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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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Spray Tanning Experience

(I actually can't remember if I've already done a post about this topic and didn't find anything when I did a search on my blog. But if for some reason this is the second time you're reading this, you can disregard it and chalk it up to me getting old and forgetful hahahahah)

Okay, so I'm pretty sure you're thinking, "Dania, you have a 'natural' tan, why on Earth would you need one sprayed on?!" LOL. In the beginning I never even gave spray tanning a thought since I was already pleasantly brown but a few months ago I decided to give it a try.

For those of you that don't already know, I have eczema--the genetic kind so it's not like it's just going to go away, unfortunately--and I have always had to deal with large areas of discoloration.

For the past few years the hyperpigmentation has made itself right at home on my stomach/midsection area. It's been a nuisance to say the least and my one dream has been to have a uniform skin tone from head to toe...see where I'm going with this?

Anyways, a few months ago I had a casting call down in Los Angeles and was told I would need to wear my swimsuit underneath my clothes because they would be taking snapshots. So I figured why not look into getting a spray tan that would simply even out my skin tone?

After some research online I found a local place that was reputable and had a lot of good reviews. I followed the instructions to a tee: I showered, shaved and exfoliated, did not apply any kind of lotion or moisturizer, tied my hair back with a head scarf and wore loose, black shorts and a black tanktop. I was ready to go!

I opted to go nude so that I could try and see if the stretch marks on my butt could be covered up as well as to decrease the chances of tan lines. The type of tanning I got done didn't involve stepping into a booth but having a spray tan technician apply it manually instead. After 10 minutes I was done! I could already start to see the color building up and I got more instructions from the tech about how to care for my tan afterwards. It was pretty tedious and a bit of a hassle to me:

- Avoid showering, sweating or any kind of water for at least 8 hours
- No exfoliating of any kind
- No using body wash, loofahs, wash cloths or scented bar soap like Dove
- No baths or long, hot showers
- Only being able to use body butter instead of regular lotions, which can cause streaking

It may not seem like much but when you do these things on a daily basis without realizing it, it can be difficult to mentally kick yourself into breaking those habits. Unfortunately, the spray tan did nothing for my stretch marks but it worked wonders on my stomach.

For the first time in eons I was one color! I couldn't believe how much more self confidence I had and the funny thing is none of my friends noticed, which was good because that obviously meant it looked natural and I was glad I didn't come out looking like an Oompa Loompa. And wouldn't you know it: after all that, I didn't even have to strip to my swimsuit for the casting in Los Angeles because the casting director forgot to charge her camera battery so it died before the casting even started! But it was okay, at least I was able to enjoy being one color for a while.

I kept my spray tan around for almost two weeks but what I didn't realize was that the spray tan would drive my skin crazy! Having eczema means that I have to exfoliate in order to slough off the layers of dead skin that sometimes causes my dry patches. Not being able to do that for a period of time caused my skin to become super itchy and very uncomfortable--no matter how much I moisturized.

At times it felt like my skin was literally crawling. Finally I couldn't stand it anymore and made an appointment to get a full body scrub at a local day spa--I didn't want to scrub off the tan myself because I figured that it would come out uneven and splotchy.

While the scrub itself only added to the itchiness at first, after she wiped it off and put me in a hot shower OH BOY DID I FEEL GREEEEAAATTT!!! LOL. I stepped out of that shower soft and smooth as a baby's butt! Once my skin could breathe again I knew all was right with the world.

So what's the bottom line on spray tanning? It's a great alternative and while I totally enjoyed the freedom of not appearing like a discolored weirdo, for me it just was not worth the havoc it wreaked on my skin. I now pleasantly turn to moisturizers with gradual self tanners added.

My product of choice for the past few years is the Victoria's Secret Daily Glow Moisturizer in the Medium to Dark Shade. It's $16 but well worth it because it has vitamins A & E as well as aloe. Instead of using an orange-ish, predetermined shade it works with your skin's existing pigmentation so the tan that develops looks completely natural.

As long as you keep using it the color will get darker and once you get the shade you like just stop using it and it will last from 2 weeks to one month--if you're really good about taking care of it. It's worked well on my legs and stomach, although it will never match the complete results that spray tanning got. But hey, I'll just do what I've continued to do my whole life: work with what I have instead of wishing for what I don't.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Quick Update About Becoming a Victoria's Secret Model

I've already done a post about what it takes to become a Victoria's Secret Model but recently came across some additional pieces of information that I thought I would pass along to you VS hopefuls:

If you want to know who has the ultimate say-so of who gets to be a Victoria's Secret Angel, his name is: Edward Razek. This man is the Senior Creative & Chief Marketing Officer for Limited Brands, which is the company that owns VS.

Razek is responsible for personally selecting the models to represent the world famous lingerie company--namely who gets to be on the runway in the VS fashion shows. He has helped to launch the VS careers of dozens of models whose names we would know anywhere: Tyra Banks, Heidi Klum and Gisele, among many others.

For those of you that are not already aware of it, VS does have a Fashion Show Competition to find the next VS Angel. The most recent one was held in October of 2009 and consisted of castings in New York, Miami, Los Angeles and Chicago. The requirements are that contestants be a minimum of 5'8" in height without shoes on (no faking it with the heels, ladies, they will check!) and you have to be a native resident of the United States. Additionally, you have to be between the ages of 18 to 30 years old. I'm sure they'll have this competition again next year and soon as I can get the info I'll be sure to post it on my blog.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Poll Results: What Now?


I know I have two more days left on the poll that I put up but I wanted to post this before I forget. Again, I want to say thank you to everyone that answered. It is amazing to have readers from virtually every part of the globe! Originally, the poll was created to help me get a better idea of where my reader "hot spots" were. Because I plan to travel more and set up meet and greets, knowing where my readers were would help me decide what places to visit.

After the poll has expired I will record the results and delete it. If you haven't had a chance to cast your vote it's okay...it was more for research so don't worry. I've got a pretty good idea of where everyone is so more than likely your area has been represented.

BTW: If you want to set up a meet and greet with me, shoot me an email: daniadenise@gmail.com. The meet and greet would basically consist of me sitting down and getting to know you, my readers (in a public place during the day of course). I will be available to answer questions from you directly, provide advice and basically give you a chance to know me face-to-face. I'll have my portfolio and headshots on hand so that you can see what it looks like as well as handouts with information that you can take home with you to help you get started.

No fees involved at this point so don't worry about that. Of course the more people you can get to attend the meet and greet, the more likely that I will be able to arrange it--as much as I don't mind if the number of people that show up is 3 or 30, it wouldn't be very practical for me to travel if hardly anyone shows up. We've got a whole new year coming up and hopefully among my experiences, it will include meeting you!

Modeling 101 - A Model's Diary...The Book???


Lately I've been getting more and more whispers in my ear that I should write a book based off of my blog. From readers to people in the publishing industry that happen to come across Modeling 101, it seems that my next step should be to compile these posts into an actual book that people can buy and read. I must admit it is a tempting idea, especially since I am a writer and love what I do, however I'm not quite sure if I want to undertake such a project.

For one thing, there are many books on the market about the modeling industry and how to get into it. There are physical books that can be found on bookstore shelves and in ebook form--some sites even allow readers to download free PDFs with such information. So my train of thought is: what would make my book stand out from the competition? And why should they pay for it? Would they pay for it?

I do believe that the view I present of the modeling industry isn't quite like anyone else that's in the field so that is one thing--especially given the fact that I'm not writing from a fashion/runway perspective and would be able to shed more light on the print industry. And I do think that readers could benefit from an actual table of contents with the posts organized according to topic to make it easier to find the specific information you're looking for. Plus I would be able to write about topics in more detail and length...ah, I just don't know!

