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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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Parents of Child Models, Please Read...

I just got a message from a concerned reader on one of the sites I regularly write modeling content for and I was so disturbed by the nature of her message that I felt I needed to do a quick post. This particular person told me that she had a friend whose daughter is 6-years-old and an aspiring child model.

Apparently, her mother had professional photos done, which included having her child in a bikini. First off, the word "child" and "bikini" should not be in the same sentence in my opinion. A little girl wearing a cute two-piece around friends and family is one thing but to photograph her is inappropriate to me, simply because of her age.

To make matters worse, these bikini pictures are on Myspace and a number of other free social networking sites. I'm assuming they're up in order to increase her daughter's exposure and hopes of snagging an agent. The friend of the mother contacted me to ask what my thoughts were on the subject and if her concern was simply her being overprotective. Additionally, she added that the mother also listed the specific name of the town they live in on the profiles. It is a small town that only has one school, etc.

For all you parents of aspiring child models, I'll tell you like I told her: when it comes to children and the Internet, there is no such thing as being too overprotective. Any images of young girls in bikinis, no matter how cute or darling, are exactly the kind of images that pedophiles look for while online. Such images are not protected, which means anyone can right-click and save it for their own intentions.

These kind of pictures should NEVER be posted online. 6-year-old child models--and kids in this age range in general--should always be photographed with clothes on and not showing any excessive skin. One-piece swimsuits are okay but even then, such innocent images are not seen that way by pedophiles. Kiddie porn is rampant and a booming business and believe me, you'd be surprised by how many sites do not have to look far to find what they know their audience wants. It's just wrong.

What's even more scary is that you have NO idea who is clicking and saving the pictures. There's no list that you can check to see what people are downloading. Aspiring child models should stick to modeling images that are very commercial and safe. There really is no need for your child model to be in a swimsuit unless it is something approved by your agent. If you are without agency representation for your child, stick to typical images of them in fun and colorful outfits--leave out the swimwear, boy or girl.

As far as listing the location of the actual city where you live, this is also a no-no. Instead of saying specifically where you are, list your location as the nearest large city. This is common practice in the industry anyway. For example, the town I live in is not that well known for most people outside of California so when it comes to my location, I simply say that I am in the San Francisco area. No harm, no foul.

Parents, be diligent about how you manage your child's modeling career--mainly if you do not have an agent. This is why I stress that parents get their child agency representation as soon as possible. They have the resources and the knowledge needed to know exactly how to market your child in a way that will not make them vulnerable to online sickos.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I Hate Being the Guinea Pig

I am one of those models that makes it a priority to arrive early for everything: castings, go-sees, auditions, shoots, etc. Oftentimes I'm there before the actual client or they'll be surprised that someone actually did show up early and they won't even be ready.

In most cases being the early bird has greatly benefited me but recently this seemingly good habit ended up backfiring on me. Since I want to keep it real with my readers I'm going to share my experience that may not be a big deal to some but for me it still makes me cringe. lol.

I was in Los Angeles for a casting for a beauty editorial shoot. It was an open casting from 10am-2pm, which meant I could attend anytime I wanted. Of course I wanted to be there early since I was not sure how many people would be there and also wanted to make a good first impression.

The details of the casting I received in the email were pretty straight forward: the casting director and photographer would be doing test shoots as well as videotaping each model in order to get an idea of our personality. Simple enough, right? Well, the casting started at 10am but I actually got there at 10:45am. I was the only model at the place so I signed in and waited for about 20 minutes because the casting people weren't even ready. So I patiently waited until they called me.

One guy had the camera for the test shoot while the other guy (I'm assuming he was the casting director) had a small camcorder to record the casting. I figured they would do the test shoots and then ask me a couple of questions on camera. Nope. Instead, the casting director had the camcorder on while the photographer was taking my test shots. He asked me to play with my hair, which I did. But apparently it wasn't what he wanted so he clarified by saying that he wanted me to mess up my hair and look all wild and raw.

