There is more to the modeling world than the media lets on. If you want to find out what it really takes and how to manage your modeling career, then you've come to the right place! This blog is dedicated to the aspiring and already established models who live to defy the standards and stereotypes in order to make a place for themselves in this crazy industry.

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Monday, December 27, 2010

You Better Work!!! Understanding What Makes a Fashion Show (Part III): The Rehearsal

Okay, so you've got the gig, you've got the clothes and now you've got to learn the moves! Not all fashion shows involve simply walking down a long catwalk, striking a pose at the end and then walking back.

While some shows stick to this basic operation, the majority of fashion show events want to take things up a notch and provide an entertaining performance for the audience. This is where the rehearsal phase comes into play.

Rehearsals are typically set a few days before the show but many others schedule them for a few hours before the show on the actual day. The latter is very common these days and doesn't necessarily mean the production isn't legit. The most common reasons for rehearsals to take place the same day as the fashion show includes, but is not limited to:

- Difficulty with coordinating schedules for everyone involved to appear sooner
- No access to the venue prior to the day of the show
- It helps keep the info and choreography learned fresh in the models' minds

Most rehearsals take hours, especially if there is a large number of models in the show and/or multiple outfits being shown, so be prepared to show up super early and bring something to help pass the time when you aren't on stage (book, ipod for music, etc.). It also helps to have bottled water and snacks on hand if they aren't already available at the venue.

During rehearsal you must be attentive at all times. If you miss something, you risk messing up during the show, which will not make you anyone's favorite. It can be boring at times but don't goof off or distract the other models. The director/choreographer will be giving instructions, placing people, doing dry runs and tweaking the production as you go along. So it will be a trial and error process at times. While the choreography may be put together prior to the rehearsal, the only way to find out what works and what doesn't is to have the models practice on the stage.

Sometimes there may be some choreography involved outside of simply walking and posing. This doesn't necessarily mean you'll be dancing but you could be asked to do something out of your element. I've been a part of fashion shows where we were asked to walk off the stage and into the crowd to interact with the audience. I've done shows where we actually did dance.

Each fashion show has a theme and usually the director will incorporate that into the show and how the models perform. Regardless of what the choreography is, following the instructions you're given and commit your place in the show to memory. If you've got a segment that is particularly challenging, work on it while you're not on stage. Go through the routine with any of the models that are available as well. Don't be afraid to ask questions or for clarification.

There have been times when I asked to run through a segment over and over so that I could make sure I knew what I was doing. If you don't want to hold everybody else up, take the director or choreographer aside and him/her to go over the routine with you.

It is important for female models to bring their heels to walk in during the rehearsal. Your hair and makeup will be taken care of as the show time gets closer so you can come natural to the rehearsal.

During the rehearsal stage, you'll learn everything you'll need to know for the fashion show. It'll be work but it will also be fun and a chance for you to connect with the other models and make new friends, which is always a plus! Think you've got the routine down? You better because now it's time to prep for the show!

The Two C's in Modeling: Common Sense & Caution

When it comes to my posts about models of the opposite sex working with one another, I tend to get a lot of comments in regards to related topics that I haven't mentioned or left out of the post. Originally, I planned on creating additional posts to address these subjects but to be honest, I hate repeating myself.

Much of the guidelines and info I provide for male or female models when it comes to working with other models are interchangeable. So I don't really want to create more posts that basically say the same thing. With that said, this post is meant to address the whole safety issue of models working together and will hopefully put an end to this subject so that I can move along to other topics.

Unfortunately, common sense just isn't common enough these days. One of my biggest fears for aspiring models (both male and female) is the new territory that they'll come across and the naivete that often comes with being a newbie. We all have to start somewhere and believe me when I say there was a time when I myself was clueless.

Entering the modeling industry doesn't have to be scary as long as you practice common sense. Needless to say, there are more scammers, creepers and shady individuals than one can shake a stick at. Because of this, it is so important that you always use your best judgment when it comes to certain situations and if common sense is making the back of your head tingle--that's your "Spidey Sense"...it works for Spiderman so let it work for you.

Red flags will present themselves throughout your modeling endeavors. For example, if you submit yourself to a modeling gig and get an email from a photographer, claiming he's so well known and has done this, has shot this person and wants to meet with you at his house for a meeting...ummm, that's a huge red flag.

Ask to meet in a public place and let him know that you will be bringing an escort who will not be a part of the meeting but will be in the area during that time. If the photographer cops an attitude or tries to talk down to you and explain that they have a strict no escort policy, guess what? This isn't someone you want to deal with...no matter what he says he can do for your career. Walk away and find someone else.

Do you have a client requesting that you send nude photos? Guess what: red flag! Unless you're into the erotic modeling, Playboy style glamour stuff, there should be no reason for you to send photos of yourself nude to anyone! If you receive lewd photos from a male or female model that either has contacted you to work with you or that you have contacted in the hopes of working together, block that person's emails and ignore them completely. For extreme cases where they begin cyber stalking or otherwise harassing you online, report them to the police or other proper authorities. It's obvious that such individuals don't have all their marbles in one bag so avoid them at all costs.

Are you trying to find a male model to shoot with or vice versa? Use common sense when interacting with these people. In your communications state upfront that you are looking for a model for business purposes, not a hookup or date. To dissolve any awkwardness, arrange a public meeting at a cafe or other outdoor area during the day so that the two of you can get to know one another, discuss concepts, poses, etc. Bring an escort if it makes you feel more comfortable and let the other model know that one will be present during the meeting. He or she may end up bringing an escort of their own.

If you get turned down by a male or female model, do not take it personally and do not harass them. This is unacceptable and totally unprofessional. If that is your reaction to being rejected for a modeling gig, you might not be right for the industry.

Just like applying for a job with a company, there is such a thing as getting references when it comes to working with people in the modeling industry. Photographers almost always readily encourage having people contact previous models they have worked with in order to find out what the experience was like. Do your homework if you feel the need to do so. And don't be surprised if the photographer or client asks for references from you--it's not meant as an insult--it's merely common sense.

Always exercise caution when it comes to shooting with people you've never worked with before--this includes the photographer, client and other models involved. It's pretty easy to tell when a modeling assignment is legit and when there is something fishy. Again, common sense and red flags will help you determine whether you should take part in a project or pass on it. Don't take it personally if a photographer or model brings an escort with them to your shoot or meeting. It's better to be safe than sorry these days and models aren't the only ones that are concerned for their safety. Respect all those involved and keep it on a professional, business level.

Male and female models heed my warning when I say that doing couple shoots still means being respectful and on your best behavior. Even the most intimate of shoots can be conducted without it being a free-for-all. Fellas, working with a beautiful female model isn't the green light to a grab-fest. Ladies, working with a drop dead gorgeous male model doesn't mean that he wants to date you.

Chemistry is important and if you are both professionals and have some experience, the shoot should go off without a hitch. You can tell the difference between a model of the opposite sex doing his/her job in the proper manner and them simply trying to feel up on you. Both male and female models are guilty of this so I am addressing both genders. This is why it is so important to meet up with your "co-worker" before the shoot. If the vibe is there and your personalities mesh, it'll be all well and good.

If anything strikes you as "odd" or you just don't think it would be a good fit, politely decline. The way a model handles rejection is a surefire sign of their professionalism so be observant of his/her body language, tone of voice, etc. If they fly off the handle, well...this is why the meeting should take place during the day in a public venue (and also where an escort is handy to have around).

