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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Thursday, August 28, 2008

My Makeup Look: Joy O Designs Test Shoot

I'm pretty excited because I recently updated my makeup arsenal from MAC. And I learned some great application techniques that allowed me to do my makeup myself for my test shoot with Joy O Designs.

I thought it'd be fun to let you know how I did my makeup and what products I used. You know, a little insider stuff...what female model doesn't want to know about makeup? LOL. Mind you, I don't wear makeup on a daily basis and only for when I have shoots and castings but the girl in me can't help but be interested in makeup for what it's worth!

My skin type is combination (dry cheeks and oily T-zone--forehead, nose, and chin) and I have eczema so my complexion is naturally slightly discolored. I got lucky and had the manager of the MAC store advising me that day so she totally filled me in on what I would need and showed me how to apply everything.

This is a picture of me the day of my test shoot (ah, the perks of having a photographer for a boyfriend!). The designer told me to go natural with the look so I kept it simple with foundation, powder, light pink lipstick and mascara with no eyeshadow.

So how did I get that natural look? First, I cleansed with the Clinique 3-step mild facial cleanser. Then I applied a Biore pore strip to minimize the appearance of my large pores (which I hate!). I followed that up with the Clinique 3-step mild facial lotion, which is their term for toner. My oily T-zone loves toner! Afterwards, I moisturized thoroughly with Atopalm MLE Cream, which is a special skin care item that is only sold through online retailers. It's unscented and created by dermatologists so it's ideal for those with sensitive skin, and skin conditions like eczema, rosacea, and acne.

The line of Clinique 3-step facial cleanser, based on skin type.

Biore Pore Strips (I only use them on the day of shoots or once a week when I can't stand my pores anymore on my nose).

The line of Clinique mild facial lotion (toner), based on skin type.

Atopalm MLE Cream. A bit pricey (between $25-36) but worth it. I haven't used a different moisturizer in three years! It's great for prepping the skin for makeup.

After this skin care preparation, I let the moisturizer sit on my face for 5-10 minutes. Makeup always goes on smoother when your complexion is well moisturized. Once my face was ready, I used a makeup brush to apply my foundation.

Then I used a large brush to apply my powder to take care of shine and followed up with brow powder to fill in my eyebrows, using an angled brush to line them. After my foundation and eyebrows were taken care of, I then applied two coats of mascara (with no eyeliner as requested by the designer) and used a lip brush to apply my lip color.

I used to use MAC's spray on foundation, but the MAC manager put me onto this liquid foundation that contains spf 15 (it comes in handy for protecting your complexion from those harmful UV rays!). To apply it evenly, I used a makeup brush and basically painted it onto my face and used my fingertips to blend when needed.

For powder, I used MAC Mineralize Skinfinish and used a large brush for application.

Brow powder definitely comes in handy, especially for my crazy eyebrows. Angled brushes are ideal for getting the right lines and blending naturally.

Sometimes I find that the MAC Zoom Lash tends to make my lashes a little clumpy so after I apply one or two coats, I follow up with a regular unused mascara wand to break up my lashes. The lip brush works wonders for applying my lipstick evenly, whereas using the actual tube of lipstick tends to make the color get caught in the creases of my lips. Since I didn't use any eyeshadow, I made sure to apply foundation and powder to my eyelids as well. Had I chosen to wear eye color, the foundation would serve as a great primer.

All in all with practice, I can do this makeup look from start to finish in about 10-15 minutes max. Often I'll get up very early just so I'll have plenty of time to apply my makeup. It takes practice but if I can manage it, knowing full well that I hardly ever wear makeup, then I know you'll be able to do it, too!

Test Shoot for Joy O Designs

I had the great opportunity to come across a model casting for a jewelry designer who was in need of a new face for her jewelry company. After checking out the website and seeing that not only was it legit but popular on the red carpet, I knew I had to submit. So I sent along my photos and information and got a reply. The jewelry designer's name is Joy of Joy O Designs and she was very interested in meeting with me so we set up a date and time for a test shoot at her boutique in San Francisco.

I made sure to get there early with plenty of time to find parking. She told me to bring simple, plain black tops, wear my hair in a ponytail and wear makeup that was more natural. Joy was such a sweetheart and we clicked immediately. We were joking and getting to know one another the whole time. It was nice to talk to a client who was genuinely interested in what I was doing and the feeling was definitely mutual. If you're ever in the San Francisco area, I highly suggest visiting her boutique for the cutest jewelry, handbags and clothes (she owns the store with two partners who do the bags and clothes).

Because it was a test shoot, we did a simple set up in her office with her digital camera. I got to model some of her newer pieces which hadn't been displayed yet. She also expressed the desire to do more involved photoshoots down the line with an edgy fashion or editorial feel. I made sure to let her know that despite my height, I definitely knew how to do fashion and editorial, which she was very happy to hear.