Ooookkkaaay.....totally not what I was expecting but hey, nothing's run of the mill in modeling sometimes, right? Well, needless to say, I was caught off guard so I did my best to mess up my hair...based on my modeling pictures on my blog you all know I don't have THAT much hair to work with lol so it was a bit tricky. I did my best but if I had known I was going to have to demolish my perfectly curled and brushed coif, I would have put in some extensions to have more to work with.

Although my facial expressions and poses were "workin' it" inside my head I was totally panicking and completely felt thrown off my game. It was one of the most awkward castings I'd attended in quite some time. To make matters worse, when I was done and thanked them for their time, I turned around to find about 8 models in the sitting area who had been watching me the entire time. Ugh. It was one of those situations where being first wasn't beneficial for me.

For one thing because the casting team didn't seem too sure of what to have the models do for the casting and the whole "mess your hair up and pose" idea seemed like something they just came up with. Second, being first meant that my casting is more than likely going to be the weakest, whereas the next models throughout the day will be better. And third, because the other models were present they were able to prepare ahead of time and I'm pretty sure they did a better job than me. What sucked even more was that on the drive back from Los Angeles, I thought up about half a dozen poses I could have done. Argh!

Eh, you win some, you lose some. I don't think I booked that particular gig but I have learned a lesson: it's best to be early when you've actually booked the shoot but if it's an open casting call where I don't have an appointment time, I'm totally going to go in later and cheat off of the competition. LOL. Ah, this crazy industry!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Answering a Reader Question #63

Breanna Wrote: 

I always have alot of people tell me i should be a model because i look exotic im vietnamese n black bt i have no experience or anything like that and i see alot of magazines were you can submit photos but i always feel like it's for already established models is that true? i would like to submit for the beauty of the week but am not so sure if i should.

Hey, Breanna, thanks for the question! You do not have to be an established model in order to be chosen as a JET "Beauty of the Week." Many of the young ladies that submit their photos are not experienced or "pro" models, while others are. Experience in the modeling industry is not a requirement in order to send in your photos. All you need is a great picture and you'll be good to go!

A good majority of the magazines that allow models to submit their images do not require you to be a professional model. However, they will want professional quality pictures. So all you need to do is do a test shoot with a pro photographer in your area and that's it! Good luck!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Addressing a Reader Comment #2

Anonymous Wrote: Why is it that commercial modeling is considered as representing the "average woman"? commercial models have the same measurement requirements for waist, bust, and hips as fashion models (give or take one inch) except they are shorter so it looks more proportionate. so to be honest the strain to be thin is just as hard. the "average woman" has measurements of 42" hips and 36" waist and is the height of 5'4". So it seems commercial is just as physically hard to obtain as fashion except of the height factor. 34", 24",34" is seen the same by girls viewing it on either the runway of someone who is 5'10" or their favorite tv commercial extra who is 5'7". so how is being that small really considered "average"? 

You know, those are questions that I have often asked myself. And to be honest, there is really nothing I can say that would satisfactorily answer them. But what I do want you and other people to understand is the reality of the modeling industry. Models are commodities. We are not hired to change the world or make a difference in people's lives. We are hired to make people money. The modeling industry (fashion, commercial/print, etc.) is not about ethics, morals or being role models. It is first and foremost a business and its goal is to make as much money as possible. The modeling industry's priority is to sell people something that is not real. So no, models do not necessarily represent the average woman or even the average person. The facade is just that--a facade. People don't always buy a product because the model selling it is representing the "average" person. People mainly buy products because the model selling it is physically appealing. The advertising industry has whole sectors devoted to consumer research and sad to say it is because of the general public's actions/reactions that they take the steps they do when it comes to hiring models to push a product, designer or idea.

Commercial/print models are popularly known as representing the average woman but that isn't exactly accurate. What these types of models are supposed to represent is a more down to earth, girl/guy next door image. We're supposed to be the people you would see walking around in the mall or drinking coffee at the local cafe. Unlike fashion and runway models, who are seen as untouchable, print models are hired to be the "approachable" image of a company, product or idea. While the ideal measurements for print models are similar to that of a fashion model's, print agencies are much more flexible when it comes to signing people. They are hardly ever asked to lose weight. I've run into many print models in the field that fall outside of those measurements so no, not all print models are required to fit into an impossible weight range.