The Internet has made managing a modeling career and finding opportunities loads easier compared to back in the day but it brings with it a whole score of new scams and dangerous, ill-intentioned people. Just as you would use caution when shopping online, posting photos of yourself and entering your information onto certain sites, the caution level should be amped up times 10 when it comes to your modeling career online.

Overall, no one is 100% safe from the ills of the world. However, with common sense and caution on your side, you can decrease your chances of becoming a statistic in a horror story dramatically. Models have been doing their thang for decades with no problems so don't let your fears about what is out there keep you from letting your light shine. Be aware of your surroundings, research who you deal with and stress the importance of meeting with people so that you know they are who they say they are.

Aaaaaannnnndddd...that's all I really care to say about this topic. It's done! ;-)

Answering a Reader Question #108

Anonymous Wrote:

Hey, Dania!
Im Melissa =)

My life is modeling. I love to model, i cant go one day without thinking about modeling. I look up to VS models like, Adriana, Candice, Rosie and Miranda. Therefor my dream is to become a VS Angel. I live in the Miami area so my first step to start working my way up to become a VS Angel is to signing up for Elite. *I would like to know the price ranges for enrolling with Elite?* I'm only 14 so i know i cant be an Angel till I'm 18 so for now what i want to do is start a modeling career in general. My measurements are bust:34 chest:29 hips:28 and my height is 5"7. I believe i have the body and the look. *Will there be a chance for me to be singed up with Elite?* and soon hopefully VS. Your answers for previous questions has helped me a lot. Please and Thank you!!! 

Hi, Melissa! Pleased to meet you and thanks for the questions, especially since they are different from the same ones I keep getting from readers when it comes to my VS post LOL. If you are already 5'7" at age 14, you're on the right path. You are also correct in pursuing modeling now with an agency in order to build up your career and portfolio until you turn 18 and are eligible to be considered for VS.

To answer your first question, there is no enrollment fee to join an agency like Elite. They are a well-known agency and as such, they do not charge upfront fees for you to become a model with them. If they like your look and feel you are marketable, they will offer you a modeling contract for free. From there it will be up to them to decide whether they will cover the costs of putting together your test shoot to create your modeling portfolio and comp/zed cards, or if they'll allow you to find your own photographers. Additionally, they will train you as needed and develop your skills so you don't have to worry about attending a modeling school, paying for classes or anything like that. Even sending in your pictures or attending an open casting call is free.

Your age, height and measurements so far are good...the minimum height for fashion modeling is 5'8" but many agencies are now accepting girls at 5'7" if they are between the ages of 13-16, since this means there is a chance that you'll grow taller as you get older. So definitely look into the Elite Miami office and see what happens! If you need more assistance, drop me a personal email, which you'll find under my Blogger profile.

I wish you the best of luck!!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

You Better Work!!! Understanding What Makes a Fashion Show (Part II): The Fitting

Now that you've been hired for the fashion show (high-five!), the next stage in the process is to get fitted and help the designer(s) figure out what you will wear. You'll be notified of the date, time and location of the fitting in advance. Typically fittings are held a few weeks before the actual show (although in rare cases or for smaller shows, the fittings might be held a few days before).

Unless given specific instructions on what to wear, you should arrive to your fitting with comfortable clothes--there is no need for a stylish outfit since you'll be changing in and out of clothes all day. Additionally, you won't be dealing with hair and makeup so you can come natural. Bring your heels, unless they will be provided for you, so that the designer can get a complete idea of how the outfits will fit on you and make adjustments to the length, if necessary.

Female models should wear nude colored, seamless thong underwear (can't have those pesky pantie lines!) and a nude colored strapless bra, unless told otherwise. In some fashion shows you won't be able to wear a bra so it is a good idea to bring some pasties or inserts (also affectionately known as "chicken fillets" LOL). Male models should wear boxer briefs, unless told otherwise.

Because you'll be dealing with various clothing items and their materials, it is advisable to avoid wearing any heavily scented perfume, cologne, body spray or lotion. Also avoid deodorant, which can leave an unsightly white streak on the clothes as you change in and out--even the deodorants that claim to not leave such marks shouldn't be relied upon.

Designers won't be happy if they don't receive their garments in the same condition they were in at the beginning of the fitting. Avoiding fragrance prevents the smell from becoming absorbed in the fabric. If you feel like you're going to sweat, one industry insider trick is to have a box of tissue with you. Place a couple underneath your armpits and it will absorb the sweat without getting it onto the clothes.

The fitting is a pretty informal event so you'll be dealing directly with the designer(s) involved. Like a go-see, they'll have you come out, walk in the outfit and turn around so they can view how it looks on you. You won't always get to wear the outfits that you try on, however. It is up to the designer--not you--as to which garments you'll ultimately be assigned to wear in the actual fashion show.

Sometimes there are last minute changes on the day of the show as well, so do not be surprised if you find that one or more of your outfits has been given to another model. Do not get upset and instead take it in stride--it happens and it comes with the territory. I did one fashion show where two of my favorite outfits I tried on (and was assigned to) were given to someone else the day of the show. On top of that, in the same show, a gown I was supposed to model was actually taken off me while I was in line to go on the runway because the designer (who for some reason wasn't present at the fitting), didn't like the way it fit on me and gave it to another girl instead. Was I upset? I was fuming! Did I make a big scene? No (as much as I wanted to give that designer a piece of my mind)...I simply went back to the dressing room and sat out of the final segment.

While the people backstage were appalled by what happened, I think they were more surprised by my reaction: I just shrugged my shoulders, said, "It happens" and picked up my book to read until the end of the show. Fashion shows may be glamorous to the audience but they can get UGLY backstage.

During the fitting be professional but also have fun...don't be afraid to get to know the designer and have a conversation. This is networking at its finest. If the designer has a positive working experience with you, chances are they'll keep you in mind for future fashion shows and projects.

Do not fuss or make "requests" to wear something on the rack. Remember, this a modeling job--you're not shopping. Again, it's not about what you want. In some situations, you might get lucky and have a designer who is really cool and allows you to choose an outfit that you want to wear. But if that doesn't happen, be professional and take what you are given.

Once you've been fitted and the designer gets your final measurements, you'll be done with this part of the process. Up next? The rehearsal!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Latest Gig: Salon Blu Hair & Fashion Show Part III - Pictures!!!

Here are some images from the show...enjoy!

Latest Gig: Salon Blu Hair & Fashion Show Part II - The Outfits & The Show

For the Cocoa Jeans segment, I got to wear light colored jeans, black heels and a black Cocoa Jeans midriff shirt. For The Constance Label segment I got a very sexy black, baby doll dress that was super short, sleeveless and had a mesh/see-through section that ran down the middle of my chest (thank goodness for double-sided tape!).

The Von Gutenberg outfit was insanely cool, especially since I had never worn latex clothing before. Because the latex material is so skin tight, we were not allowed to wear any underwear. That meant the chosen 6-7 models for the segment had to get in the nude and have our bodies oiled by a female helper. Erik Von Gutenberg himself helped each of us climb into our outfits. For my outfit, it took nearly 30 minutes from start to finish!

After securing me in my full body, turquoise bodysuit, he helped me climb into the black, lace up boots, which had a 5-6 inch heel. The black latex gloves finished off the look. I took some time to get my makeup redone, which consisted of adding more color to my eyes and getting red, glitter lip color. They also added a special veil that was made of braided, synthetic hair. Afterwards, I practiced walking in the insanely high boots and prayed that I didn't fall and break my ankle (one girl took a tumble backstage but thankfully she was okay). We were told to take our time while walking, which was fine with me!

