency smiles at you and says they will contact you that may not be their true intention at all and could just be their polite way of saying that they aren’t interested in you at the moment.

When More Than 1 Agency Wants You

As the photo accompanying this post illustrates, you may come to a point where you have to choose between two agencies...maybe even more. While they all seem the same, they aren't and you may be unknowingly comparing apples and oranges (or in the case of the photo, apples and--what the heck is that? A sandwich? lol).

Anyways, to get to the point, having even just one agency interested in signing you puts you ahead of the other aspiring models. But if you find yourself with multiple offers, don't get a huge head just yet (although it'll be hard not to!) because you’ll be facing some important decisions.

In the end it is ultimately your decision (and your parents) when it comes to which one you want to take the plunge with. In case you’re worried about finding yourself in this situation, there are a few things you should keep in mind to help your decision along:

First, don’t just go off of which agency is more well known than the other. Using that alone may not work out in your best interest. It’s easy to look at a large agency and automatically think of how far so-and-so got by signing with them. Yes, that is promising evidence of an agency’s capabilities but at the same time, you’ve got to think not about what the agency has done for other models, but what they can do for your modeling career.

Second, think about your future plans with school. Are these agencies located out of state or a few hours away? Are you willing to relocate and maybe pursue college somewhere away from home? If you want to pursue school or know for a fact that you don’t want to go far, then stick to local agencies until you finish high school and have a more solid idea of what colleges you want to go to. You always have the option of switching to a larger modeling agency as your career progresses so don’t get sucked into believing that once you sign with an agency that’s it and you’re stuck.

Third, choose an agency based on how comfortable you are with them. These are people you will be interacting with on a fairly frequent basis. You won’t want to deal with a snooty-poot or an agency that doesn’t treat you with respect. And trust me, there are agencies large and small who carry that “higher than thou” attitude—even towards their own models.

No matter how great an agency is, it isn’t worth much if you aren’t happy with the people representing you. If you’ve got two stellar agencies vying for you, interview with them and get familiar with the agency itself. Which one makes you feel more comfortable and welcome? Chances are, that’s the one for you.

Of course one solution to accepting multiple offers is if you are dealing with agencies with non-exclusive contracts. If each agency has this type of contract, that means you are free to sign with as many other non-exclusive contract agencies as you want—just make sure you adhere to which markets and agencies you can have multiple representation in.

The catch to this arrangement though is that you may be required to travel more frequently. The more agencies you have representing you, the greater your chances are of booking gigs. Make sure you’re willing to devote that extra time and effort to shoots, go-sees, and meetings with your agent. That means you most likely won’t have room for sports, hobbies or school-related activities. However, if you’re dealing with exclusive contract agencies, you can only pick one.

Dania Denise Tries Out for Fashion on the Square in San Francisco 2008 (200th Blog Post!!!)

Hey, all! For those of you who haven’t heard of Fashion on the Square (also known as FOTS), it is one of the largest outdoor fashion shows on the West Coast. Each year they have FOTS in San Francisco. For some time now I have always heard about FOTS in San Francisco from friends in the industry and other models I worked with.

The surprising thing about it is the models that I talked to who did FOTS—a fashion runway show—were shorter than me! I thought, “What kind of high profile runway show uses us shorties?” So I figured they got in because they knew a designer. Well, come to find out that FOTS does not hold any size or height requirements. I knew I had to give it a shot.

I got an email from one of the many casting networks I’m a part of, advertising the start of the casting phase for this year’s show, set for Saturday, July 19th in Union Square in San Francisco. So last Friday, May 16 I headed over to Brooks College of Fashion in Sunnyvale after work to try out. Luckily I arrived near the end of the casting so there was only one other girl there. I wore a pair of dark, form-fitting jeans, black heels (about 2-inches) and a simple white top that showed a little bit of midriff.

I filled out an application, gave my headshot (which I wrote my name, email and contact info on the back of as well as my location) and paid the $15 casting donation fee. Then I went into the casting room. There was three people there doing the casting: one was a model I worked with at a local fashion show last year, an older woman and a guy who was videotaping the castings. I introduced myself, and they asked a few questions about my experience and then told me all I had to do was walk twice and that was it.