Here are some of the test shots we got from that day. All in all it took a little less than an hour:

This necklace is slated to appear in Lucky Magazine (not my test shoot photo, though!).

The awesome thing is that a few hours later after I got home from the shoot, Joy let me know that she would love to work with me so I'm the new face for her latest jewelry line! Very exciting...we're hoping to schedule our first shoot with her new photographer this coming Monday but nothing's been finalized yet. As her regular model, I'll be working with her once to twice a month as new items become available. As you'll see from the Joy O Designs website, her jewelry has appeared on Eva Longoria and Anne Hathaway...Joy even showed me the actual Thank You note that Eva sent her, thanking her for the earrings! Can you say cool?

A Lot of Changes in My Life...For the Better!

Ah, so many things can happen in life. But I believe in blessings in disguise. It's time to catch up on what Dania Denise has been up to! =)

So for those of you that don't know, in addition to modeling I also hold down a full-time office job. Needless to say things got hectic from time to time with juggling castings, shoots, and my work schedule. My company doesn't know that I model (I learned the hard way from past experience to keep such knowledge to myself) so at times I ran myself ragged with making excuses and taking time off. If you're wondering why I don't do modeling full time, refer to my past post on the subject. Of course over time things change and boy have they ever!

My boss is a beast...totally disrespectful, doesn't particularly think much of women and we've butted heads since day one. But I bit my tongue and hung in as long as I could (one year to be exact). Well, I finally had enough verbal harassment and decided that it was time to get out and find a part-time job that would provide a steady paycheck but allow me enough freedom to take on as much modeling as I could without stepping on anyone's toes. So I started sending out resumes on my own time. The day me and my boss had our last blowout, I decided to stop being quiet so I complained about him to my other boss. I let her know that I felt unappreciated, disrespected and didn't deserve the way he was talking to me and treating me. I did what no one else at our company had done: I stood up for myself. And I made sure to do it with tact and professionalism. After that day I knew my time there was limited and hoped that a new job would come through sooner than later.

Now in addition to my new goal of pursuing modeling full-time, I also wanted to pursue my art full-time as well. I started my own art business, DDM Creations, last year. I specialize in murals, acrylic paintings, comic book art, illustration, business card and logo design, Photoshop art, and a bunch more. Additionally, being a writer/journalist, I also freelance writing gigs for a few websites (mainly eHow.com and Carefair.com). Well, I got lucky and snagged a job as the Store Artist for the new Trader Joe's opening up just a few miles away from where I stay. With my new job in the bag, it was just a matter of time before I would quit my office job and walk away from the corporate world forever.

Well, my company beat me to it. Upset that I had spoken out against him, my boss decided he couldn't employ someone who was going to "rock the boat." I came into work about two weeks ago, only to be told that they conveniently found someone who could do her job and my job and was more qualified so they were letting me go. Crazy, huh? However, I took it as a blessing in disguise and was very happy when they handed me my last check, which covered me for the rest of the month. I left happy and in surprisingly high spirits for someone who just got laid off. I haven't started at Trader Joe's yet so I've been enjoying the time off.

The saying "when it rains, it pours" tends to be used only for negative situations but in my case it turns out this is also true for good things happening! Soon as I left my job, I suddenly started booking modeling gigs left and right! Lately I've been doing 2-3 shoots a week and now that my schedule is completely open I can now do shoots on weekends, weekdays, early morning, late at night, whatever is needed! As if that isn't enough, I joined a networking website for my art and writing services and have been steadily snagging art projects and writing jobs as well. I've been doing all my favorite passions in life full-time and I cannot tell you how wonderful these past few weeks have been!

It took a long time for me to stop being scared and staying cushy and protected in the corporate world but now that I'm out, I know without a doubt that I'd do it all over again. There are so many shoots I've got coming up that I'll be posting again shortly to let you know all the details!

(The picture associated with this post is of me at my "home office." It's my main hub of all the networking, emailing, and casting work that I submit myself for. It's my favorite part of where I live! I was double checking driving directions before heading to an all-day shoot for a winery out of Healdsburg, California).

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Answering a Reader Question #24

Anonymous Wrote:

Hi i understand everything you said about the contracts but what if you signed the contracted and they asked me to pay 250 dollars a year for three years for the website crap, plus an additional 20% which i know is normal when i ever get a job!. I've already signed the contract like a dummy and its almost a year and i've only been to one audition! How can i get out of this!

sign, Help I've been fooled!

Uh-oh! That sounds fishy to me. The 20% is fine but what's with the $250 a year stuff?! I know that many agencies (not all but some) now have additional fees due to website and gallery features that have their models on it, which is totally legit, but that price is pretty steep. I pay $9.00 a month to have myself listed online for one of my agencies (I have two, one for acting and one for modeling) and even then it isn't as much as $250 a year.