Because the fashion show took place in the salon, there was no stage. Instead they laid out a red carpet along the floor, to form a T, with the top left part of the T leading into one room and the top right part leading into another room on the other side. It was standing room only for the audience and there were tons of photographer stationed at the top, middle of the T as well as in the adjacent rooms.

The choreography was fairly simple: walk the length of the T until we reached the middle. Stop and pose for the first group of photogs, then walk off to the left into the other room up to the end of the red carpet. Then pose for the photogs in that room, then walk back, pass the middle spot and continue into the room on the opposite side, stop and pose, then go back to the middle of the T, pose one last time, then head back up the length of the T and go backstage.

It was such an adrenaline rush to be in front of so many photographers at each stopping point. There were so many flashbulbs going off that it was truly a paparazzi moment. My outfit during the Von Gutenberg segment was a huge hit and one of the audience's favorites.

After the show, there was a mixer/networking event and I was able to introduce myself to some of the photographers afterwards. One of the contacts I made is the designer for high end watches and he has recruited me to do an editorial shoot for his latest line of watches. He showed me the previous shoots they have done and they are truly amazing in quality--not to mention he also has celebrities that endorse his watches, including Adrianne Curry, Shemar Moore and an NFL player (can't remember his name).

That shoot is either going to take place in the last week of December or mid-January. The second contact I made was with a local beauty/editorial photographer who wants to do an extreme hair and makeup theme with me. When I told him that I was normally a commercial/print model, he just about fainted LOL. I couldn't believe it when he told me that I could pull off high fashion looks just as well as the next tall, industry standard model. It was definitely a compliment that made my night.

I had a great time and hope to work with Salon Blu and the other designers in the near future, should they be in need of models for other events. While the show itself went by like a blur, I have a lot of great memories...and pictures! I'm also looking forward to the opportunities that will come up as a result of being a part of the show.

Latest Gig: Salon Blu Hair & Fashion Show Part I - The Preparation

I was finally able to gather some images from the last fashion show I did, which took place at a local, upscale salon called Salon Blu. The event overall was a great success and in addition to showcasing the clothing of three designers as well as the hair and makeup done by the Salon Blu staff, the show also served as a Toys for Tots drive.

The three designers being featured were Cocoa Jeans, The Constance Label and Von Gutenberg Couture. There were about 12-13 female models total.

The call time for the models was 2:00pm. As is my habit, I arrived early and had a chance to chat with a few of the models that also came ahead of time. As we were getting hair and makeup taken care of, we found out that the outfits for the Von Gutenberg Couture line had not arrived yet and because the clothes were made of latex, the people in charge of the fashion show were not able to choose which models would get to wear the line, since the sizing was very specific. So for most of the show I was in limbo as to whether I would do the third and final segment or not.

Overall, the first two segments called for a high fashion look in terms of hair and makeup but for the Von Gutenberg segment, they wanted to take the hair and makeup to the extreme. This made it difficult for me to get my hair and makeup done because unless I was going to be in the third segment, the salon didn't want to do any extreme looks with me.

Needless to say I was a bit frustrated because as the clock wound down to showtime, which was at 7:00pm, I had yet to get my hair and makeup completed. As the hours went by, I eventually heard through the grapevine that I would more than likely do the third segment and was finally given the green light to get full hair and makeup.

I was fortunate to have Salon Blu's master stylist and owner, James Griffiths, work on my hair. Since James loves doing anything but ordinary, he went ahead and gave me a very high fashion hairstyle: he swept up my hair into a French roll and then took a huge mass of synthetic hair, balled it up into a massive bun, secured it with a black net and pinned it to top of my head, slightly off center. I thought it was very cool! For my makeup, I had a smokey eye with purple eye shadow, false lashes and hot pink eye shadow that ran underneath my eyes. My lips were kept at a more neutral color and my cheeks were contoured using powder.

Now that my look was together, it was time to figure out what outfits I would wear!

Answering a Reader Question #107

Anonymous Wrote:

Hello! I really want to model but I am 20yrs old, 125lbs and only 5'3'' and I know it is extremely short for the modeling world. But do I have a slight chance? 

Hi, Anonymous, thanks for the question! With the current industry standards, your best shot is at doing petite modeling and/or parts modeling. While there is not a huge number of modeling agencies that have petite divisions, they are out there if you look hard enough. Parts modeling is gaining more demand as well, which has led to more agencies developing divisions that specialize in this field. If you're able to find an agency for either or both types of modeling work, then you'll be way ahead of the game.

Aside from seeking agency representation you also have the option of being freelance, which means that you'll find your own work. There are some clients that turn to freelance model for petite and parts modeling and if you know how to network and actively submit yourself to these opportunities, you'll have the ability to pursue the modeling industry in this regard. At your current height it'll be tough but not impossible. It all depends on how determined you are to break into the industry.

Hope that helps and good luck to you!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Video Clips - Dania Denise @ the Salon Blu Fashion Show

I had the great opportunity to be one of the fashion models for a local hair and fashion show, which was held at Salon Blu in the South Bay Area (that's in California, for those of you that are not from the Golden State). Soon as I get pictures from the show I'll do another post detailing my experience from beginning to end.

I was able to get some video clips, however, from one of the people that attended the show. Unfortunately, they're posted through Facebook so I don't have the actual video to embed so if you've got a FB, you should be able to view it without any problems.

This first video clip is from the second segment of the show, where we wore dresses by designer Constance Ng of The Constance Label. If you fast forward to 1:34, you'll see me in a black, babydoll dress:

Salon Blu Fashion Show - The Constance Label Segment

The last segment of the show was the Von Gutenberg Couture segment, where 5-7 models were selected out of the group of 13 to wear the skin-tight, latex outfits. I'll have to tell you the story in another post about how it felt to wear latex lol, but if you fast forward to 1:28 you'll see me arrive backstage after doing my thang on the runway. I'm wearing a turquoise body suit with super high black boots and black gloves. I didn't know I was being videotaped so you'll see me dancing and acting silly haha:

Salon Blu Fashion Show - Backstage During the Von Gutenberg Couture Segment

The fashion show was a great success and I had the opportunity to network with amazing people, who already have me on tap for shoots in 2011. One of them asked me to be the latest face for a designer watch company in their upcoming editorial spread. Sweet!

The Perks of Arriving Early to a Modeling Gig

"If you're early, you're on time, if you're on time, you're late!'" This is a saying that my high school math teacher taught me and it stuck with me my whole life. I've found that this is especially crucial when it comes to modeling.

Being professional is a huge part of leading a successful modeling career and that means being where you're supposed to be when you're told to be there. While it is important to arrive early for castings, go-sees and fittings, it is even more important to be early for actual shoots, fashion shows and other related events. Why? The following perks listed below will serve as your answer:

1. It makes a great impression. Being early may be a small thing to most people but to the client you are working for, it speaks volumes to your professionalism and shows right away that you take what you do seriously.

2. You'll have less to worry about. When you're early you'll often get the heads up on how the shoot/show will be run and will have the opportunity to check out the location you're at, who you'll be working with, etc. This is a great time for you to prepare yourself for what's ahead. You'll also be the first to know of any last minute changes as well as be present for any instructions you'll need to follow. Running late means you'll have play catch up, which can be annoying for the client and the other models involved.

3. Dibs on hair and makeup. This is hands down my FAVORITE perk when it comes to showing up to a modeling gig early. I can't tell you how many countless times I've had the chance to be the first person to get my hair, makeup and wardrobe taken care of because I arrived before everyone else. Usually the hair/makeup/wardrobe folks will take their time with the first model, too, so you get to sit back, relax and chat while waiting for the other models to arrive.