The modeling world is a difficult one to break. I'm sure you've noticed they do not adapt so well to change. For example, I was answering modeling questions on a forum one day and someone stated that they could not readily believe that there are models that are 5'10" and 115 lbs. I replied back that if you look up any fashion or runway model, including the Victoria's Secret Angels, a large majority meet those stats. I also said that I did not feel it was healthy but it was a standard that agencies and clients demanded, therefore it was totally possible. One of the other users on the forums, who is an ex-model and now works as a head booker for DNA Models, followed up my reply with her own, stating that she agreed 100% with what I said and did not even attempt to stick up for the industry when it came to the fact that being 5'10" and 115 lbs or smaller was not healthy. That is her reality on a daily basis. That's how strong the industry's roots go when it comes to such topics. Models are not meant to be role models...they are meant to sell clothes, accessories and products. Can models be role models? Sure, why not? However, that was never their original purpose and the sooner the public can see that, the better. We are simply doing our jobs.

There are models for virtually everything these days. Plus size models may be larger in size but they have an even bigger challenge with keeping their weight and stats up to par. Petite models are required to maintain these same strict standards. Print models are more flexible but still required to meet certain qualifications that do not necessarily make this field a "free for all." Want to see models that really represent the average person? Then there are "real people models." This field of modeling is slowly growing in demand so there are options. You have to look for them.

Do I disagree with what you've said? Actually, I completely agree with you. However, if there is anything I've learned in over a decade of being a commodity to a multimillion (if not multi-billion) dollar industry is that we are not selling reality. We sell an image. Do I condone or encourage this perception? Definitely not. I do what I can to present an accurate view of the modeling world in my blog for people to hopefully better understand how things work and why. And while I do not agree with a lot of the practices and politics, it is something that is bigger than me. The modeling world has been operating for decades and is set in its ways. The reason models and modeling is seen as such an enigma is because not everyone can become one. If anyone could be a model, the novelty would wear off quickly and the modeling, fashion and advertising industry would lose a ton of money. Do I wish things were different? Certainly. But continuing to ask age-old questions about a system that is set in its ways, while thought provoking, doesn't contribute to a solution. It's like asking why do football players make more than teachers? Why do we spend more money on war and weapons than on schools and healthcare? It is unfortunate that the modeling industry operates in the way it does but as long as you can put it into the perspective that it is a "made up" reality, it tends to be somewhat easier to deal with. No one says you have to be like a print or runway model. The real concern becomes when people blur the lines between what is real and what is not.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Latest Tearsheets: Bertliz Shoot

I did the corporate themed photoshoot for the company Bertliz a while back but the finished products are finally coming out and the photographer was able to give me some digital tearsheets...yay! Berlitz is a language arts company that provides content and information to help people learn to speak different languages.

They have language arts products available all over the world and this particular shoot was created to help people in other countries learn how to effectively communicate in the business world using common English vocabulary.

The shoot itself was really fun and laid back. We shot in an actual office building in San Francisco and there was a handful of us playing the part of a company conducting a business meeting. The photographer and the models were a lot of fun to work with and we joked around a lot.

One scene involved me typing on my laptop while my "coworkers" were looking at my screen. In order to get some genuine expressions I would type the most ridiculous things in Word. I think I even saved that document to remind myself of the experience. There was another scene where we had some graphic charts taped to a whiteboard and I was the executive director talking about our sales quotas for the quarter.

Sounds pretty boring, huh? Well, to liven it up, we came up with the concept of the "Man Muumuu" and jokingly discussed who would be the male face of our product. We decided on Brad Pitt...we got so into the scene that the photographer would barely hold her camera because she was laughing so much! Good times on set for sure.

So without further adieu, here are some of the shots I'm in. These are digital tearsheets but the photographer is working on getting the actual, physical tearsheets, which appear in a textbook that is one of the latest products being distributed worldwide by Bertliz (again, I'm no fashion model so sorry if these images don't involve any haute couture or editorial pizazz haha):

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I'm Not a Fashion Model

Sometimes I get certain comments on some of my blog posts from people that compare me to a fashion model or criticize the caliber of my images because they are not "high fashion."