The fact that you've only received one audition does not justify the amount of money you are putting into it. If you haven't spoken to your agent about the lack of work, you should. Before severing ties or getting out of your contract you should do everything you can to communicate what you want your agency to do and how they can meet your needs. However, if you've been there and done that, it sounds like it's time for you to move on.

In order to get out of your contract, which all models are allowed to do by law, you'll need to refer to your actual contract. It should have a clause that explains what steps you need to take in order to opt out or terminate your contract. Usually you have to give a written notice but it varies from agency to agency. So take a look at your contract and see what it says. If you can't find your contract or it doesn't state such a clause then write a letter stating that you would like to terminate your contract effective immediately. You don't need to go into detail and you don't even need to explain why. Keep it brief and note the date you wrote the letter and snail mail it to the agency. Do not send it via email because it is easy to delete and you would never know if they received it or not.

I hope that helps and feel free to send me a personal email if you need help with this matter further. Good luck!

Monday, August 25, 2008

What to Do When an Agency Doesn't Have a Website

In this day and age just about everything is available on the Internet, most notably through websites. From the large corporations to your friends, just about everyone has their own website. So what do you do when a modeling agency you come across online does not have its own website to showcase?

Just a decade ago, many businesses weren't visible on the Internet via websites. Many dealt with business as usual. Modeling agencies also followed this path. Back in those days, you either had to call the agency, attend open calls, or simply snail mail your photos and hope for the best.

Not all modeling agencies had snazzy websites that offered all the information you needed for submitting pictures or attending open casting calls. Of course this is no longer the case. Everyone knows that if you want to make an impact and a good first impression, you'll need a website.

It goes without saying that the large agencies (Elite, Willie, Ford, etc.) have the best looking websites chock full of information. Even smaller market agencies have their own websites, some not so impressive looking and others looking fairly credible. So what about that one modeling agency (or two) that doesn't have anything at all? There could be a number of reasons for this.

Just because an agency doesn't have its own website you can check out, that doesn't necessarily mean that it is a scam. But it should raise a red flag for you. In case you weren't aware, websites cost money. Some considerably more than others but even your most basic, seemingly "free" website still has its own costs"

1) Purchase of the domain name
2) Subscription to the provider of your website (monthly or yearly)
3) Misc costs (Graphic designer)

Small market agencies that don't make big bucks may not be able to afford website costs and choose to forgo having one. Maybe that agency is doing well as is and doesn't need the assistance of the website to bring in more work. We personally don't know the reason why a modeling agency doesn't have a website.

If you're not in the hot spot of agencies and find out that your local agencies don't have websites you can refer to, don't lose hope yet. You can do one of two things: call or visit the agency in person. Unfortunately, this is the only way you can make sure you know who you're dealing with, since you can't check it online. Phone them and ask what their photo submission guidelines are or when and if they hold open casting calls. Or simply drop by (with a parent or guardian if you are under 18) and see what they're all about with your own eyes.

Not sure if this agency is legit? Then you'll want to refer to my past posts to make sure you're dealing with an actual modeling agency:

What a Real Agency Does
Signing That Contract!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Beauty of the Modeling Business Card

As a model, comp/zed cards are a part of the industry. These serve as your calling card or business card, which lists your stats, contact info and your photos. Agencies use this as an easy way for clients to see who you are and what projects you'd be ideal for.

However, for freelance models and agency represented models who also find their own work, you may want to look into having a regular business card for your modeling endeavors.

While comp cards are perfect for the industry, they are usually pretty large in size (much larger than a business card). Most agency represented models don't deal with the comp cards unless they bring them to a casting or go-see, and the agencies tend to keep them at the office.

So what are you to do when you're on your own and see a great potential for networking or come across a client you really want to work with? Handing them a comp card is one solution but like I mentioned above, they are awkwardly sized and can be a nuisance to carry around. This is where the business card comes in handy.

The standard business card size is 2"x3.5", which is perfect for sticking into a wallet or pocket for safekeeping. Of course you can't fit all the same content onto a business card that you would a comp card but that's okay. All you need to do is make sure you've got a good headshot on one side and you can include a full body shot or other image on the other side.

Also make sure to include your name, stats (optional but ideal), and contact info (you may want to avoid putting your phone number. An email address is fine or the number of your booking agent if you have one). Just as there are a number of ways to do the layout for a comp card, you can design your business card to fit your needs. Freelance models will find this especially helpful.

Many printing companies allow you to upload your own designs or you can build it using their premade templates. It's up to you. I personally love using business cards and have not really relied on my comp cards at all. After each photoshoot I do, I hand them out to the photographer, stylist and whoever else should need it.

A business card can be just the solution you need for getting your name and face out there to the right people at a price that won't break your wallet.