4. Star treatment. While this may not be the case every single time, being the first one to arrive early usually opens the door for you to be the "favorite." The photographer/designer/client is usually eager to get the job started and if you're the only person present, chances are they'll give you the best wardrobe or give you more attention/camera time.

These perks definitely apply when you are involved in a modeling gig that requires more than one model. While you should still be on your best behavior and not snub the other models, enjoy the attention you'll get from the client by being the first one to appear on the scene. Clients don't just remember the bad things they've witnessed models doing, they also recognize (and remember) the good stuff.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Answering a Reader Question #106

KenzieRey22 Wrote:

My name is Kenzie and i really would like to start modeling but i don't know where to start! and i have no one to really help me out with it, im from Portland OR but i'm recently living in North Dakota, but i'm moving back to Portland soon (: the only agencies around are in the capital city Bismarck. I'm 16 years old, 5"6 and 115 pounds, do you think i could start? 

Hi, Kenzie, thanks for the question! At your current height and weight you meet the requirements for commercial/print modeling. Unless you can get to 5'8" high fashion and runway agencies won't be very interested in signing you.

That being said, your best bet is to find a legit agency in your area that represents commercial/print models. Since you are going to be moving to Portland, you'll want to submit to agencies there. Depending on how soon you'll move, it may not be a good idea to try and find an agency in North Dakota right now...unless you have a year or more until the big move. If you need help finding legitimate agencies to submit to, shoot me an email (you'll find my email address under my Blogger Profile page) and I'll be able to give you further assistance.

Below are links to other blog posts I've done that will help you figure out how to get started in modeling:

Where Do You Start?

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

Hope that helps and good luck to you!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Answering a Reader Question #105

Anonymous Wrote:

Hi, Dania! I just want to say that your blog has given me many helpful hints and insights into the modeling and fashion industry, and I feel like I have a more realistic view now. I have a question about my measurements, though. I'm 15, a sophmore in highschool, and I have a bust of 32", a waist of 23", and I'm somewhere between 5'6 and 5'7, although my doctor said I would most likely grow to be one 5'8 or 5'9. What I'm most worried about is my hips, 35". In general, I'm very happy with my hips and behind, but would it put me out of runway altogether, assuming I grow to be 5'8? Would it get in the way of being signed by Ford or Factor, New Generation? Thanks for your help! 

Hi, Anonymous! Thanks for the questions and being a reader--I truly appreciate it! Worry not, you'll be happy to know that your hip measurement is fine...just make sure you keep it at 35 inches. When it comes to a model's measurements, you can be smaller than the standard 34-24-34 but no larger than one inch in any of these areas. So you are right at the maximum for your hip measurement (my hips are also 35 inches and I haven't had any problems so far). So you are good to go, my dear! ;-)

Answering a Reader Question #104

Maureen Wrote:

I'm 24 years old and I'm Panamainian. I've been told for most of my life that I could be a model, but I'm only 5'3. Despite my age I look 18. I wonder if I would be any good in the modeling industry? 

Hi, Maureen! Realistically speaking with the standards of the industry as they stand right now, your best shot is going to be doing petite modeling and/or parts modeling. At your age it is highly unlikely that you'll get taller, which means that agencies won't be as likely to sign you for commercial/print work (the minimum height requirement for this type of work is 5'5", although exceptional 5'4" models have been able to get lucky). Parts modeling is a great field to get into if you're able to find a good agency to market you and clients often use petite models for this type of work.

Agency representation is the best way to legitimately get into the industry, however, you do have the option of pursuing freelance work. But freelance modeling comes with its own set of challenges that not many people want to deal with, which is why they hope to sign with a modeling agency.

Your youthful appearance is an advantage. There are some instances where older models that look much younger (and in some cases were shorter) were able to do teen modeling. But that is a rare exception that doesn't happen every day. But I will say that when it comes to agencies you should do your best to exhaust all your possibilities if this is a path that you want to pursue.

I hope that helps and I wish you the best of luck, whether you decide to pursue modeling or not.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Dania Denise + Youtube = Awesome

Unless you've been living under a rock somewhere, chances are you have heard of Youtube. To avoid insulting anyone's intelligence, I'll go ahead and write this post and assume that you guys know what it is (if you don't, Google it lol).

Anyways, I was chatting with a few friends from college and one of them suggested that I also do video blogs about the modeling industry in addition to the blog I have here. Well, I thought that was a great idea so I recently started taking the steps to bring this project to fruition.

As I looked at my blog and how popular it has become with my readers over the years, I began to think how I could get more people interested--not only to increase my readership base but to also further get my information and advice about the modeling industry out to the masses. So why not do a video blog? Naturally, I feel that Youtube is the perfect place to start.

I just ordered a web cam online so I'll have to wait a few days for it to arrive. Of course I'll be doing some test videos and once I'm happy with the results, I'll begin posting them on Youtube. Although my blog does allow me to upload videos, I think that putting them on Youtube will be a great additional resource for marketing myself and the wealth of information I want to share with all the model hopefuls out there.

While I have some time to figure out the format and what topics I'll talk about, I do know that I'll adapt a lot of my existing blog posts into a video version--at least for the most popular/common modeling topics. While some of you may think, "what's the point of me watching you talk about a blog post that I've already read," I'm mainly thinking of people that may not necessarily be blog readers (or may not even know my blog exists) as well as those that are not fond of reading in general lol...trust me, I've come across people that have said they'd rather watch a video about a particular topic instead of reading about it.

So I figure that the combination of traditional blog posts here on Modeling 101 and video blogs on Youtube would be a great way to introduce myself to a larger audience. Hey, these days everyone is jumping onto the Youtube bandwagon in order to gain exposure so why not use this media outlet to help more people figure out how to get their foot into the modeling industry's door? And, hey, if Tyra or some other talk show heavyweight comes across me on Youtube and wants to invite me to sit on their couch and talk about myself and my blog, I'm not gonna say no! ;-)

I'll be sure to keep you updated on my progress with creating the video blogs and once I get them up and running, you can bet that I'll be sharing my links here so that you can also get to know me in a different light. At the very least doing these videos will help further prove that I am who I say I am...it also makes it much easier to see what a goofball I can be at times (haha)! Wish me luck!

Answering a Reader Question #103

Ruth Wrote: 

Hi! I'd really love to start modeling, but I have 2 problems, I'm 12 and I have braces. I am 5'8, weigh 130, have brown hair and blue eyes and I'm peitite I guess you'd call it. Do you have any suggestions to help me get started? 

Hi, Ruth! If you are interested in modeling your best bet is to find an agency to represent you. You are still very young so you have plenty of time to pursue this type of career. Your height is perfect for fashion, runway and editorial modeling. For now do not let your braces prevent you from getting started. Each agency has its own preference so send in your photos or attend open casting calls and see what kind of feedback you get.

Some agencies may only be interested in representing you after you've gotten your braces off, while others may be fine with taking you as you are now. The only way to find out is to put yourself out there.

At this point, you can start looking online for agencies in your city/state that either represent teen models and/or fashion models. Because of your age you can be marketed for both types of modeling, although most agencies that sign new fashion models do so when they are at least 13 years of age. You don't need to worry about professional photos or putting together a portfolio. Agencies prefer to have non professional, digital snapshots, especially for new/inexperienced models.

If you need help finding legit agencies to submit to, shoot me a personal email (you can find it on my Blogger profile page) and I'll help you find the right ones to contact.

Best of luck to you!

Friday, December 3, 2010

My Latest Shoot: Bridal Beauty Shoot

I just got my images back from the shoot I mentioned in my previous post. This was a bridal beauty shoot, although I did not wear a wedding dress. The main focus was on the beauty aspect so the majority of the images were taken from the shoulders up.