I didn't start this blog with the intention of making a profit and I'm not that interested in making money off of my readers. If I had a book, whether it was a real book or an ebook, I'm not sure how much I would charge or if anyone would even be interested in paying for it. I mean, why buy a book when you can read my blog for free, you know? And I couldn't bear the thought of taking down my blog so that people would have to purchase the book--that just seems wrong and I don't think I could bring myself to do it anyway.

Maybe I'm overanalyzing this--which I often seem to do--or maybe I should just be content with what I'm doing now. Hmmm...I may do a poll just to get some feedback--as a matter of fact, I think I will do that but I'll wait until my first poll is done.

Feel free to sound off and let me know what you think: to publish or not to publish? I really would be interested in hearing from you guys.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Modeling & Pay Rates: How Much Should You Charge?

(This post is more targeted towards freelance models and not those with agency representation, although it may apply to those that have an agent but continue to find their own work.)

A part of being a successful model is making money from the jobs that you book. However, being a freelance model comes with many challenges--figuring out what you should charge is one of them. I will say upfront that there are no established black and white rules when it comes to pay rates.

Each modeling job is different, each client is different and budgets vary. Ultimately the factors that should influence what you charge should be the amount of experience you have, the strength of the images in your portfolio and the client's budget/needs. Not every client is going to pay what you want to charge.

There may be times when you will be skipped over for charging too much or taken advantage of for charging too little. It's going to happen so be prepared for it and do not take it personally. It comes with the territory.

The level of a model's experience is a huge determining factor when it comes to pay rates. New and inexperienced models can expect to first undergo test shoots to build up their portfolio before charging for their services. There is no actual time limit or specified amount of years you need to be modeling before you can start charging.

However, it is important to make sure you can walk the walk. For example, if you are a new model that has been modeling for a few months and done a couple of test shoots but want to start charging, you better make sure that you can work your poses and deliver as if you're a pro. If a client is paying you anything, they will expect the bar to be very high and if you can't perform, it won't be a good start to your career. So be realistic about your skills and ability when thinking about making the move from strictly doing test shoots to adding in paid shoots.

If you've got a ton of experience and the resume/portfolio to back it up, then clients will understand that using your services will come at a price. Of course not all clients that use freelance models will pay the going industry rate, so even if you have a lot of experience, don't expect to be making the same amount per gig that an agency represented model would.

Are there clients that don't mind paying the industry rates to freelance models that agency models would normally receive? Of course but more times than not you'll be working with clients that have much smaller budgets--hence their need to use freelancers instead of models from an agency.

Some questions you should ask yourself when trying to figure out what to charge a client:

1. What is the client's budget? (usually they will state what they are willing or able to pay--minimum or maximum amount--or will just ask you what you charge for a shoot that lasts "X" amount of hours)

2. What type of gig is it? fashion, commercial, glamour, swimsuit, tradeshow? (swimsuit, glamour and artistic nude clients typically pay higher rates because of the nature of these types of shoots)

3. How long is the shoot? (quick 1-2 hour shoot, a half day, full day or multiple day shoot)

4. Are there any perks involved? (will they pay for transportation, lodging, meals)

5. What do you need to provide? (outfits, do your own hair and makeup, props)

Again, the pay rate for each potential gig should be considered on a case-by-case basis. There is always room for negotiation, which tends to work in your favor better than being too strict about what you charge. I've gotten gigs by stating what my rates were and then mentioning that I was willing to negotiate or compromise if my rates were outside of their budget. Or I will ask the client what pay range they felt would work for them and then decide how I felt about the proposed rate and if the opportunity would be worth going lower than my standard rates.

If the shoot is going to be a full day (6-8 hours or longer) or requires travel, then you should stick to your guns and fight for fair pay. If the client is not going to cover transportation and lodging then you should factor those costs into what you would charge since those expenses will be coming out of your pocket. However, most clients have no problem with paying higher rates if they know the model has to travel and stay at a hotel overnight in order to work for them.

But it isn't uncommon for a client to pay much less to models that are local so if you come across a great modeling gig that is within city limits but the rates are lower, you'll have to decide if it is worth it. They aren't necessarily trying to screw you over--more than likely they figure that if you're local it won't cost you as much to get to them so they may feel they don't need to pay a higher rate to compensate for travel costs.

Modeling pay rates can be per hour, flat rate or a day rate. If the shoot is short (1-3 hours), then an hourly rate is appropriate (i.e. $50 - $75/hour for models with a bit of experience and $75 - $100/hour or higher for experienced/pro models).

For half day shoots (between 4-5 hours) you can charge a flat rate (i.e. $200 for models with some experience and $300 or higher for experienced/pro models). Full day shoots (6-8 hours or longer) should also be charged a flat rate (i.e. $300-400 for models with some experience and $500 or higher for experienced/pro models).

If it is a multiple day event then you should charge a day rate, which should be negotiated with the client. This type of arrangement typically applies to tradeshows, conventions and similar events. The rates listed are just examples and may not necessarily "add up" the right way, especially if you're the type to break it down with a calculator. But then again, it's not supposed to.

When it comes to pay rates and modeling, you can't always crunch the numbers the way you would if you worked at a part-time job or a regular 9-5. It is up to you to decide what you want to charge based on what is required of you and what the client will or will not provide.

Ultimately, the best piece of advice I can offer on this topic is to treat each gig individually and weigh the pros and cons. With time and practice you will eventually get a better feel for what you should charge and feel confident in the fact that you're worth the rate. If you find that no one will pay your rates you may want to step back and reconsider your price ranges if they are a bit too high.

The economy has made things more difficult and does affect the modeling industry so keep that in mind. Are clients not even willing to pay you after you've dropped your rates? Then unfortunately, they are just trying to take advantage of your skills. Stick to your guns and continue to push for those clients that will pay.

Reality TV & Modeling

I happened to be watching one of the Dateline programs, which wasn't (for once) about "To Catch a Predator" and the topic was about a reality television show that was actually a scam, unbeknownest to the contestants.

Well, this particular show was a modeling reality show so that got my attention. I watched in amazement and disgust as the "host" of the show, which never got a TV deal and never aired, used the naivete of the contestants to take advantage of them, sexually molest/harrass them and basically falsely lead them to believe they were going to be the next "it" model. Needless to say, I just HAD to write a post about the topic.

When it comes to reality television and modeling, there are tons of shows that millions of male and female aspiring models hope to make it onto. If you're planning on pursuing this avenue in an attempt to get your foot in the door, please, please, PLEASE take note of the following suggestions to keep yourself safe:

1. Go For The Big Guns. The modeling reality television show you submit to should be well known and headed by a professional with a name that is instantly recognizable. For example, everyone knows who Tyra Banks is (America's Next Top Model). Everyone knows who Tyson Beckford is (Make Me a Supermodel).

The bogus host of the scam show that was featured on Dateline claimed to be a supermodel, yet he was obviously not of runway/fashion modeling height, had a mediocore if not amateurish "portfolio" on his Myspace page and did not possess any model-like qualities. Aside from his Myspace profile, no one had ever heard of this guy. If you come across a newer show with a host that claims to be a model, do research. If they are not supermodel status they should at least have sufficient "proof" that they have an established career--that means tearsheets, resume, list of credits, agency ties, etc.

2. No Sex Should Be Involved. Legitimate modeling reality shows do not require models to strip down naked or submit to "cosmetic inspections" that require being off camera and one-on-one with anybody...the host included. The bogus supermodel/host on Dateline claimed that the female AND male contestants had to come to his studio, strip to underwear, lie down on a bed and basically get felt up and kissed on by this creep in order to make sure that their complexion, skin and body were up to par for modeling gigs. I wanted to throw up when I watched those segments. As you'll see on shows like "Make Me a Supermodel," they do weigh ins and similar tests required but they are always on-camera, in a group setting and with clothes on.