(In case you're interested in having a modeling business card done, I personally design and print business cards through my art business, DDM Creations (and for a fairly affordable price, too, much more affordable than the competition). I'm a Photoshop whiz so all you'd need to do is provide me with your images and what information and fonts you'd like. I can also upload and order your cards for you online and have them shipped directly to your address. So in a sense, all you have to do is wait for your business cards to arrive! If you're interested in this, shoot me an email--see my main profile page for my personal email address)

Monday, August 18, 2008

My Modeling Song List for Photoshooots

I did a post a while back talking about playing music during a photoshoot to help get you into the right mood and help with posing. Did you know that Giselle listens to classical music during her shoots? It's true.

It doesn't matter what your musical tastes are, as long as it gets you in the right frame of mind to pull off amazing images, it helps to put together your own song list just for modeling.

I have a few CDs that I use for modeling. I tend to update them from time to time, especially when certain songs get played out for me. I thought it would be fun to share my latest song list of my "Model Mix" CD that I currently use. This particular batch of songs have great beats that make my body move and totally make me feel sexy. Of course I don't use it for all my shoots and sometimes I'll choose more mellow music depending on the theme of my shoot.

It helps to ask the photographer you're working with ahead of time if it's okay to bring music. Most won't mind at all and may already have their own music ready to play. Sometimes you'll have to shoot with no music in the background but if there is a chance to play some tunes then go for it!

Be sure to play music that is free of explicit lyrics (radio edit versions are ideal) and while many photographers are open to all kinds of music, it never hurts to be polite and ask what their musical preference is as well (they have to listen to the music, too!).

My Current Modeling Song List:

1) Britney Spears "Gimme More"
2) Eve "Tambourine"
3) Danity Kane "Damaged"
4) Teriyaki Boyz "Tokyo Drift"
5) Gwen Stefani "Yummy"
6) Ida Corr "Let Me Think About It"
7) Kat DeLuna "Whine Up"
8) Nelly "Bay"
9) Lil Mama, Chris Brown & T-Pain "Shawty Get Loose"
10) Nump "Grapes"
11) Baby Bash & Sean Kingston "What Is It?"
12) Pitbull & Trina "Go Girl"
13) Pussy Cat Dolls "Hot Stuff"
14) Vanity 6 "Nasty Girl"

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Dreaded Polaroid Camera

If there’s anything that makes my modeling boots shake, it’s the Polaroid camera. As a model, why on Earth would I be scared of a camera (and an old school one at that!)? Well, simply put, I HATE how my picture looks.

I swear, I can never take a good Polaroid picture. Feel free to agree with me so that I know I’m not alone. Haha. However, as much as I dislike it, the Polaroid camera is a part of the modeling industry and one that you should get familiar with.

Modeling agencies rely on their trusty Polaroid camera when it comes to taking snapshots of models for open casting calls, as well as those they invite for an interview. Some agencies, like Ford, actually post their models’ Polaroid flicks along with their professional photos on the gallery page of the agency’s website. Many castings and go-sees you’ll attend will also use a Polaroid camera to place your name with the right face.

Below are samples of Polaroid pictures taken of models:

So with all the technological advancements, why is the modeling industry so dependent on ancient photography equipment? Easy: it saves time and distinguishes those who are really photogenic. Using a Polaroid saves time because, unlike nifty digital cameras, you don’t have to transfer the media from the camera to the computer and wait to upload it. The Polaroid spits it out right then and there.

Also, it’s like the truth finder…you can be the most attractive person on the planet but one single Polaroid can put you in your humble place! If you can manage to take great Polaroid pictures, kudos to you! But before you get scared at the thought of stepping in front of a Polaroid, just know that most agencies and casting folks don’t analyze the quality of the Polaroid like they would a typical shot from a photoshoot. For the most part, taking a Polaroid is simply to remind them who is who.

Remember, they deal with a lot of people on a daily basis. If it makes you feel any better, get a Polaroid camera and practice taking pictures just for the heck of it. But if you don’t manage to master wooing a Polaroid, don’t lose sleep over it—this won’t cost you a shot with an agency or a really great modeling gig.

Now, as dreaded as I find my own Polaroid pictures to be, no one at the agency or casting office has ever said, “Oh, you look horrible!” Apparently, if no one is complaining, then I’m in the clear so while this may be a somewhat dramatic post on my part, I sometimes enjoy poking fun at myself and my still present insecurities. Yes, they do exist, even after 10 years! So breathe a sigh of relief, I’m totally human just like you. ;)

Sending Pictures to a Modeling Agency: Professional or Non-Professional, Which is It?

There is still some debate as to whether or not aspiring models should send non-professional photos or professional photos to modeling agencies in hopes of seeking representation.