They played an upbeat Janet Jackson song, I took a deep breath, put on a playful/flirtatious smile and made my way down the room to my mark, posed, came back, paused and walked again (on the second walk, I did a spin halfway through, while I simply walked back and forth the first time so I switched it up a little bit). I was really nervous but I made sure to smile and show good body language and I made eye contact with the two women.

They said I had a really good walk, a great smile and presence. That was really great to hear, especially since I don’t normally do fashion/runway at all and they’ve been casing for FOTS in San Francisco since it began a few years ago. They told me that they would call the models they wanted around the beginning of June. So I’ve got a bit more waiting to do but I really hope I get that phone call!

Nik from ANTM cycle 5 was the celebrity host last year and I am excited to find out what celebrity hosts, guests and designers will be this year. It’s definitely something I hope I get to finally be a part of!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Ford Models Needs Fit Models in San Francisco

While browsing through the latest modeling gigs online, I saw that Ford put up a casting call on Craigslist looking for fit models. I spoke about fit modeling a while back on this blog but I thought it would be cool to show you guys an example of what an agency looks for. It’s no fashion modeling gig but it is pretty cool to try on the designs that have yet to be seen by the public. I’ve done fit modeling go-sees for Old Navy and Banana Republic in the past (although I’m often too petite in size to really fit the garments haha) and it’s really fun and easy work that pays well.

Here is the direct post from Craigslist that Ford put up a few days ago (note that they stress being able to stay at the same measurements). If you happen to be in the Bay Area and fit these measurements, now’s your chance so give them a call!

Reply to: gigs-668988457@craigslist.org (it’s probably better to just call them instead of email)
Date: 2008-05-05, 1:19PM PDT

FORD Models is currently searching for female fit models. You must be between 20-30 years old. Fit modeling involves trying on prototypes of garments with designers, patternmakers and merchants to help perfect the fit. More information can be found at: http://money.cnn.com/2003/12/09/pf/more_sixfigjobs/index.htm)

The measurement specifications are as follows:

Height: 5’8” – 5’ 9.5”
Chest: 35” – 37”
Waist: 26” – 27”
Low Hip: 35.5” – 37.5” (widest point around bottom)
Thigh: 21” – 23”

If you have the following measurements please contact us to set up an appointment. You MUST be with in 1/2" of the requirements to qualify. You MUST be able to maintain your size.

Thank you.

Ford Models

The Latest on Dania Denise...

So let’s see…for the past month or so I slowed down on taking modeling gigs because I was getting too busy and with the weather getting so beautiful, I wanted to sit back and enjoy spending time with friends and family. Of course the itch to get back to modeling came back soon enough and now I’m opening myself up for taking on more projects again.

Although I am actively taking on projects again I am keeping the load light so that I don’t stretch myself too thin and exhaust myself, which I have the unfortunate habit of doing at times. This month I have a jewelry shoot on May 18th with a great photographer (David Quinn) and makeup artist (Rachelle Dalton) for my portfolio (you can search their names on the site www.ModelMayhem.com to see their portfolios of work). These are the first batch of images that I’ll be showing to Ford so that hopefully they will start submitting me to beauty and cosmetic-related gigs.

Hmm…what else? Ah, I have an upcoming interview with a chef out of Marin, California who is looking for a model/actress to act as his assistant for a pilot episode he is pitching to The Food Network. The contacts he has there have been begging him to do a cooking show for a few years now and he finally feels comfortable enough to take on the project. The shoot takes place in front of a live audience on Sunday, May 25th. He liked my headshot and resume so I’ll be meeting with him sometime this week or the next. If I get the gig, I will be paid (yay!) and will also receive a dvd of the episode for my demo reel—score! I’ve been meaning to build up my reel for a while now—you’d be surprised how hard it is to get copies of the work you’ve done. Bigger clients/companies are so worried about what information and work is being used by the talent so often they don’t reward us with copies of the work we’ve done (I didn’t even get a copy of the Rosetta Stone TV commercial I did in February of this year). Sucks.