3. Be Wary of New Shows. The reality television boom continues to remain strong, with people pitching new ideas everyday. Many are trying to ride the coattails of America's Next Top Model and know that there are plenty of eager, unsuspecting newbies just dying for an opportunity. It is always important to do as much research as you can about a new show.

Make sure it has officially been given a television contract and find out what network it is supposed to be aired on. If you're still not sure, call the network yourself and ask if they have heard of the show that you are interested in being on. If they have no clue what you're talking about, don't even entertain the thought of appearing on it.

To be big in modeling a part of it is who you know so in this case, stick to the trusted and reputable shows that have been on for many seasons. It isn't easy to get on them but at least you won't run the chance of becoming a victim.

4. Familiarize Yourself. Not many people have the slightest inkling of what the reality television world entails, much less the modeling industry. If you have no idea how shows are run, what castings are like for reality TV shows or what being on such a show involves, then hit the Internet and find out. Heck, email me and I'll tell you (I do have a college degree in Radio & TV)!

Knowing basic things such as common places where television castings are held, what type of paperwork you'll have to fill out, etc. will allow you to recognize when a reality TV opportunity is not legit. For example, shows like ANTM tend to hold their castings during the daytime in public venues, including--but not limited to--hotels and casting studios.

When it comes to casting opportunities in general, I personally avoid those that hold their castings at a nightclub. These types of venues are not appropriate and I don't feel that mixing that type of atmosphere, which involves alcohol, with business is a positive sign. It may work for some clients/projects/people but I would advise against it.

5. Make Sure They Follow The Rules. As far as I am aware of, all modeling reality shows require contestants to be of legal age. In the United States that is 18 years of age or older. There are other reality shows that use underage kids but those typically air on kid-oriented networks like Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon and--as far as I know--do not deal with modeling (Toddlers & Tiaras does not count! lol).

When it comes to age, networks do not want to deal with the liabilities and legalities that come with working with minors. So if you're 16, 17 or younger and you come across a reality show that is asking for modeling contestants that are underage, that is a huge red flag. Unless the network is well known like NBC, MTV or CBS chances are this is a scam that involves shady people.

You'd be surprised by the lengths some people will go to just so they can prey on innocent people. Because these situations usually involve sexual acts that are illegal it makes it that much more important to avoid jumping at any opportunity that doesn't seem right.

As amazing as the end results look when you watch the episodes on television, reality TV is a very intimidating and rough way to break into the industry. But it is quickly becoming an added alternative to getting one's foot in the door so if you choose this method please exercise caution, be wary of anyone you deal with, read the fine print, do your research and if you sense any bad vibes, get out.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Answering a Reader Question #59


Anonymous Wrote:

Hello,

I've been with an agency for 2.5 years and my contract is for 3 years. I want out! NOW! they have done nothing for me. I wrote them saying I wanted out ( in a nice way) but wanted to keep it short because I didn't know what to say. If I can get out of my contract I have so many other chances for modeling already. I can't tell the agency that because then they will know they could make money off me. How do I get out? Last time I spoke to them they said "ok you can be released in 6 months" but I can't wait. My whole life is in Europe! my boyfriend and all my friends. HELP HELP HELP. 


Hi, Anonymous...ouch, what a terrible situation to be in! I'm really sorry you have to go through that. Have you gone through your modeling contract to see what you are supposed to do if you want to terminate your contract? In general, sending written correspondence stating that you are terminating your contract early because you are seeking better opportunities should be more than enough to suffice. If they were able to make money off of you they would have been booking you work by now, which it doesn't seem like they've been doing. Try writing another letter to them (not an email and make sure to get the letter certified so that you know they received it), stating that you want to move back to Europe and wish to terminate your contract immediately.

Wait about a week and see if they respond back to you. If they do not contact you in any way then follow it up with a phone call to restate what you wrote in your letter. If you mention that you are moving back to Europe, they will not be able to control your actions related to that. Is your contract non exclusive or exclusive? If it is exlcusive, be sure to read the contract and see what areas they claim to represent you exclusively under. Either way, if you stress hard enough that you no longer wish to be a part of their agency, hopefully they will just let you go with no strings attached. I parted with an agency that just stopped communicating with me. I sent them a mailed letter as well as an email to let them know that I was opting out of my contract then and there. I didn't even hear from them but as far as I am concerned, I followed the instructions so I don't consider myself a part of their agency anymore.

This is a delicate situation to be in so if you need more assistance or need to provide me with further details so that I can better help you, feel free to email me at: daniadenise@gmail.com.

Monday, December 14, 2009

My Casting Call Experience: HMM

No, I'm not saying "Hmm" in my post title (lol). HMM is short for Halvorson Model Management, which is one of the more successful boutique modeling agencies in the Bay Area. Located about 30-45 minutes South of San Francisco, I'd been eyeing this agency for a while now--I just never had the time to attend their open casting call, which is every Monday.

I've run into many girls on gigs that were represented by HMM and had nothing but good things to say. Luckily, I was finally able to coordinate my schedule to attend their casting call. I arrived early and took a seat in the waiting room.

According to the written instructions displayed on the table I filled out a short form with my basic information (stats, contact info, experience, etc) and waited. After a few minutes I was called into the office and sat down with the owner of the agency, Traci Halvorson.

We chatted easily while she looked through my book (portfolio) and reviewed my resume. She was very impressed with the amount of work I'd done and she really liked my look--mainly the more commercial/happy images.

She said my look was very ethnically ambigous, which is high in demand these days and because I looked so young for my age, she believed I had another good five years in the industry (of course I plan on being around for a lot longer than that when it comes to modeling lol but coming from an agency owner, that is definitely a huge compliment!).

The only downside was that they had just signed a girl that had "my look" and the cutting part was that she was of fashion height (5'8" +), which meant that she could easily cross over and do print as well as high fashion. Grrrr...I tell ya, I am so tired of fashion girls taking the print work from us "shorties" but that's another vent for another day.

Because of the new girl they just signed, HMM wanted to keep me on a "test" trial, which basically meant that the agency wouldn't offer me a contract but would instead shop around my comp card to clients to see if any were interested in casting me for projects. Should anything come up I'd have the option of booking the gig through HMM and then consider a contract at that time.

I was told, however, that this season is their busiest for their fashion girls and then they close down for two weeks for the holiday season. Basically I would be put on hold until the end of January, at which time I was told to contact HMM again to do a follow up and resubmit myself if no castings came up for me.

While it wasn't the results I had hoped for (darn that new girl!) I did enjoy my casting experience. The agency was very friendly, easy to talk to and I wasn't rushed in and out, which was refreshing. They took the time to talk to me and really get to know me, which was nice. I don't believe that I'll have a chance at signing with HMM anytime soon but should conditions change, I wouldn't mind resubmitting myself again. Just got to get the timing right. Until then, the search continues!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Location: You've Gotta be Where the Action Is!

As I've been browsing through various modeling sites online I've come across many people asking questions about who is the best modeling agency, who is the best casting agency for actors, etc, etc.

I don't particularly care for these types of questions, mainly because they call for an opinion--of course there are agencies that we all considered to be the "best" but whether that agency is a good fit for you is a whole different story.

There is more to finding an agency than just signing with the best. Take it from me, being with one of the top agencies isn't always all it's cracked up to be. Another reason I don't like these questions is because they are too broad for an accurate answer to be given.

So let me say this: if you are interested in pursuing modeling and/or acting and are wondering who is the best of the best, the only way to find out is to do research and begin at the local level. Let me explain what I mean by this...

When it comes to agencies (modeling, acting, etc), it is all about location. In general, prospective talent should be located fairly close to the agency's location--at most a 2 hour's drive away. Castings and auditions are often very last minute and being local solves any issues that may arise in terms of being too far away. In your search for an agency you should start by looking within your city and state.