I'm really happy with the way they turned out, especially since it shows me with a completely different hairstyle than I normally wear. I'm pretty confident that choosing one of these as a headshot will get me more modeling work for clients that are seeking ethnic models with a more "natural" hairstyle. So we'll see how that goes.

I arrived at the photographer's studio at 9:30am. Of course I was there early, as is my habit, so I sat in my car and listened to music until it was time for me to go in. At first I was hesitant about doing the shoot because it was 40 something degrees outside and we had agreed to do the shoot outdoors.

First off, I do NOT do well with cold (haha) so I wasn't sure if I would even be able to function in those temperatures and pull off looking classy and comfortable all at the same time. Thankfully by the time my hair, makeup and wardrobe was taken care of, the sun was shining brightly and warmed things up. It was definitely a blessing for me!

Mina, the photographer of MND Images (who was also my hair and makeup artist), drove us to a small, secluded park/garden area that wasn't too far from the studio. It was one of those places that you would never have known was there otherwise.

We didn't use any special lighting equipment and simply used the natural settings and sun. We shot at four different locations and were done in about an hour...definitely my favorite kind of shoot! Me and Mina worked well together and had a great time. I look forward to working with her again.

Below are some of my favorite shots:

So what do you think of my new hairdo? :-)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

It's December!!!

Wow, time really does fly! I hope that your 2010 has been a positive and memorable one...I know it was for me! This month I am focusing on redoing my portfolio, mainly my actual portfolio, not the ones I have online.

I purchased a new portfolio case recently, since my old one was getting pretty dingy and now that I am looking at some of my images I know that I want to step it up a notch. So it's time to do an overhaul and set up test shoots with photographers to expand my book.

Because of the bridal shows I've been doing this year, I'm hoping to track down some pictures of me on the runway to include in my portfolio--I really enjoy this type of work and want to have a strong bridal look section for my book. I just did a bridal beauty shoot with a fabulous local photographer on Tuesday morning and after previewing some of the images, I know these are going to be my strongest pictures yet.

Because it was a beauty shoot, the majority of the images were taken from the shoulders up. The great thing about this particular shoot is that the photos will also work well for a commercial/print headshot. Instead of wearing my hair down and curled, she actually did my hair in tiny, spiral curls, which I've never had before--it makes for a really cool alternate look for me.

Being a model of color, having curly, more "natural" looking hair is very in demand right now so with these images I'll be able to show clients that I can pull off that look, which could get me more gigs. It's all about knowing your market and who the competition is.

Other test shoots I'm working on include swimwear and I'm also trying to coordinate a shoot for me and my latest model-partner-in-crime, Cameron Clark, to update your couple lifestyle shots. He mainly does fashion and runway but realized that he was missing lifestyle/commercial images in his portfolio and since that's one of my specialties it only made sense for us to team up!

We've got some great concepts and know that with the right photographer, both of our portfolios will benefit. I first met Cameron doing the bridal shows and he actually ended up being my "groom" so we've been "married" about 3 or 4 times this Fall season LOL. He's a great model and very talented so I can't wait to see what lifestyle images we come up with.

Aside from the test shoot phase, I am also waiting to hear back about a possible opportunity to travel to New York to do some modeling for a designer who is launching his petite line. As exciting as the prospect of such a gig is, I am staying fairly neutral about it because in this industry great ideas come and go, projects are offered and then fall apart, and basically anything can happen. So until I get my plane ticket and/or a contract stating that it's official, I'm going to not think about it too much and instead focus on the other aspects of my career.

Don't worry, I've still got more great topics to come and I'll be sure to keep you posted about how my shoots go and all that other fun stuff! Stay tuned...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Answering a Reader Question #102

Kirstin Wrote: 

hey! im 16, 5'9" and have a body like a VS model. ive wanted to be a VS angel for a long time. ive sent in photos to local agencies they called me back but i never went to any of the things. is it possible to be signed to ford or other agencies in NY without going there? & Do you have to put a lot of money out to become sign with a good agency? 

Hey, Kirstin! First you have to know that you cannot do modeling for VS until you are 18. So until then, you can pursue fashion/runway and editorial modeling. That's great that you were contacted by the local agencies in your area but why did you not go in for interviews? It is extremely difficult to get agency representation so the fact that agencies have shown an interest in you is a good sign that you shouldn't neglect. Local agencies are a great way to build your portfolio and career until you can move on to a larger, more prestigious agency. Never count the smaller agencies out since they have the resources to get your foot in the door as well as book you paying work.

If you do not live within a 2 hour's drive from New York, they won't consider you as a serious candidate for agency representation. They will want you to relocate to NY in order for them to sign you, begin developing your career and submit you for work. If you do not have a place to stay in NY, many agencies in the area offer "model dorms," where they provide you with housing. You'll live with the other models signed to the agency and basically will stay there until you are able to afford your own place or leave the agency. So that is an option.

You don't have to spend tons of money if you get a good agency and go about it the right way. For example, if you are new/inexperienced in modeling, the agencies will not expect you to have a professional portfolio with pro pictures. Instead they will ask for digital snapshots of your headshot and full body shot. So there is no money involved there. Legitimate agencies will not charge you upfront fees for anything before offering you a contract. Reputable, successful agencies train their newly signed models for free so you don't have to worry about paying for modeling classes or anything like that. In the NY market if the model they sign has a strong look that they know is marketable then they will cover the cost of putting together your modeling portfolio and will later take the money out of the commission they charge for getting you paid work. Again, you don't pay anything in this stage. Other agencies may let you put your portfolio together yourself by doing free test shoots with photographers.

So there are various ways you can pursue modeling in a way that won't put you into bankruptcy. But if you are not willing to relocate or make the effort to travel to NY to interview with the agencies there then you should stick to modeling locally.

Answering a Reader Question #101

Kristin Wrote: 

OMG! Im 15 and i am Dyinggggg to be a Victoria Secret Model. Im 5'11' though and i feel like i'll never stop growing !!!!! So i guess once im done i'll be too tall :( But gosh I want to be one Soo Bad. I Live in NYC any advice ? 

Hi, Kristin, thanks for the questions! As long as you don't get taller than 6'0", you'll be fine. You can't model for Victoria's Secret until you're 18 so you've still got a few years before you can pursue that. In the meantime, however, you are the perfect height and age to start doing fashion/runway and editorial modeling. Your first step is to get an agency to sign you so that you can officially begin your modeling career. The fact that you live in NYC works to your advantage since that puts you right in the middle of the action.

There are plenty of great agencies in NYC that you can look into getting signed with. If you want to have a shot at Victoria's Secret later on, you may want to first submit to Elite and Ford in New York so that you'd already have an established career and portfolio through them by the time you turn 18. These two agencies are the main ones that VS recruits their new models from. But even if you don't get agency representation by either of them, as long as you sign with a top fashion agency you could still have a shot at catching the eye of someone at VS if you have the look they want.

If you need help finding agencies to submit yourself to, shoot me an email (you can find it on my Blogger profile page) and I'll help you out.

Good luck!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Answering a Reader Question #100

Anonymous Wrote: 

Hi Dania I have a killer body not plus size but curvy and I have the really pretty exotic look but the thing is im only 5'4 and im sure ill grow to 5'5 or 5'6 so do i not have a chance to become a Victoria Secret model since im really short. 