My personal and professional opinion: non-professional photos all the way. There are some that may disagree with me, and that’s fine, but I will speak for a bit about this topic and why I suggest non-pro over pro.

In all my time researching and being a part of the modeling industry, 99% of all agency websites I’ve looked at specifically requested that aspiring/new models send in non-professional photos. Some even went as far as to say that those who sent in professional pictures would not be looked at. Case and point.

When in doubt, go with what the agency states on their site or when you speak to them. No two agencies are the same so of course there are going to be instances where professional photos may be required but the majority of the time, all they simply want are snapshots. That means a digital camera, someone with a steady hand, and the right photos.

Why would a regular snapshot be more impressive to a modeling agency than a professional one? Think about it: just about anyone can look fabulous once you add makeup, hair styling, lighting techniques, professional photography and Photoshop…and I mean anybody. Agencies don’t care about that—they’ll see more than enough professional photos of you once you’ve been signed and start working. They see true talent when a girl or guy can rock a digital snapshot without the fancy tricks, lighting, and makeup.

If you can look gorgeous with no makeup in a snapshot, that’s what an agency will notice. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard horror stories of agencies and clients loving a girl or guy’s picture, only to see them in person—and they look NOTHING like the photo! How they think they can get away with this, I’ll never know, but it happens. So requiring non-professional photos is a quick way around that.

Now, the ONLY time most (notice I didn’t say “all”) modeling agencies will request professional photo submissions is if you are currently a model already with representation who may be seeking a new agent or a professional freelance model that has been getting work but now seeks agency representation.

They state it pretty specifically on their websites. In this situation, of course it helps to submit professional photos because then they can look at your portfolio and body of work to see if you’re worth representing. New models don’t have that advantage so the picture requirements are slightly different.

This is why I stress doing your research on agencies you want to submit to. Don’t make the mistake of doing a pro photoshoot first and then planning on sending those images if you are a new model. Find out what is needed first and then take action.

It’s Okay to Get Your Feet Wet

So in my usual online travels through websites and forums, I came across one thread by an aspiring model that was talking about her experiences taking modeling classes. Another person responded to her thread, stating that she, too, took modeling classes, only to find out afterwards that she didn’t really like modeling and decided it wasn’t for her.

I couldn’t help but think in both of these girls’ cases: Geez, that’s a lot of money down the toilet! The original poster of the thread did have a point that it’s sometimes necessary to take classes to see if you’d like it…however, where I would disagree with her is about the classes part. The only way to know if you’ll like being a model is if you have some experience with it right? Sure, why not? But you don’t have to throw your money away by taking modeling classes.

Most models have natural talent. They have that “it” factor. They possess the physical requirements and are naturally photogenic, expressive, etc, etc. But maybe there are some of you who aren’t sure if this is something you want, or maybe you really want it but still doubt if you’d be good at it.

Now I always stress that if you can’t commit to modeling 100%, then you shouldn’t pursue it at all because there are many others that live and breathe the industry, and it wouldn’t be fair to them for someone to make it who doesn’t have their heart in it. But there are exceptions to the rule, which is the point of this post in the first place. Don’t worry, there’s method to my madness (wink).

So, I would advise that instead of paying for modeling classes to “teach you” about the modeling industry, simply do a test shoot with a professional photographer to see if you actually like the feel of the experience. I’m not saying do such a shoot to get pictures to submit to agencies (I’ve stated many times that you should submit non-professional pictures for this purpose) so look at this suggestion as a way to “test” the waters, hence, the title and related image for this post.

I know of one aspiring model who did just that: she got together with her sister, who happened to be a trained photographer, and did a test shoot. And she did not like the experience, therefore, she knew modeling was not for her. And I completely appreciated her maturity and decision on the subject.

There is nothing wrong with finding a good photographer that is willing to trade some shooting time in exchange for copies of your photos. If you’re underage, I still stress having a parent/guardian preferably 21+ present during the shoot. The test shoot can be a great way for you to get your feet wet, see how you handle being in front of a camera, and finding out what you can really do.

By going this route, you avoid spending hundreds to thousands of dollars on modeling schools and classes, and aren’t obligated to do the whole agency search just yet. This can be done on your time. You may be surprised by the experience and it could truly be a way for you to know in your heart if this industry is one you should pursue. Sometimes the only way to know what you’re getting yourself into is to test the waters before spending a lot of time and energy on it.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Latest Casting Call: Verizon Print Ad

Today I got to break up the monotony of my office job to head to San Francisco for a casting for a Verizon print ad. Luckily, the photography studio where the casting was being held was right on the outskirts of the city and right next to the freeway. That meant no crazy maneuvering within the city and plenty of free parking!

The great thing about this casting was that no appointments were needed...all I had to do was show up anytime between 1pm-5pm so I gave myself plenty of time. I made sure to arrive a little after 1pm, and sat in my car for a few minutes to apply my lipstick and add a touch of powder to combat any shine.