We all know that when it comes to modeling agencies there are some that ultimately fall under the "best ever" category, such as Elite, Ford, Wilhelmina, etc. However, each modeling market has its own local "best" category that is applicable to each state. It isn't helpful to you to look for the best agencies that are located nowhere near where you live, unless you're going to relocate and in most cases I'm sure you don't have the luxury of just picking up and moving across the country. So why go through the trouble of considering agencies that you have to take an airplane to get to? It just doesn't make sense.

Getting signed to a local agency that does very well and gets its models work is a great way to start your modeling career, not to mention faster. For example, if you live in Texas and you've got what it takes, you'll get signed to a top agency in Texas a lot faster than if you sent your pictures over to Elite in New York.

The competition is fierce and you can bet that agencies will want to deal with local models they have access to than someone they couldn't call on short notice. Of course there are exceptions to the rule but I'm talking about the bigger picture here.

So many people make the process of finding an agency more difficult than it needs to be because they are casting too wide of a net. Start at the local level and find out who is considered the best in your city and/or state and use that as your starting point. I guarantee it will simplify things and make the whole process of getting into the industry that much easier for you.

It doesn't make sense to ask around for the best agencies--we all know who the big players are but unless you live near those agencies or plan on moving there, pursuing them isn't very realistic when you're just starting out. Remember, it takes baby steps.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tips for Writing Cover Letters to Modeling Agencies

In your search for a modeling agency you may be required to write a cover letter, which they also call a "Letter of Introduction." For those that are underage, you probably have never had the opportunity to write a cover letter and may be wondering how you should do it.

Just as if you were applying for an actual position/job within a company, the cover letter is a part of the critical "package" you send to agencies and should be done properly.

It isn't rocket science and with practice you'll be able to write a decent cover letter that would impress any modeling agency.

Here are some simple tips you can follow:

- Keep it short and sweet. Cover letters aren't meant to be lengthy. Your cover letter should be one page. Period. If the cover letter you write is longer than one page start doing some serious editing. The good thing is that cover letters for modeling agencies don't have to be so detailed and precise. Use 1.5 or double spacing and choose a font that is readable and not fancy or distracting.

- Format correctly. The top right of the cover letter should contain your full name, mailing address, phone number and email. Remember, a professional email address is a must. After entering this information enter 1-2 spaces, change your text alignment over to the left hand side and then list the name of the modeling agency, the name of the person you are sending the letter to (if you don't know, then the name of the agency will suffice), and the mailing address of the agency. You do not need to include the phone number. Create another space and enter the date. Now you can begin your letter.

- Be concise. Your cover letter should be straight to the point. State your name and that you are interested in seeking agency representation.

- State what you want. Mention the type of modeling you want to do and then briefly list any attributes you feel would make you an ideal model for their agency. Use this part of your cover letter to "sell yourself" in order to persuade the agency to grant you an interview. You can play up your strengths and relate them to the modeling field.

For example, if you are always on time for things you can state how you are very punctual, which can help when it comes to being on time for castings and shoots. Keep the content professional, however. You should come across as smart, capable and mature--even if you are underage.

- Tell them about yourself. Are you a new and inexperienced model hoping to get started in the industry? Are you a working model seeking new representation or a freelance model in need of a good agent? Are you in school? Graduated? Working? This information will help the agency get a better idea of who you are and where you are at in life. If you have experience don't feel the need to brag about what you've appeared in--that's what the resume and your photos are for. Instead, mention how long you have been modeling.

You can mention one or two things you've appeared in but they don't need a list. Are you completely new and clueless about the industry? Don't say that literally but it's okay to state that you're inexperienced, willing to learn and have a strong desire to pursue modeling. If you are currently with an agency but are seeking a new agent, do not mention the name of the agency you are with in your letter. No one likes to hear about the competition. Simply stating you are currently with someone is all the info they need. Only tell them who you are signed with if asked.

- Avoid gushing. As excited as you may be to pursue modeling, your cover letter shouldn't look like a groupie wrote it. Avoid talking at length about how you've wanted to model since you were born and how you love Gisele's hair, Adriana's eyes and how you feel you could be the next top model. Agencies have heard it all before. Leave this type of stuff out of your cover letter.

- Play to the agency's ego. Modeling is a business and one way to impress an agency is to make them realize how good you would be for business and what you can contribute. It doesn't hurt to mention how you admire their agency and would love the opportunity to be on their roster.

- No errors! Your cover letter shouldn't have any grammatical errors, typos or misspellings. Have a parent or friend that is good in English help you write your cover letter if needed and always have it proofread before sending it.

Remember, cover letters to modeling agencies only come into play if the agency requires one. If you come across an agency that doesn't ask for a cover letter/letter of introduction, then you don't need to do one. However, it doesn't hurt, especially if you are new/inexperienced and do not have a written resume to submit.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

What is Pinup Modeling?

One type of modeling that is becoming very popular again is pinup modeling. As the name implies pinup images are photos, drawings or other illustrations of beautiful women that were literally put up on people's walls for display purposes.

This concept has been around since as early as the 1910s-1920s. Actresses (Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Brooke Shields, Pamela Anderson), models (Cindy Crawford, Anna Nicole Smith, Tyra Banks) and other female celebrities (Dita Von Teese, Katy Perry) have been used in pinup form for decades. Betty Page is one of the most famous pinup models of all time.

Playboy Magazine even dubbed her the "Queen of all pinups." Although she also dabbled in fetish/bondage themes, her pinup career is well known around the world and she has a legion of fans even today.

However, you no longer have to be an A-list celeb in order to do pinup. The art of pinup photography and modeling are quickly finding their niche in the industry. It isn't fair to pit the success of this type of modeling against another, like fashion/runway, because pinup modeling is a giant in its own right and if you're interested in pursuing this field, there are a couple of ways you can go about it.

In terms of the requirements there really aren't any! A pinup model can be any height, any size and weight isn't an issue. Curvy, vivacious figures are welcomed with open arms when it comes to pinup so if you aren't the typical size 2 or have a waif-like build to be a runway model, then you may want to consider your options with pinup. There is one requirement, however, that should be noted and followed: pinup models should be 18 years of age or older. This type of modeling involves glamour and sexual themes, which have no place in an underage model's career.

There aren't exactly any pinup modeling agencies per se probably because this field doesn't have the same high demand that commercial/print or fashion does that would allow agencies to make a stable profit. You may come across online modeling agencies that use pinup models but make sure that they are legit and credible.

Chances are you may run into the whole "Pay X amount of dollars to set up your portfolio with us" type of situation. Many pinup models are freelance and don't deal with agents. Popular pinup models that have a wide fan base may hire on a manager to book them gigs and appearances. In these instances, having a manager over an agency is helpful if that option is open to you.

If you want to start your pinup career you're going to need to build a portfolio. This can be done through test shoots with local photographers in your area. Needless to say the photographers you work with should specialize in pinup photography and have a strong portfolio of their work to show you.

Ask for references from other models as well and make sure that the photographer(s) you work with are professional. Pinup photography is an art and if you do an online search for classic pinup images you'll see what I'm talking about. There is a huge difference between tasteful pinup work and amateurish smut so make sure you're working with top notch quality people.

Pinup modeling usually consists of makeup that reflects the 1940s or similar eras, carefully styled coifs (hair) and sexy clothing, which can include lingerie, swimwear, boy shorts, etc. This is where the glamour element comes in. Instead of showcasing a product or fashion design, you are showcasing yourself. Not all pinup models have to pose nude or semi nude so if you don't feel comfortable showing skin, you don't have to and never allow someone to tell you otherwise.  