Hi, Anonymous! Unfortunately, at this time Victoria's Secret requires all of its models to be at least 5'8" in height. So unless you can get that tall or maybe an exceptional 5'7", you won't be qualified to become a Victoria's Secret model. But when you hit 5'5" you should give commercial/print a shot. While not on the same level as VS this field has plenty of work to offer if you have the right look and is still a great way to get into the modeling industry.

Good luck to you!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Taking What I Say Too Literally

In case you haven't noticed, I have my own style of writing that is often humorous, sarcastic and fun while being informative. However, I have come to realize that providing information about the modeling industry in a blog/written format may not necessarily convey exactly what I mean at times (similar to how some people misinterpret text messages).

Some things I may mention in a casual and lighthearted manner may actually be interpreted too literally by some readers. Because of this, I want to point out that in some cases, do not take what I say too seriously.

Of course the actual information I am giving you about modeling should be taken seriously--I'm mostly concerned about my more offhand comments. For example, in one of my posts about male models working with female models, I write something along the lines of "falling in love with a beautiful stranger."

Noooooooo, I am not advising models to literally fall in love with someone they have just met or become otherwise romantically involved and possibly put their safety at risk. While I'm sure most of you got what I meant and took it to be humorous and lighthearted, there are those that have been telling me the risks that come with making such statements. They are not statements made to be carried out literally at all.

In my most recent post about knowing what goes into a fashion show I make another statement about flirting with the casting folks while doing your runway walk. Again, nooooooo I am not suggesting that you do your walk and then strut over and start flirting with the cute guy in charge of videotaping the casting or winking excessively and making kissy faces at the person in charge of the casting.

Some concepts are difficult to describe in the written format so I do my best to explain what I mean while keeping it lighthearted in nature. Modeling is an industry where you have to show off your attitude and sex appeal but these should be accomplished within the context of the casting you are attending...not to be taken too seriously.

When I was 15 and attending castings for agency representation, I was told by the professionals at the various agencies that I had to learn how to "sell myself." And I was 15! But even at that young age, I knew exactly what they meant. It didn't mean I was going out and physically prostituting myself and sleeping my way to the top. It simply meant that I had to equip myself with the knowledge, personality and skills to wow an agency into wanting to sign me and book me work. Simple as that.

So for those of you that are a bit too serious or maybe a little sensitive, please know that my tone in writing is meant to be easy to read, informative and anything but stuffy. And if I throw in a statement that you start to protest, before sending me a message about it--step back, remember the context of the information being provided and take a chill pill. It's all in good fun while being educational. Life's too short as it is to be stuffy--modeling is about action and freedom so let it all hang out. Nooooooooo....not literally! Put your shirt back on! LOL.

You Better Work!!! Understanding What Makes a Fashion Show (Part I): The Casting

Being in a fashion show is perhaps one of the biggest goals that new and aspiring models hope to achieve. The thought of getting to wear a designer's fashions, getting your hair and makeup professionally done and strutting your way down a catwalk in front of an audience is a vision that many model hopefuls replay over and over in their heads.

Of course to better prepare yourself for participating in such an event it is important to not only know what role you play as a model, but understand the other aspects that go into making a fashion show possible.

Before you can be on a catwalk, however, you first have to be cast in the fashion show itself. Whether you have an agent or are freelance, you'll have to attend the casting for the fashion show in question. Because it could have a large turnout of potential candidates it is a good idea to arrive to the casting location early in order to get in front of the line.

No two fashion shows are alike so make sure that you find out what you'll need to bring to the casting, if anything. Some castings for fashion shows require models to bring a headshot, resume and/or book (modeling portfolio). Others may only want a headshot with your contact info. Also find out what the dress code will be. If no such information is available or if the production company putting on the show and casting say that the dress code is open, do your best to find an outfit that shows off your natural shape and is easy to move around in.

High heels are a must for the women and the men should be well groomed. You may see some females wearing complicated, eyesore fashions but if you really want to be professional about it, wearing a form fitting dress (without a distracting pattern) or skinny jeans and a form fitting shirt or tank top with your heels will be more than enough to suffice. Men should stick to jeans, comfortable shoes (that are clean and not scuffed up) and a fitted shirt, unless told to dress otherwise. Either way, use your best judgment.

If there are a lot of people attending the casting you can expect to be there for a while. Be prepared to wait if necessary and bring something to help pass the time but won't be a distraction from what's going on. Since there is usually a sign in sheet or other form that needs to be filled out, it helps to have something to write with instead of wasting time tracking down a pen from someone.

Be attentive. Pay attention to whoever is in charge of the casting and follow their directions (remember, I'm always fond of saying that good models are those that can follow instructions!). Because it is a casting for a fashion show you will be required to walk. You may be in a room by yourself with the production company/personnel in charge of hiring the models or you might have to walk in front of the competition. Either way, do your best, show a lot of energy and strut as if your life depends on it!

Show a bit of attitude, smile when necessary and flirt a little with the casting team (no, not literally...you're trying to get hired for the show, not get their phone number). When I say "flirt" I mean do things like smile seductively, wink, throw them a look that says "I'm great and your show will be even better if I'm in it." Do what you feel makes you stand out from everyone else. It's hard to explain but if you've got "it", it will come out in your walk.

When the casting is over, be sure to thank the casting people if you have the opportunity. Aside from doing your runway walk, you may be asked a few brief questions by the casting folks. This could include how long you've been modeling, previous shows you've done (if any) and your availability for the rehearsals, fittings and the date of the show itself.

Hearing back about whether you made the cut or not could take a few days or longer, depending on when the fashion show is supposed to take place. The production company will more than likely email you with their decision or they may call you. If you do not hear back from them at all then unfortunately, that is a sign that you are not what they are looking for.

In some cases, production companies that put on fashion shows will keep models' information and profiles in their database and may contact those they feel would work well with other shows in the future. So even if you don't make the cut for one show you could end up being considered for another.

Why "Hurry Up & Wait" is a Staple in the Modeling Industry

I kid you not when I say that modeling is not always glamorous--whether it is high fashion or a commercial/print shoot. For those that have never been on the set of a photoshoot before, there may be some things that surprise you, namely how long and boring the down time in between shooting can be.

If you think that a modeling shoot means arriving, getting hair and makeup done, getting dressed, posing for the camera and then going home...that's only the bare bones. Most don't account for the time it takes for the crew to get the location setup, the time needed to change looks and other factors. For many shoots the actual time spent in front of the camera is less than the time you spend standing around waiting for everything to be ready.

For those that have zero patience and/or expect things to happen right away so that you can be somewhere else, this aspect of being a model will greatly disappoint you. Even for shoots that are typically shorter in nature, you can still expect to have some down time where you aren't able to do anything. Even if you arrive early and are ready with your hair, makeup and outfit, if the photographer isn't ready or if the location or set isn't just right, guess what? You'll have to wait.

Signs of experienced models on set include those that are tucked away in corners reading a book, surfing the Web on their phones or even doing homework. While such activities are typically not recommended for attending go-sees and castings, photoshoots are a different story. It is always a good idea to bring something that will occupy your time while waiting for the action to start.

I often have friends express interest in tagging along to one of my shoots and I have to explain to them that my reason for not allowing it isn't personal...I'm truly saving them from dying of boredom! Sure, in the beginning it is cool and enticing to witness but after a while, especially in between shooting, the experience is anything but fun. I once had my cousin fall asleep in the corner of the studio during the entire shoot!

It is important to realize that photoshoots are not just for the purpose of having fun in front of the camera. It is a business process for all those involved. It takes time to get a studio setup just right. It takes time to make sure all of the equipment is functioning properly and accounted for. It takes time to test the lights and make sure that it is producing just the right look that the client wants.