Because Verizon is a very commercial product, I kept my outfit business casual: black capri slacks, peep-toe heels and a short-sleeved, emerald green shirt with a scooped neckline. I didn't apply any eye shadow, just mascara to give my lashes length and a subtle pink shade of lipstick with a tiny touch of gloss.

I signed in and filled out a contact sheet form, where I also had to list my measurements/stats. Once I filled that out, I turned in my form along with my headshot (never go to a casting call without a headshot--even if your agent doesn't tell you to bring one), and the casting director gave me a dry erase board with a number on it. I greeted the photographer and he told me to keep it simple and cheery but not cheesy. Lol.

First he took a medium shot with me holding the number card then I tossed that aside and he took a full body shot with me standing at a 3/4 angle. Then he took a final medium shot of me with my hands displayed in front of my chest, which was so crazy to me because right before I left work to head to the casting I had been looking at my nails and decided to give myself a quick manicure. I cut the longer nails down, filed them, cleaned them and applied a light coat of clear polish. Man, I must be psychic because if I hadn't paid attention to that small detail, my grimy nails and hands may have cost me the casting! So yes, the little details do matter!

And that was it! Three shots and I was outta there in less than 5 minutes flat (the majority of castings are like this. This isn't an actual photoshoot so you've got to be photogenic and show your best in only 1-3 photos. If you feel rushed, don't take it personal, that's simply how the process works). As I stepped outside, I saw a very attractive older woman walking in my general direction. So I decided to pay her a compliment.

As she got closer, I told her I thought she was gorgeous and she returned the compliment. It turned out she was there for the casting as well. We talked briefly about how crazy it was that we drove 30-45 minutes to get to a casting that only took 5 minutes and how dedicated we were to our modeling careers. She asked me what agency I was with and when I told her that I was with Ford, she said that she was, too! What a small world.

She was an older lady, maybe in her 40s but man, she looked great! She was Caucasian, with light blonde hair that was cut kind of short and she had a great smile and complexion. The perfect lifestyle/commercial print model. We gave each other thumbs up and best wishes and I headed back to my job.

The Verizon gig shoots in about two weeks and I really hope I get cast. This particular one day shoot for Verizon is paying $1,300.o0...man, I love commercial/print gigs!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Answering a Reader Question #23

Eleni Wrote:

ooohh...thanks...you make me really confident!another thing...what exactly is the portfolio??the Comp/Zed card??and if they contact me and tell me to go to New York for example,I'll pay the plane and all my expenses?[normally yes,right??]

1.000.000 thanks again!!

You’re very welcome, Eleni! =) To answer your questions…

A portfolio is the main body of work that a model has done…portfolios are either shown online in a photo gallery on the agency’s website or printed and displayed in a portfolio case, also called a model’s “book.” New models put their first photoshoot pictures in it to show to clients that want to hire them. Once a model has started booking shoots, they then add the photos from the publications (called tearsheets) into the portfolio. It is basically the model’s resume of work. No model can get work without a good portfolio.

To learn more about comp/zed cards, check out this link to a post I did about the topic in detail. You’ll find all your answer there: Comp/Zed Cards.

As far as traveling, yes, you’ll have to pay your own way since you’d be coming from overseas, however, it would be a great shot and well worth the money to potentially be discovered and signed.

Myspace as a Model Marketing Tool

It seems that everyone is a “model” on Myspace nowadays. However, with all the flack and ridicule it gets, Myspace is still a viable option for promoting yourself and your modeling career, whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pro. All the major models and supermodels have their own Myspace pages, as well as the local and unknown models.

Of course not all girls who are on Myspace with model pages are what I would call “real models.” Many of them just take really good photos but don’t make a living off of it or generate any real income. And that’s fine, that’s them. But what I’m here to talk about with this post is how to use Myspace effectively as a marketing tool to get your name out there.

First, decide on a good layout. I recommend using a custom one that has your photo in the main background. Or you can use a Flash template (lovemyflash.com) to create a really cool layout. But note when you use a Flash template, it takes longer to load the page so for people trying to access your profile on an older, slower computer, this can take forever and may discourage them.

Add a slideshow if you want but don’t go crazy and post too many photos on your main profile page…it gets annoying and can be an eyesore. Once you have the layout complete, now it’s time to choose your photos. Create albums and separate your photos accordingly. Choose simple captions for your images and also include the name of the photographer.

Be professional when filling out the personal information, likes, hobbies, etc. Please no funky typing with half all caps and half all lowercase. No large amounts of slang, shorthand typing (you’re not texting!), and no foul language. While you may have your friends and other buddies viewing your page, you can also have potential clients checking you out as well. Keep it clean.