I would suggest doing research about pinup modeling before pursuing it. Having a better understanding of this type of modeling will help you know what to expect and make it easier for you to deliver when doing your shoots.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Answering a Reader Question #58


Mackenzie Wrote: Hi! My name is Kenzie and I love modeling and have since kindergraden!! I have also walked a few runways but, I am only 15. I indeed LOVE VS and PINK (as do so many other people.)Do you know anything about modeling for PINK?
Even if its just catalog or website? 


Hi, Kenzie! Thank you so much for posting a question that isn't actually already answered in the post! LOL. Okay, on to answering your question. The bad news is that even though the PINK line for Victoria's Secret doesn't involve lingerie, you still need to be 18 years of age or older and the modeling requirements (measurements, height, etc) are exactly the same as that of a regular Victoria's Secret model. It's not fair but that's the truth.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Tips for Putting Together a Modeling Website Part 2

So you want to put together a modeling website. Great, I’ve done it and I can help point you in the right direction!

There is more than one way to go about this process but since I can only speak for myself, this post is going to deal with information that I found to be useful in starting my website (www.daniadenise.com).

The following are basic steps that need to be taken in order for your website to go live on the Web:

Step 1: Get a Domain Name

Your domain name is the actual name of your website/URL. Make sure you have a domain name that is easy to remember and isn’t too long. There are many web hosting and domain name services that will show you how to do this.

Go for the best price and make sure your domain name is available. If it is taken you’ll have to find a different variation. Make sure you go with a .com extension instead of a .org or other type. Don’t worry about buying a domain name with different extensions either.

All you need is a .com. You can pay for your domain name annually or to save money you can pay a one-time sum amount, which will have you paid up for the next few years in advance.

Step 2: Get Web Hosting


In order to have a website, you need to have a web hosting service. This is where your website will be uploaded and published to the Web. Web hosting services offer all kinds of tools to help your website stand out. To kill two birds with one stone and make it easier on your wallet, it is helpful to have your domain name and your web hosting services with the same company. I personally use and love www.godaddy.com. They have cheap domain names and hosting services and I’ve had nothing but great customer service experiences.

Step 3: Get Your Website Together

There are a number of ways you can go about this. There are some websites that allow you to build as you go and don’t require any knowledge of coding or any other graphic design skills. An example of such a site is: www.wix.com. These sites also offer web hosting and domain names as well so you can have everything all in one place. Prices depend on what membership plan you choose.

Another way to get a website put together is to hire a graphic designer to create one for you. I will say, however, that this is one of the most expensive methods. Graphic designers do great work but it’s hard, tedious work. There are some graphic designers who may charge on the lower end—especially given the economy these days—but don’t be surprised if a graphic designer offers rates starting at $2,000 or higher.

If you go for this option, the graphic designer will be your to-go person for everything and that includes updating your content and/or images. That could involve additional fees. Remember, this is their business, which is why they charge extra for certain features and operate the way they do.

Be sure the person you hire is trustworthy. If you lose touch with your graphic designer or he/she just ups and disappears, you won’t be able to do anything with your website unless you have access to the files and other documents needed for the website to function.

The next method you can turn to, which I currently use and recommend, is to purchase a premade website template and then customize it. This is one of the most affordable and convenient ways to create your website. For my modeling website, I simply went to www.flash-website-templates.net and browsed around until I found a modeling template that I liked. Then I purchased it for $60. And trust me, that is a good deal!

Most of the templates range from $40-150, depending on the style and complexity of the template design and it’s a one-time fee so once you purchase your template you don’t have to pay any other membership or annual fees. Once I had my template, I used Photoshop to customize the pages. I swapped out the content and the images for my own. I don’t have any coding experience so after I had my Photoshop documents customized I hired a friend, who is a graphic designer, to code the pages and upload the files to my web hosting account.

Then I was live on the Web and good to go. If you choose the template option, it is helpful if you know Photoshop—if you don’t, you’ll have to find someone who does. The best way to remedy this problem is to have the template customized for you by the website that you purchased the template from. For example, the website where I purchased my template from will put together your template for you with your content and images for under $200. That means you can have a fully functioning website for much, much less than other alternatives.

If you’re interested in this third option and want to know more information, email me: daniadenise@gmail.com. I customize website templates as part of my art business so if you would like to pursue this option, I’d be more than happy to help you out.

Tips for Putting Together a Modeling Website Part 1

Whether you have agency representation or not or are a freelance model, it never hurts to have a website. It's so easy to network with someone and simply say, "You should check out my website. It's..."

What better way to get attention and show people that you're serious? And these days just about everyone is online at one point or another so having a website gives you additional exposure and can lead to your own online fanbase.

So what should go on your site? Well, that all depends on you, the model. If you do runway and fashion, you're going to want to showcase that on your site. Your website's images and content should reflect the work you do, as well as show your diversity. The essential components for a web page include, but are not limited to: Welcome Page, Home Page, Bio, Resume, Gallery and Contact Page.

When it comes to your bio, you can talk about anything but it should be related to your modeling career.

What do you want the public to know about you? Maybe you just want to talk about your modeling career. Or you can tie in your personal life, where you were born, etc. It's entirely up to you. But make sure that what you write about won't put people to sleep (you can say you love animals, but it's not necessary to include the names of your cats and their favorite foods). Be concise and get to the point. Use this page to make yourself stand out and make people want to get to know you.

Any written content on your website should be completely free of typos, misspellings and grammatical errors. If writing isn’t your strong point, have someone help you. Have your content proofread and edited before putting it on your website. Nothing looks worse than having misspelled words or an awkwardly written sentence on your website. If you’re going to do a modeling website, do it right!

Use only your best images in your photo gallery/portfolio page...no camera phone pictures and make sure that they are good quality (hi resolution is best so the images don’t look blurred or pixelated). Tearsheets should have priority in your gallery. If you don't have such pictures, I would advise getting a TFP together or some other type of shoot before putting together your website. I recommend having between four to five different looks in your photo gallery. This will allow potential clients to see the range of work you do. Avoiding having more than 1-2 images from the same look.

On the contact page, be sure to create an email that is formal--no bootylicious204@aol.com type of addresses! Avoid putting your phone number/cell number on your website as well as your home address (especially if you are underage). The main information that should appear on your contact page is an email address and/or links to other sites like Facebook, Myspace, etc. (if you have an agent, you should list the agency’s contact information as well as the phone number, direct email address and name of your booker).

The last thing you need are telemarketers or creepy characters calling you at all hours of the day or night—or knowing where you live. Yikes. If someone is really interested in hiring you, they will email you. Or you can get a P.O. Box if you want to receive fan mail or other correspondence from clients.

In addition to a photo gallery, it's also helpful to include your modeling resume if you have one. This gives you credibility when it comes to what projects you've done and who you've been involved with. If you’re new and don’t have a resume, don’t worry about it at this point.

Have fun with your website. Showcase your personality as well as your looks. Use your website to introduce yourself to potential clients as well as potential fans. Let them know about you as a person in your bio or home page. But by all means, do NOT dress up your website with Myspace type of elements such as multicolored text, glittery images and photos of your friends and family...Your modeling website is your official calling card to the world, so keep it professional and make it all about you!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Quick Look at Actual Modeling & Talent Agency Contracts

I've talked a lot about modeling contracts and I know that this almighty document is one that many of you aspiring models may be wondering about. Lucky for you, I was able to find some actual contracts that you can read. I will state, however, that each agency has its own modeling contract drawn up and not all of them contain the same things.

The only way you can get a real modeling contract in your hands is to either work at an agency or be a model who is about to sign one. Other than that, the majority of agencies keep their contracts confidential, and with good reason--not only do they want to keep the terms of their working relationship with their models safe, they also don't want the competition to see it. Lots of legal stuff involved there.

I have a copy of a modeling contract, which is a SAMPLE--that means it isn't a contract from an existing agency--it's more so a template of what a typical contract will look like and a great way for you to get familiar with just what agencies expect of you.