It takes time to get a model ready for hair, makeup and wardrobe--especially if the next look is completely different. For shoots on-location it takes even more time and waiting around to get the ideal conditions, lighting, weather and element needed for the shoot to go off without a hitch.

So what is a model that is eager to get to work supposed to do in this situation? Find something to occupy yourself with while keeping an eye on what's going on. If there are other models on set, that's a plus because then at least you'll have someone to talk to to pass the time. I love being able to make new friends with the models I'm working with or if I'm solo, I'll get a good book or word search to keep me busy. Even during the times when I should be or am a little bored, I'm still excited because, hey, I'm still getting paid for it!

The biggest "don't" in this situation is to complain. "Hurry up and wait" is a saying that is commonly used in both the acting and modeling field and the sooner you come to accept what that means, the easier your job will be (even if you're bored in the process lol).

Talent Agencies: Do You Need to Kill Two Birds with One Stone?

While searching for agency representation you may have come across talent agencies and modeling agencies. If you're not familiar with the difference between the two, knowing this information could help you plan your career in the industry accordingly.

The main difference between these two types of agencies is that while modeling agencies only represent models, talent agencies also include actors, voice over artists and even musical entertainers in their representation. Modeling agencies strictly specialize in their primary field so they have no reason to try and sign people who only want to act in film, commercial, TV shows and other related projects.

Do you happen to be an aspiring model who also wants to be an actor (or vice-versa)? Then guess what: you'll want to apply to talent agencies. This is for a couple of reasons. The first is that a talent agency allows you to kill two birds with one stone by having one form of representation for both types of work. Having a main agent for acting and modeling means you only have to deal with one contract and it makes the process of attending go-sees, fittings, auditions and shoots much easier. This also prevents any time conflicts.

Reputable talent agencies know how to cross market their talent so that all the bases will be covered. However, it is important to know that getting started in acting is much different than getting started in modeling. If you have no experience in either field, a talent agency will help you develop your career and provide you with the right training that will allow them to begin submitting you for work.

While modeling doesn't require professional photos or an established portfolio for new models, if you also want to act, training in some shape or form is a must, especially if you want to impress a talent agency enough to sign you. Types of training for acting includes taking local acting classes through a program, participating in acting workshops, plays and similar projects in school, etc. If you need assistance with developing your acting career, there are many local resources available to you.

One of the best ways to be highly marketable is to be able to model and act. But if you simply want to do photoshoots, fashion shows, editorials and other modeling-related work, then you'll want to stick to submitting to modeling agencies. Does this mean that someone who wants to just do modeling can't submit to a talent agency? No. There is nothing wrong with still submitting to a talent agency that also represents models in addition to other types of talent. Just make sure to communicate to the agency in question that you are mainly interested in doing modeling.

Once you are signed, they will only submit you for that type of work. In some cases, though, talent agencies have recognized acting potential in their signed models and may have them take acting classes to see if there is the chance that they would transition well into acting work. This varies from case to case and person to person.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dania Denise on the Site FamousWhy.com

Because it is always important to know where you are appearing on the Internet, I often do online searches for myself. No, it's not to stroke my ego (at least not completely anyway haha)--there is method to my madness. In this tech-obsessed age, we all know that people steal photos, alter them, post them in not-so-nice places, etc. It is because of these nefarious practices that I do my best to know which sites I'm appearing on, who is using my blog content, articles and other related information.

Imagine my surprise today to find that someone listed me on the website www.FamousWhy.com. As the name implies, this site is dedicated to identifying various famous people in all industries/categories. My bio information is currently waiting for approval by the editors of the site and they got my birthplace wrong so hopefully everything will be accurate soon. Want to know the reason why the site believes I'm "famous why"...sexiness. Lol. Ah, the Internet, how I love thee.

Well, since somebody seems to think I'm famous (at least on the Internet), I would love to invite you guys to check out my profile and vote to increase my "Fame Rank." The more top votes I get, well, the more it would make sense for me to be on the site. You don't have to sign up for a membership or anything involved. Simply click on the highest rating for the Fame Rank, which is located on the right side of the page.

For those of you that are more adventurous, you can even become my fan on the site (this section is located under the Fame Rank). In order to become a fan you have to select your location using the map the site provides and fill out the required information. I think it would be neat to see where all my fans are located so if you're interested, check it out!

Here is the link to my direct profile on the site:

Dania Denise on FamousWhy.com

Friday, November 19, 2010

Answering a Reader Question #99

AveryJ Wrote: 

Thanks so much for your help! What agencies have you been working with?

Hi, AveryJ! You are very welcome, I am always happy to help!

My first agent was a small one called Talent Plus. After about a year I sought new representation with a larger agency called Generations Model & Talent in San Francisco. I stayed with them for over 5 years. From there I went to the Ford Models print division (also in San Francisco). After 3-4 years with them, I decided to seek a new agent (Ford was great but it wasn't really a good fit for me and the split was mutual). I am now with a boutique agency called Models, Inc. They are also in the San Francisco area.

Because I live in Northern California, San Francisco is the main market that I work out of. However, I also do freelance modeling on the side and find my own modeling and acting opportunities on top of what my agency books me for. Because of that I am also able to work in the Los Angeles market, however, I do not have an agent in Southern California at the moment.

Answering a Reader Question #98

Anonymous Wrote: 

How do I get signed if I'm 14, and have braces? Do you think it will be a problem?

Hi, Anonymous! Your first step is to find modeling agencies in your city. It is best to submit to agencies that are within a two hour's drive from where you live. Once you know the names of the agencies, which can be done by doing an online search, you can visit the agency's official website, which will list their guidelines for how you can submit yourself as a potential model. Follow the directions as they are stated on the site. If, for some reason, this kind of information is not on the site, then you can try calling and asking what the requirements are.

As far as whether your braces will be a problem, there is no black or white answer to that. It strictly varies from person to person and situation to situation. It can be difficult to find modeling assignments for models with braces because there is such a limited market for it, but there have been models that have managed to get signed and find work with their braces. On the other hand, there are some agencies that will only sign a model after the braces have been taken off.

The only way you'll know for sure whether an agency will sign you with your braces is to send in your pictures or attend an open casting call so start doing your research, locate those agencies and find out what they want so that you can submit yourself.

Good luck!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Answering a Reader Question #97

Anonymous Wrote:

Hi,the only part of being a model that i dont like is to expose my body in swimsuits and lingerie.But thats something that i would love to do, bridal.May you give me an advice how to find this specifically job in california?Thanks 

Hi, Anonymous! That's great that you want to get into bridal modeling. There are a few different ways to go about pursuing this. Luckily, California is a great state for this type of work. There are tons of vendors that specialize in the wedding industry in the Golden State, which means the need for bridal models. The two most common types of work you'll find in this field include doing bridal fashion shows and print work in bridal magazines and other similar publications.

One way to get into doing bridal fashion shows is to look up the different production companies that put on their shows/wedding fairs in your area. For example, if you live in Northern California one of the biggest wedding fairs is known as Brocade Weddings. They set up shows all over the Bay Area and surrounding areas. You can visit the company's website and check out their contact page in order to ask them who they go through to find bridal models. Once you know the name of the model coordinator, it is important to get in touch with that person (that may require more online research if the bridal show company doesn't already have that info to give you). Let the model coordinator know that you are interested in doing this type of work and see if you can schedule an interview. Then see where things go from there.