If you choose to add music that’s fine but choose a song that you wouldn’t be ashamed to have your parents or a total stranger listen to. There are plenty of songs I love but if it’s got foul lyrics or whatever, it’s not going on my page. Actually, I stopped putting songs on my page because of a past radio interview I did.

The radio host went to view my Myspace page as we were talking on-air and the music on my page came blasting through…it scared the crap out of him, me and I’m sure all the listeners! I apologized and it was all good, but still…learn from my lesson and skip out on having music on your profile.

Myspace is a great way to introduce people to you, your modeling career, and to keep them updated on what projects you’re working on. Not only should your friends and family be added to your friends list, but fans as well. Yes, you can have fans without being a household name.

You’d be surprised how cool many fans are—mostly guys of course for female models and vice-versa—who look up to you like a celebrity. These are the people who will vote for you in any modeling contest, purchase anything that has you on it, and will always send over kind words of support. The blog feature is also great for keeping people up to speed on the daily happenings in your life.

Of course you will get weirdoes and maybe some stalker types on there but the great thing is that Myspace has lots of features that let you block profiles. Never give your personal contact information or address to anyone on Myspace unless it’s a bona fide client or photographer.

Update your Myspace modeling photos often. Anytime you get into something new, post about it on your Myspace. The more often people see new content on your page, they’ll get the idea that you are serious. Not only are there famous supermodels on Myspace, there are modeling agencies with Myspace profiles, too! I’m sure you’ve come across them. Ford is one of the latest to merge with Myspace to conduct their annual “Supermodel of the World” contest.

Agencies now make it easier than ever to find out how to submit photos and you can add them to your friends list to keep updated on what’s new with them. Of course there are some fake/copycat profiles out there, so do your best to only add the ones that seem genuine.

When adding a modeling agency to your friends list, also check out their friends lists. Many of them have the top models, stylists, photographers, magazines, and other industry professionals on their pages so shoot them a friend request, too! This is Internet networking at its best. Heck, if you want to be Myspace friends with me, shoot me a friend request!

So what are the chances that you’ll be “discovered” on Myspace? I have no idea…that’s something you’ll have to put in the time and effort to find out on your own. But even if you don’t get scouted online by a modeling agency, I can guarantee that you’ll find a following of devoted fans that will make you feel like a supermodel. Remember Tila Tequila?

Answering a Reader Question #22

Eleni Wrote:

Hi again Dania...
so, I have some more question...[sorry!]!I serched Elite and Ford's websites and I found some information but I didn't understand something!You enroll there,put some information about you and some photos for FREE??You don't pay anything??and is there the possibility to watch at your information and contact with you if you like to them??and then you start modelling career??

Please could you tell me how it works with enrolling at Ford's or Elite's website??

thanks again and sorry for the so many questions! =)

Hi, Eleni!

To answer your questions, yes, that part of the stage is free. Basically, you go to Elite or Ford’s website, and you enter your information (statistics, contact info, etc.), and upload the photos they ask for and then you send it off…all at no cost! And if they like your look, then the agency will contact you for an interview and if they really like you at the interview, they’ll offer you a modeling contract!

Remember, it doesn’t cost any money to sign with a legit and reputable agency. There should be no upfront fees and you must have a signed contract with them before they can ask you to pay for anything like a portfolio.

So, yes, feel free to send your info and pictures to Elite and Ford for free and see what happens. I didn’t really understand the second part of your question about watching your information and contacting if you like them…? Sorry, lol! But if they are interested, they will contact you. They normally suggest not contacting them so you’ll have to play the waiting game for a while. Hope that helps and never apologize for having questions…I love answering them so keep them coming if you have more!

Beware the GWC!!!

You’re probably wondering what in the world a “GWC” is, right? This term simply stands for “Guy With a Camera.” If this doesn’t sound all that bad, trust me, the GWC is the scourge of the modeling industry—for the most part because he doesn’t even belong in the industry but pretends he does. Still not getting it? Then let me paint a picture of your typical GWC:

A guy goes into a store (sounds like the beginning of a funny bar joke, doesn’t it?) and buys a professional camera worth like $4,000. It’s super fancy, takes great digital photos and is truly a force to be reckoned with. Well, this GWC now thinks that because he’s got a hotshot camera, he’s qualified to take pictures of young, hot models.

So without taking photography classes, reading books about photography or taking any steps towards actually learning his craft, he goes on sites like Craigslist and posts that he’s a photographer looking for young, inexperienced models to shoot with.

His goal: to take pictures of young, unsuspecting girls for his own personal use. The GWC knows what with his fancy camera, he can take pictures of hot girls and hopefully get them to reveal more than just a smile (wink, wink).