I have also included a contract from a talent agency, which is an actual contract from an existing agency--Cast Images, which is a talent agency in Northern California. Remember, talent agencies represent both models and actors and if you are interested in both, I highly recommended finding representation through a TALENT agency and not having an agent for each type of field. It's much more convenient and you'll only have to pay commission to one agency, not two.

The original link to this modeling agency contract can be found HERE:


SAMPLE MODELING CONTRACT

















The original talent agency contract can be found HERE:

TALENT AGENCY CONTRACT





















 










Depending on the agency, some contracts can be as short as 1 page, while others can be many pages (my Ford contract was more than 10 pages!). When it's your turn to hold an actual contract in your hands, be sure to go over every single page and fully understand the content.

Don't be afraid to ask questions, either. Make sure you know what you're signing! Just because you've looked at these contracts in this blog post, that doesn't necessarily mean you'll know exactly what the contract you'll be offered will contain.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Answering a Reader Question #57

Anonymous Wrote: 
I would like to know what a standard exclusive modeling contract with Victoria's Secret looks like. Google is being entirely useless and hopefully this isn't proprietary information.
 
Hi, Anonymous, and thank you for your question--especially since it isn't about how to become a Victoria's Secret model! Lol. 

Unfortunately, you will not find any type of contract regarding Victoria's Secret online or anywhere except if you end up modeling for them. Exclusive contracts are confidential between the parties involved and publishing such documents is going to get the person responsible in a lot of legal trouble. 

Modeling contracts in general state the following information:

- Duties of the model to the client
- Duties/responsibilities of the client to the model
- Duration of the working relationship
- Exit Clause

In the case of becoming a Victoria's Secret model there will more than likely be a non-compete clause, which states that you as a VS model are not allowed to do work for any other competitor in the industry. So you would not be allowed to model for any other lingerie/undergarment company such as Fredrick's of Hollywood for as long as you are under contract with VS.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Comment About My Victoria's Secret Post

One of the posts on this blog that gets the most comments is the "Want to Be a Victoria's Secret Model?" post. What amazes me is that almost all of the comments are from people asking what it takes to be a VS model.

The whole post is about how to be a VS model so I'm not quite sure why readers are posting comments asking this. I don't know--do they just not read the post and just comment? I'm curious because as far as I know I made the post fairly easy to read and understand.

Another thing I've noticed about some of the comments is that there are questions from aspiring models listing their height and stats and it clearly does not meet the requirements I list in the VS post.

As a writer I guess I'm a little frustrated that I continue to get comments with questions that are clearly answered in the post itself. If you are one of the readers who have left a question asking how to be a VS model, I'll simply tell you to read the post. I even updated the content to include a checklist of what you need to have in order to be seriously considered as one. If you don't meet those requirements then I'm sad to say you cannot be a VS model.

So please, please, PLEASE read the whole post through before asking questions that are already answered in the post. One of the requirements of becoming a model is knowing how to follow directions and if you can't get your answers from the post that is addressing the very topic you're inquiring about, well, I don't know what else I can say.

And because I know even with THIS post I'm still going to get people asking the same questions, here is a part of the post that I wrote that specifically states what it takes to be a VS model:

To make things more clear about the requirements you have to meet in order to put you in the VS category, you must:

- Be between 5'8"-6'0"
- Have a killer body with curves (not waif thin like most runway models but not exactly plus size, either)
- Be signed to a top modeling agency (preferably Ford or Elite in New York) or another top modeling agency

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My Casting Call Experience: BMG Models

I recently took a road trip down to Los Angeles to interview with a designer about being a potential model for her upcoming line and I figured since I was going to be in the area, I may as well see if I could kill two birds with one stone by attending any open casting calls what were available during the dates that I would be there.

The one that ended up making the cut was BMG Models. Known for representing both fashion and print models, I made sure to have all my stuff ready: portfolio, headshot and resume.

After taking care of my interview, which went really well, I stayed overnight at a friend's and prepared for the open casting call the next day. BMG holds their open calls every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 4:00pm - 5:00pm. I went on a Wednesday with one of my friends in tow for support. I wore form-fitting, dark jeans, my taupe 4-inch heels and a form fitting, dark green tank top.

After stepping off the elevator we searched for the right suite and opened the door. There was no one in the lobby so that was good. I wasn't sure if I was going to have to deal with a long line. There was one other guy behind us but it turned out that he was a music artist and had an appointment for an interview (BMG also represents music artists). There was no receptionist or secretary and it took a minute for someone to walk out and see that we were there.

A man came out and asked us if we had an appointment or were there for the open call. After telling him, he asked to take my portfolio and I made sure to also give him my headshot and resume. He asked us to take a seat in the lobby and that he would take my portfolio and information to their office to look over.

I thought it was odd that I wasn't invited to go in and meet with them and was a bit nervous about the fact that they would be reviewing my portfolio without me there but hey, there was nothing else I could do so I sat with my friend and made small talk.

After about 10 minutes, a woman came into the lobby and asked me to sign in. The sheet asked for my name, age, height, phone number and email address. I quickly glanced at the other people who signed in before me and by far I was the shortest. Their lifestyle/print division's minimum height requirement was 5'6" so I already knew there may be an issue with the one inch I was lacking. I put my 5'5" height and crossed my fingers. Once again I was left in the lobby and put the clipboard with the sign-in sheet aside.

5 minutes later the same woman came back with my portfolio and handed it back to me. She was nice and asked if I was interested in commercial acting as well. I told her I was and she said that they would keep my headshot and resume to look over later on that day and if they felt I would a good fit they would be in touch. She didn't say when though. And that was it.

It was definitely one of the more out of the ordinary casting calls I'd been to since they didn't ask to see me themselves but I tried not to think too much about it. If it's meant to be they'll give me a call. And if I don't hear back from them, it's all good, I'll just keep pounding the pavement until I find the right agency for me.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Concept of "New Faces"

The term "new faces" is one that is constantly popping up on modeling agency websites. While not all agency sites have them, a good majority do. As the name implies, new faces means male and female models who have just been discovered by that particular agency.

In general, a model listed under an agency's new faces division has little to no experience. In some instances it could include a model with prior experience but overall it is more closely associated with a newbie. Each agency deals with their new faces division in its own way so there are no hard and fast rules as to what I can tell you that will cover every modeling agency out there.

If you are a potential model who gains interest from an agency, they may start you off in their new faces division. At the office you'll have Polaroids taken of you, which the agency will post up on their website. Even though those photos are not professionally taken, they will be temporary until you have managed to get a test shoot done to begin your portfolio.

Once you get that done, your agent will update your online profile with the latest pictures. Many times an agency will keep both the Polaroids and the professional images, since some clients want to see what a model looks like without all the hair, makeup and Photoshop. Sometimes a newly signed model will still be categorized under new faces even after he/she has done a portfolio shoot. This decision is entirely up to the agency.

Other modeling agencies won't put you right away onto their website if you are a new face and may do what is known as a "test" period, where they will submit your snapshots to current castings to see if any clients are interested in you. If a client wants to see you for a casting or go-see, the agency will send you to it and if you book that job, that is a huge plus and a great indicator that the agency should sign you.

Agencies tend to do testing sessions for new models as a way for them to see how marketable they are before making a contractual commitment. It also allows the agency to gauge what their working relationship with the model will be.

Needless to say, this arrangement--while up in the air and nerve wracking for some models--is an easy way for them to see if the model would work for the agency as an officially signed model. If they happen to have an issue or if the model shows signs that he/she is not a good fit or match, then the agency can simply let the model know they are no longer interested. Because the model was being "tested" the agency doesn't have to worry about terminating contracts or taking down photos from the website.