Oh, and this Friday I'm attending a model casting call for this year's Fashion On The Square in San Francisco--one of the largest outdoor fashion shows on the West Coast! I've been dying to be in this show but never knew when the castings were. Luckily, one of my new contacts sent me the info and I'll be auditioning in a few days. There are no size or height requirements, which I think is awesome so it should prove to be an interesting experience if I get in. Not to mention that the show is held in Union Square in SF which is right next to Ford's office. I'm sure me walking the runway in that show will get their attention! :) Wish me luck--I really hope I get in--while it is an open casting call, they don't take everybody and they do pay the models in the show...a major plus.

So that’s the most current stuff I’ve been involved with lately. Don’t worry, there are more fun-filled posts with tips and tricks of the trade to come. I’ll start to focus on the role that parents play in their child’s modeling careers as well—can’t forget about them! :)

Update on Me & Ford

Sometimes if you feel that your agency should do things a little differently or if you are concerned about the direction they are taking your career in, then you should let them know. For a while now I’ve been hoping that Ford would start submitting me to different types of castings or find clients that are looking for ethnic models. I also started to wonder what the San Francisco market was looking like now that the weather is getting better so I gave my direct booking agent at Ford, Stephanie, a call. We talked about how the market at this point in time was cyclical and they literally have to take things week by week, since the clients and the range of work varied so much. Luckily, she did assure me that my look was in demand and that they were submitting me to everything they had.

I also used this opportunity to voice my concern over my photos that are currently on Ford’s website (wish I could show it to you all but Ford requires a login name and password so the galleries of talent can’t be viewed by the public—hey, I don’t make the rules!). For a long time I’ve felt that the images chosen weren’t the strongest and I know of other photos from the shoot that would have been great on the site but were never used. My booker definitely listened to my concerns and said that she would go back through my film and find newer pictures to update. The fact that I mentioned my photos on the site actually caused her to realize that they hadn’t updated my images in a few months so there you go—if I hadn’t spoken up, they never would have recognized the need to switch out the images.

During this talk, I also asked what the agency’s standards were for accepting photos from shoots I’ve done on my own. She said they were definitely open to look at images from test shoots I’ve done. Luckily, I have an awesome jewelry shoot booked for May 18th, and she said that once I receive the CD of images, I should come by the agency to take a look at them. I told her that I strongly felt I could do well with cosmetic and beauty gigs and she agreed and is excited to see the photos.

Only by keeping the lines of communication open with your agent can you really compromise on how to market yourself. And now Ford knows that I am really eager to take my career to the next level and hopefully this year will open up new opportunities.

Walking With Other Runway Models

I recently received a comment on my post, titled “The Runway Walk,” asking if I could briefly talk about how to walk with other runway models. While the comment wasn’t too clear what “walking with other models” meant, I’ll do my best to explain it in this post.

In runway shows, you are one of many models, obviously. Most shows leave each model on his/her own to strut down the catwalk, pose at the end and come back. During this time, the next model is already on his/her way towards the catwalk and you may have to pass by them. Most of the time there is no interaction between two models passing each other on the catwalk.

However, some fashion shows tend to switch things up a bit and may require that you play off of each other while on stage. In this case, you can do anything from giving a playful wink at each other, turning your head to “stare them down” in a playfully competitive way or even give them a hi-five (this is rare, though in high fashion shows).

The majority of fashion shows require models to simply pass each other with no further interaction. During these situations, continue to stay focused and do not let the other model distract you. Maintain your composure as well as your expression and do not lose the tempo you have set in your walk.

Even though catwalks tend to be narrow, there should be plenty of room for two models to walk at the same time…be sure you do not brush against the other model and keep a safe gap of a few inches in between as you pass by.

If for some reason you have to interact with another model during a show, pay attention to their body language and play off of that…the theme of the show and the types of outfits being worn will also determine how you should play off one another.

For female fashion models paired up with a guy model, if the tone is classy and chic, walk arm-in-arm with a graceful air. More edgy and urban? Then don’t be afraid to smile flirtatiously at your partner and walk with a little more sway in your hips. No matter how you are interacting with another model, above all else do not be stiff. Show body language that reflects your comfortability with your partner.

Fashion models tend to go solo while on the catwalk but you do have to remember that there are other models in the show with you. At the end when everyone comes out in a line, keep the tempo and feel free to relax and smile since it is the end of the show and you are no longer required to have your blank stare or fierce expression.