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.