Becoming a part of the new faces division doesn't always mean you are a signed model and may not come with a contract. Think of it as a probation period: this is a period of time where you have no official ties with the agency so you are not yet a represented model. This isn't a bad thing--to even be considered a new face is a huge step over the competition.

The decision as to whether an agency will stop testing you and offer you a contract will vary on a number of factors including, but not limited to: how well your snapshots are, if potential clients like your look and express an interest in hiring you or inviting you to a casting and how well you get along with the agency. You may be asked to submit more photos over time, which the agency will collect and use to shop your look around to clients.

If you are chosen to be a part of an agency's new faces division, that's great but you are also free to continue searching for another modeling agency. While going through the test/new faces period may be exciting and a step in the right direction, if you get an actual offer with a modeling contract from another agency, that is a better opportunity--especially if the agency offering to sign you is reputable and eager to start submitting you for work.

If you find yourself in this situation, notify the agency you are testing with as soon as possible. Be professional and keep your conversation to the point. Simply tell them that you have found representation with another agency (no need to say what agency) and cannot continue with their testing/new faces process. It is a common part of the business so don't worry about hurting anyone's feelings. Agencies prefer if you let them know ahead of time so do it as a courtesy.

The situations and arrangements I've described in this post are not absolute. I wanted to cover some of the most basic new faces topics so I'm well aware that there may be some information I've either forgotten or aren't aware of. This is just general knowledge I felt would be useful to those aspiring models out there that are into their agency search and may find themselves in this situation.

Ultimately, any and all questions or concerns should be directed to the modeling agency in particualr that you are dealing with. They'll be more than happy to answer your questions, especially if they have already expressed an interest in working with you.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Dania Denise Meet & Greet Announcement: Northern California!!!

Hello, readers! I'm so pleased with the poll results and want to say THANK YOU to all who have taken it so far (Remember, the poll is good for the rest of the year since I hope to do more traveling so there is no expiration date to take the poll)! Even though there are higher numbers of readers in other areas outside of Northern California I would like to start locally--that way by the time I make it out to other parts of the country, I'll have a greater idea of how I'd like the meet & greet event to go.

So that being said, I'm reaching out in this post to my Modeling 101 blog readers from Northern California...Dania Denise wants to meet you!!!

Because I know my readers are all from different parts of Norther Cali and are from various backgrounds/walks of life, in order to make the 1st ever Dania Denise Meet & Greet successful, I'm going to need your help and participation! If you live in Northern California and are interested in meeting me, please, please, please follow these instructions so I can make this first-time event as successful as possible:

Send me an email (daniadenise@gmail.com) and copy/paste the following information in the body of your email (Please put the following in the Subject Line: [first name] MEET & GREET):

a) Name (first name is fine, I don't need your full name--I'm very aware that many of you are underage and concerned about online safety)

b) Age

c) City where you are located--OR list the largest city closest to you (for example: if you live in a small town but are near Sacramento, then say you are close to Sacramento)...no addresses needed.

d) Which Northern California city is the easiest for you to drive to for a possible meet & greet (you can choose more than one):

- Sacramento
- Fairfield/Vallejo
- San Francisco
- Oakland
- San Jose


e) Are you a student? If so, are you currently in school?
(I don't need to know where you go to school but schedule-wise I may want to choose a weekend so that I don't cut out the students in class during the week)

f) Do weekdays or weekends work better for you to do a meet & greet? 

g) What day(s) and time is best? (Example: Friday, Saturday, Sunday...morning, afternoon, evening?)

h) How many people do you think will come with you to the meet & greet? (parents and friends are welcome to come but you should probably leave any babies or young children at home)

Please email me these questions with your answers in them and after I've gotten an email from everyone I will compare answers and choose a location and time that works for the majority of people. I plan on doing more meet & greets in the future so if you are not able to make it to the first one, don't worry, I will be sure to set up another one for the Northern California area. You can also leave a blog comment with your answers to these questions but I would prefer an email so that you can keep that kind of information between you and me. Once I receive your emails I will send out email blasts to announce the details when a date and time have been set as well as info about what to bring, etc.

Looking forward to the emails!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

My Current Skin Care Must-Haves

For those of you that are all about skin care products and taking care of your complexion, I thought it would be fun to update you on what products I'm currently using to keep my skin in top shape. Please note that I have eczema with a combination skin type (dry cheeks, oily T-zone) so shop according to your particular skin type when looking for new items to try out.

CLEANSER(S)

I use this for most mornings when I'm on the go:


I use this to take off my makeup...even though it's not really a makeup remover, it works for me. I also use it on days when my skin is more sensitive than usual:

TONER

Toner is awesome for taking care of my oily T-zone. But in the Fall and Winter my complexion tends to dry out more than usual so I skip out on the toner:

COTTON PADS

To apply my toner I use generic-brand, 100% cotton pads (the rounded kind). You can buy them from any drugstore for really cheap and they come in a good size quantity that'll last you a while (80-100 count). I actually maximize the use of my cotton rounds by only using one side of it to apply toner in the morning and instead of throwing the pad away, I keep it and use the other unused half in the evening to apply toner before going to bed. If you do the math: using one cotton pad in the morning and one cotton pad in the evening means you only get 40 days from an 80 pack of cotton pads, but using the same pad twice a day means you an 80 day usage. And if you buy 2 packs that's 160 days!!!

EXFOLIATOR

After hearing about St. Ive's Apricot Scrub for so many years I finally decided to give it a try. I really like it! My complexion is still adjusting to the new product but it definitely excels at removing my dry patches that seem to appear out of nowhere these days:

EYE CREAM

I'm in the market for a new eye cream but I'm almost done with my current bottle of eye cream so I'll continue to use it until it's all gone and then buy a new one. I'll be sure to let you know which one I end up getting:

MOISTURIZER

I turn to the tried and true Ponds moisturizer for dry skin. I apply a generous amount to my dry cheeks and only a little bit to my T-zone, since that gets oily enough on its own. I love the formula and the small container will last me a long time. I also apply it to my neck and decollete area at night to keep that area firm, toned and supple:

Monday, October 5, 2009

Patience Isn't Just a Virtue--It's a Necessity in Modeling

Do you hate waiting? Are you one of the most impatient people on the planet? Does it irk you to have to wait around for other people to get things done? When waiting around do you have the tendency to fidget or get irritated? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you will have a difficult time succeeding in the modeling industry.

"Hurry up and wait" is a popular saying not only in the modeling industry, but the entertainment world as a whole. Model or actor, the nature of the work entails being in a rush to...wait. You may even be hassled in the makeup chair to hurry up and get done, then report on set and...wait around for 15-30 minutes.

It can be a confusing concept to grasp if you're not used to it. I think it is important to touch on this matter briefly because until you're in the situation, it can be hard to imagine what it's like to be on set for a photoshoot and why certain things take so long to get done.

First off, if the shoot consists of a crew of people, then chances are you're going to have to wait around for things to come together (this obviously isn't the case if it's just you and the photographer)--and if there is more than one model being shot, you'll have more than your share of waiting around to do.

Models are required to be on set/location early, often without anything in place yet. Doing a shoot isn't as simple as the model showing up, getting hair and makeup done and then walking onto the set to start shooting--if only it were so!

Each part of putting together a photoshoot takes time and when you break it all down, it can add up to a long workday. Most models' call times are hours before they are ever required to be in front of the camera. This is where the patience comes in. For one, makeup and hair tends to take a long time (this isn't always the case for every photoshoot but I'm going to speak in broad terms to make things simple).

From start to finish, it isn't uncommon for a model to sit in the hair and makeup chair for 1-2 hours--and if you've got multiple looks, you may as well get comfortable. Then it's onto wardrobe, which can take some time. And even after you've gotten all dolled up, you may still be required to wait around while everything is being set up. It may be a 10-15 minute wait but it could also be an hour or more. Additionally, each time a new look or location is needed, the photographer will need time to prep their equipment, redo the lighting, etc.