Pretty gross, huh? Well, that’s what the GWC is basically. He’s a guy who thinks that his camera gives him the right to label himself a pro and start casting for models to shoot with no intention of building a portfolio or creating images that the model can benefit from. This type of person has no formal training and no actual body of work to showcase. His images are often very amateurish and done with cheesy poses with ugly backgrounds and settings.

Now before I proceed, I will say that there are a score of photographers who never set foot in a photography school/college but managed to learn their craft and make a great business for themselves (my boyfriend is such a photographer).

So be wary of unfairly labeling innocent photographers as GWCs. Because GWCs want to get close to hot girls, they’ll mostly specialize in glamour and lingerie photography. This means the models automatically have to be undressed in some shape or form, which is what the GWC wants.

So how can you avoid the GWC in your modeling endeavors? First off, look at their portfolio or body of work. If he doesn’t even have one to show, that’s the first major red flag. If the images in the portfolio are terrible (trust me, it doesn’t take much to know good photography from bad photography), then chances are his images won’t do anything for your portfolio. See if the models are posed really cheesy or borderline smutty and if the pictures all look like he took them inside of his house or garage.

Another quick sign that a so-called photographer is really a GWC is if he doesn’t know how to work his camera. Any photographer that doesn’t know how to use the functions on his pro camera is one to be suspicious of. GWCs don’t always know the lingo or how to use other photography equipment other than the camera itself (lighting, backdrops, etc.).

All legit photographers who do their craft full-time tend to have lists of past clients, tearsheets of previously published work and a roster of models that can serve as references. GWCs tend to not have any of this stuff and may get upset if you ask them to supply you with this information prior to shooting.

Because GWCs often target models that are trying to get into glamour or lingerie modeling, it is extremely important that those of you interested in this type of modeling only work with professional and seasoned photographers. No amateurs. When it comes to doing implied nudity, lingerie or Playboy style nudity, you should be working with a photographer who has plenty of credibility and experience under his belt.

You deserve to be treated with professionalism and respect, not have some GWC drooling on his camera while taking your photos. Professional glamour photographers are wonderful at what they do. I know a couple of photographers who regularly shoot for Playboy and other men’s magazines and their work is amazing. There is a difference between glamour photography and smut. You only want top quality pros for this type of work.

Don’t believe that if you’re new or inexperienced, you can’t work with professional photographers. It’s okay to test shoot with amateurs but at the same time, set your sights higher and seek out seasoned photographers who know what they’re doing. No one should fall prey to shooting with a GWC…his work won’t benefit you in any way and won’t get your work. All he wants is a cheap thrill and you don’t even want to begin to imagine what he does with the photos. Ewww.

Telling the difference between a GWC and a legit photographer is something that varies from situation to situation. That being said, as long as you are dealing with a photographer with a solid portfolio, list of clients and roster of models, you shouldn’t have to worry about a potential GWC.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Answering a Reader Question #21

Eleni Wrote:

hey I'm Eleni :)

I'm 15 years old and I'm 1,70 metres tall and around 52 killos!I'd like to become a model and especially Victoria's secret model but I live in greece and the model agencies in my country aren't very good[I mean modelling career in my country isn't very successful].so what should I do to find a model agency abroad?and if I send photos to agencies via the internet can I trust them??
and another question...are there certain places where "model hunters" are looking for jung girls to make them models??


Hi, Eleni and thanks for reading! Greece...wow! That's too bad that modeling isn't quite popular there. Have you looked into agencies there anyway? It couldn't hurt.

If you do want to look into modeling for an agency overseas, you'll have to look into large markets for modeling. In the USA, you'll want to send your photos to agencies in the following cities: New York, Los Angeles, and Miami. Other places I would suggest are Japan, London, and Paris.

However, if I did my conversions right from meters to feet, I believe you are about one inch shy of the ideal height requirement. For fashion/runway, you should be about 172.72 meters, or in the U.S., 5'8" or taller. However, if you have a great look, an agency may take a chance on you.

When it comes to looking for agencies to send photos to, the Internet can be extremely helpful. Look up the big names first that you are familiar with like Elite, Ford, IMG, Whilhemina, etc. Their websites are very easy to find and contain legit information. As far as your question about sending in photos via email, not all of them will allow you to. Many will ask that you send the images and your information by regular mail. However, for the ones that have you email it to them, they are almost always legit. As long as you are on the agency's official website, your photos and information will only be seen by the staff at the agency and no one else. Sending images via email/Internet is very common nowadays so just make sure you are sending it to the right email address and you shouldn't have any problems.

I can only speak for modeling in the USA but here they usually scout girls in the large modeling markets I mentioned above at places like the shopping malls, theme parks and even at restaurants. As long as you're in the right area where modeling agencies are located, you can be scouted just walking down the street!

I hope that helps and if you have more questions, feel free to shoot me an email and I'd be more than happy to give you some answers and more info. If you need helps locating agencies overseas, please email me as well and I can help you search for them.