As for doing print work in bridal magazines and publications, the best way to get this kind of work is with agency representation. Good agencies have contacts with casting directors that work with bridal magazines and will have the first notification of openings for shoots and other types of bridal modeling assignments, which the agent will then submit you for. However, it is possible to find bridal work as a freelance model. It isn't as easy but if you are diligent and know where to look, you can make it happen. For instance, the way I got onto the cover and in the pages of the first issue of Mocha Bride Magazine was through a model call they posted on Craigslist. Pretty crazy, huh? Luckily, they were legit and the opportunity produced great tearsheets for my portfolio. Another possible avenue you can explore is to visit local bridal shops and see what bridal magazines they have on display or you can look up bridal publications in the magazines section of a local bookstore or grocery store. Find out what the website is for these publications or write down the name/email address of the editor or whoever they list in charge of the art direction/photos. Then go about contacting that person with your interest in doing bridal modeling. Hopefully they will be able to point you to the right person to get in touch with or if they only use agency represented models, ask which agencies they tend to do their castings through.

It is also important that you have bridal images to show in your portfolio. You will be taken more seriously if clients see that you have some kind of experience doing this type of modeling.

Here are a couple of links that may help you out. Again, it's going to take research, contacting people and major networking if you are planning on doing this freelance:

Brocade Weddings/Bay Area Wedding Fairs

Northern California Wedding Vendors

Southern California Wedding Vendors

Bridal Magazines & Publications in Southern California

Bridal Shows & Events in Southern California

When it comes to searching through wedding vendors, I would suggest looking up wedding photography businesses (these are great for setting up test shots for getting bridal images in your portfolio) and bridal shops that sell the dresses (networking with bridal shops is a great way to get your foot in the door and get info on whether they participate in any bridal shows in the area).

Good luck to you!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Answering a Reader Question #96

Lady J Wrote:


My question is, can models that are my height 5'4 actually have successful high fashion modeling careers and what does it take to get to that level? 

Hey, Lady J, thanks for the question, which I am sure is one that many have on their minds. At this current time in the industry, having a model at 5'4" in the high fashion modeling world is about as close to impossible as you can get. Petite modeling and commercial/print have always been alternatives for shorter models but the high fashion realm continues to be one that has managed to cling to the stringent height requirements for decades.

While some will mention exceptions to the rule, Kate Moss is not 5'4" and even though Devon Aoki is probably the shortest model to successfully strut down a high fashion catwalk, her modeling career was brief and she quickly pursued an acting career instead--not to mention that Kate Moss was her mentor. In essence, unless you are super connected on the Kate Moss level, the chances of being 5'4" and leading a purely high fashion career is slim to none. From agencies to designers and others involved in the industry, there is a lot of opposition in place for shorter models hoping to be taken seriously in this particular field.

Before you tell me that I'm negative and no better than the people trying to keep shorter models off the runway, let me explain. The answer I've provided above is the truth for the industry right now as it stands. However, I am optimistic that in the coming years shorter models will have their turn in the spotlight. I believe in everyone having a shot but that doesn't mean I'm going to sugarcoat what the industry is really all about. It does discriminate in many ways in order to maintain the facade they've come to know and associate with. It takes a long time to change a system and way of thinking. But in addition to sharing cold hard truths, I also believe in challenging the system and tossing out the old ways and welcoming new ideas.

Could things for shorter models change? Of course. The Bella Petite movement in particular is one organization that is making strides to gain public attention for shorter models and break the height barrier when it comes to all types of modeling. Only by drawing national attention and gaining a momentum of supporters, will shorter models have a shot at appearing on the runways and gaining the respect of all in the industry, instead of receiving widespread criticism. I highly suggest visiting the Bella Petite website, if you haven't done so already, to find out how the organization is helping to form a voice for women 5'5" and shorter.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Answering a Reader Question #95

Amanda Wrote:

Hi Dania, thanks for answering my question before. I was wondering, how do I find a trustworthy modeling agency? Every time I looked on the internet for one in Miami, the only that doesn't seem to be a scam at first is Avenue Productions, which has received hundreds of complaints that the models they book not only pay an upfront fee, but they are never booked for any jobs. I checked the agency's website, and all that I really found was about 200+ pictures of models they booked (who probably paid the $300 upfront fee). Not to mention when I searched the company name, the suggested list said "Avenue Productions Scam". I really don't know where else to look, since I've used Google, Craigslist, and I even resorted to checking a phone book. I know Miami isn't as large as New York or LA, so I wouldn't expect to find as many agencies as models find there. But the only time I'm going to New York is in December for only 2 weeks. I tried searching for large agencies that have chains all over the U.S., but I mean it when I say I have NONE. Any advice? 

 Hello, Amanda! You are very welcome and thanks for reaching out and asking for info about finding legitimate agencies. It can be tough to weed out which agencies are real and which ones are scams but it seems that you have done a pretty thorough job. In general it is best to stick with modeling agencies whose names are internationally known such as Wilhelmina, Ford, Elite, etc. There are always local, boutique agencies which may not be as widely known but still manage to make a name for themselves and book legit work for their models. The ones that have websites are usually the best ones to start with. More agencies these days are stating right on their websites that they do not charge upfront fees as well as other info to warn aspiring models about what to avoid.

Here, let me make things easier for you...below is a list of modeling agencies in the Miami/Miami Beach area that you can check out:

Elite - Miami
119 Washington Avenue Suite 501
Miami Beach Florida 33139
tel: (305) 674-9500 
email: MIAMIinfo@elitemodel.com

Next Model Management
1688 Meridian Ave Suite 800
Miami Beach, FL 33139
tel: (305) 531-5100

CGM - Caroline Gleason Management
690 Lincoln Road, Suite 301
Miami Beach, FL 33139
tel: (305) 695-2731
email: info@carolinegleason.com

DecoModels, Inc.
4525 collins avenue, bungalow 142
miami beach, fl 33140
tel: (305) 673-900

Ford Models
1665 Washington Avenue
3rd Floor
Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
Tel: (305) 534-7200

Front Management
1560 Lenox Avenue Suite 306
Miami Beach, FL 33139
te. (305) 673-2225

MC2 Model Management
1674 alton road suite 500
miami beach, FL 33139
tel: (305) 672-8300

Mega Models Miami
420 Lincoln Rd
Miami Beach FL
tel: (305) 672-6342
Email: info@megamodelsmiami.com

Michele Pommier Management
3252 NE 1st Avenue Suite 120
Miami, FL 33127
tel: (305) 394-8683

Wilhelmina Miami
1100 West Avenue Suite 326
Miami Beach, FL 33139
tel: (305) 672-9344

Aside from the well known agencies it is a good idea to still use caution when submitting. From what you've written it sounds like you already know the red flags to be on the lookout for so once you begin attending casting calls and getting interviews, listen carefully to see if the agencies mention stuff like paying for classes, portfolios or other "starter expenses" prior to offering you a contract. I'm sure once you are there in the offices you'll be able to trust your gut in knowing whether you feel comfortable with the agency or not. And if you still aren't sure you can always contact me for further assistance!

Good luck and happy hunting!

Answering a Reader Question #94

Anonymous Wrote:

My name is Quenette Battle. I am an inspring model. I want it so bad it almost makes me wanna cry. I'm working hard to get there but I feel like I need help from someone like you. I can send you pics through email or you can give me a call. Truely, Q. 

 Hi, Quenette! Hopefully you'll read this post--I didn't publish your original comment, which would have appeared in the comments section of the blog post you comment on, because it contained your phone number and I did not want to make that public for all to see. In the event that you see this post in response to your comment, I want to let you know that you can send your pictures and any other modeling info (measurements) directly to my email address: daniadenise@gmail.com. Email is the best way to reach me with any questions, comments or suggestions.

Hope to hear from you and good luck!