If you're unaccustomed to this type of work routine, it can be a culture shock at first. And if you're an impatient person by nature, you'll probably be ready to tear your hair out by this time. That's why it is so important to understand the way things work in the modeling industry. You are on someone else's clock--not your own. And while it may seem unfair that you're ready to work and everyone else isn't, that's just how it goes. Remember: "hurry up and wait."

My best advice is to always bring something to help you pass the time, whether it be a book, homework or a handheld video game. I would avoid bringing a laptop or talking/texting on your cell phone simply because those are the type of items that can be more distracting to your work than helping to pass the time (btw, cell phones should be on silent or turned off and left in your bag or purse!). Some people get way too engrossed in email or a phone/text conversation and it can be like pulling teeth to ask them to refocus on something else so don't tempt yourself.

Downtime is also a great time to get to know the people you're working with, whether they are models or not. This can also be a good opportunity to network. There's nothing wrong with being social and getting to know others--it really makes the time fly by. Or if you'd prefer to be left to your own devices, that's fine, too.

Patience is vital in being a professional and personable model to work with. No one wants to deal with a whiner or someone who is in a rush. If you know the photoshoot is going to last a while, don't make plans later on in the day--chances are you'll be late. Anytime I have a photoshoot planned, I clear my whole day/evening of plans. Even if I happen to get out early, I'm more than likely going to be tired anyway. So keep your schedule free on shoot days and use the time afterwards for a little R&R.

If you have a serious problem with being patient and waiting around, then I wouldn't suggest modeling, freelance or otherwise.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Do You Want to Be an Abercrombie & Fitch Model?

The path towards becoming an Abercrombie & Fitch model isn't exactly traditional and even I am intrigued by the casting process they use. For those of you that want to know how to become an A&F model, you'll want to check out this post.

1. You have to be 18 or older. Unfortunately, the nature of A&F shoots are pretty sexy and even adult in a sense and as such, their models are required to be of age. (Of course there is A&F kid models but that comes later).

2. You have to work at an A&F store. No lie! In order to be considered for any of the company's ad campaigns and photoshoots, they actually turn to their own employees to recruit models. So if you're looking for a job in retail and feel you've got what it takes, fill out a job application at your nearest A&F store and get hired. That's the first step to getting your foot in the door.

3. Put in work. Once you've started working at A&F, you'll become eligible to submit yourself for their model castings. This part of the process involves:

- Going to the A&F website and clicking on the link for "Casting."
- A side menu will appear. Click on "Submit Photos."
- Fill out the form and upload your pictures. The form will ask for the store number of the A&F location where you work so you can't fake it if you really don't work there!

4. Attend their castings. A&F also holds open castings at various areas throughout the year. In order to get information about the specific dates and locations, you'll have to ask your store manager. Interestingly enough, the castings are also open to employees of A&F, Hollister, Ruehl, or Gilly Hicks.

Want to become a model for Abercrombie Kids?

So I've searched a lot of different sites, including the A&F site, and the information regarding how to be an Abercrombie kid model is a bit conflicting/confusing. I've tried to make some sense of most of it though:

- The minimum age requirement is 13, however they are known to hire older teen models who look younger, but the general age of Abercrombie Kid models is 13-17.

- If you are of working age but under 18, you can apply to be an employee at your local Abercrombie Kids store. Then you will be eligible for recruitment for marketing campaigns and will have access to casting information. I'm not sure what the age range requirements are for working at an Abercrombie Kids store but I'm sure it varies by state, child labor laws, work permits, etc. (That kind of information I don't know so you'd have to do some online research or simply call the store to ask).

- They prefer their kid models to be at least 5'5" in height.

- You can be considered for castings if you have agency representation. For those unable to work at a store, having an agent can allow you to be submitted for castings specifically for Abercrombie Kids campaigns.

- Send your pictures via snail mail to:

Abercrombie Modeling
720 Fifth Avenue
Attn: 8th Floor
New York, NY 10019

I wasn't able to find out whether they prefer professional or non professional photos so it's up to you to decide.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Dania Denise on the 49 Square Miles Website

I did the online catalog shoot for 49 Square Miles a few months ago but they have finally updated the website and my photos are on the main slideshow when you get to the home page. Yay! So I thought I'd share.

To jog your memory, 49 Square Miles is a San Francisco-based company that specializes in custom, hand made leather handbags, belts and accessories. Their products are for the fashionistas at heart and even though I'm not a huge purse fan, I become a groupie when I saw how gorgeous their handbags were!

Check me out (oh, and the products, too haha):

http://www.49sqmi.com/index.php


The slideshow shows different pictures each time you refresh the page so if you're only seeing the same 3-4 images then refreshing it should allow you to see more of the images from the shoot.

If you need a new handbag or just want to add to your collection, then you'll love what 49 Square Miles has to offer.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Answering a Reader Question #56

Spacegirl Wrote: Hey is there such a thing as being to tall to model VS? I am 186cm which is just over 6' and i am the measurements required, i also have longer legs than torso which i think is what they look for? The issues for me are that I am from New Zealand, and in no way afford to go to New York for a casting with an agency. I am also 22, and is this too old to begin modelling? I wasnt really into it untill recently being spotted by an australiasian fashion label, but I have no work but a few runways under my belt.

What are the chances for a girl like me?

Hello, Spacegirl and thanks for the questions! Because you've got a couple of questions in one, I will break them down one by one and do a Q&A format so that it's easier to answer and easier for you to read. So here we go!

Q: Hey is there such a thing as being to tall to model VS?
A: Think about it this way: VS models are recruited only if they are signed with a modeling agency so that means you first and foremost have to be a signed model. And the agency has to be a top fashion agency like Ford, Elite, DNA, etc. In order to be signed to these agencies you have to fit their height requirement, and the tallest you can be is 6'0"...however, some female models that are 6'1" were able to be signed and get away with being one inch taller but it's not a common practice. Nonetheless, you should still pursue it and see what happens but just be prepared for your height to work against you.

Q: I am 186cm which is just over 6' and i am the measurements required, i also have longer legs than torso which i think is what they look for?
A: Long legs are definitely a plus for VS and modeling work in general.

Q: The issues for me are that I am from New Zealand, and in no way afford to go to New York for a casting with an agency.

A: If you were able to get signed with a top agency in New Zealand, you can ask if they can submit you for representation overseas in the New York market. Many fashion models have agencies in different countries so it would be up to your agency in New Zealand to find you a good agency in New York so that you can work in that market.

Q: I am also 22, and is this too old to begin modelling?
A: In general, 22 is considered "old" but as long as you look youthful, that will work in your favor. Lingerie models have to be 18 at the youngest anyway, so at least you meet the age requirements for that.

Q: I wasnt really into it untill recently being spotted by an australiasian fashion label, but I have no work but a few runways under my belt.
A: You don't have to be super experienced to be considered and the fact that you do have a few runway shows under your belt is definitely a good thing. As long as you've got a good runway walk, you'll be ahead of the pack.

Q: What are the chances for a girl like me?
A: First off, just know that your height will likely be the main factor that could bring your chances down. But your first step is to find a legit and reputable New Zealand modeling agency and try to get signed. If you can manage to find an agency that will overlook your height, then that's half the battle already taken care of. Next, you'll want to start getting work and building your portfolio. Then you can have your agent try to submit your photos to agencies in the New York market to see if they like your look and will offer you representation there. That will allow you to work in NY and other places and hopefully you will be submitted to VS to see if you would work out. Be sure to tell your agent that you want to be a VS model so that they can see if you would indeed be a good fit and start the ball rolling.

Good luck!