I'm not sure if these are readers that have only looked at one or two of my posts and felt that was all they needed to get the gist of what I am about but I want to address this misconception mainly for those that hold me up to some standard when it comes to fashion modeling.

If you have been a long-time reader of my blog then you already know what I am about and what type of modeling I do. If you are a first-time reader or happen to come across certain blog posts I've done in the past, you may not be aware right away of the fact that I am NOT a fashion or runway model.

I am a commercial/print model. At 5'5" I'm not gracing runways or doing editorials. I know some of you must be thinking that addressing this issue isn't that serious but when the comments carry a tone of negative criticism or appear to be condescending, then I feel that it is important to set the record straight so that those particular readers will understand where I am coming from.

The nature of my photos and the status of my career reflects that of a print model. As such, it does not make sense for me to do shoots that are high fashion or editorial because that is not the type of work I submit myself for, nor do I meet the requirements for.

One reader commented that I only got jobs because of "the pretty face and skinny body." Ummm...that IS the reason that print models get hired. The "cute, adorable and pretty" expressions I use won't be found in fashion magazines because I am not a fashion model and do expressions that typically come with print modeling. I am supposed to be the cute/attractive, expressive girl-next-door, so to criticize me for my lack of "fashion modeling skills" is not fair or accurate.

I love all comments I receive on my blog posts, both good and bad but at least humor me by reading more than one or two posts before stating your opinion on my skills and why you do not think they are up to par. It will make your comments more articulate and less contradictory. It's really easy to tell when someone "thinks" they know what they are talking about when it comes to the modeling industry.

Answering a Reader Question #62

Anonymous Wrote:

I have a question-i have been faithfully reading your blog for quite some time and am a big fan. I know previously you had wrote that when you modeled for certain companies you listed you wouldnt do nude, fur, cigarettes and something else i cant quite remember. If you wont do fur, then why is it that you will model with leather? this question is in no way meant to discredit you or look down on your previous decision to model leather accessories (i know the blog is older, i am just now catching up on your older posts that i missed)i was just wondering what stance you have on the connection between the 2. I know some wont model fur because of animal rights and also the use of fur of the dwindling existence of a certain species. If you indeed wont wear fur because of animal rights-then what is the difference between that and leather? I look forward to your response and thanks! 

Hey, Anonymous! Thank for this question...it was very thought provoking--so much so that I actually had to think about it for a while. =)

To be honest, when I think of leather in general, the last thing I think of is the fact that it comes from an animal--seriously! So when I read your question, I was stuck for a minute. I'm actually glad for your post comment because it did get me to thinking. I wouldn't wear/model fur (faux fur I feel is acceptable) because I do not like the fact that the animals are killed solely for the purpose of making the coats. However, I did some research online and saw that many of the animals that are being used to make leather products these days are animals that are also consumed regularly by humans or are at least edible for human consumption (cows, deer, buffalo, etc) and do not necessarily come from species that are endangered or face a dwindling existence. In that sense, I do not believe that it falls under the same category of animal cruelty as killing a chinchilla, fox or mink. I also read that many of today's leather products are being made from cows, including handbags, which I did not know and found really interesting. So I guess it would matter to me where the leather comes from and how it is obtained before I would decide whether to model it or not.

Unfortunately, that particular leather accessories shoot ended up not coming to fruition but because of your comment, I have a new outlook on the whole fur/leather modeling situation. Again, great question and thank you for asking it!

***As I stated in my previous "Answering a Reader Question" post, my opinion is my own and I am not interested in debating ethics or moral beliefs. I do not press my beliefs on anyone and respect everyone's right to an opinion and all I ask is that you do the same. Thanks!***

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Answering a Reader Question #61

Anonymous Wrote:

I know this is an older post but i have a question- i am half black and half white and i know jet magazine is an african american magazine. i would be interested in submitting a photo but i am fair skinned to the point where my skin is the color of a caucasian person, my eyes are blue, and by looking at me most might not be able to tell i am even mixed with black. I was wondering in YOUR honest opinion if you think i would have a chance. I know that african-american womens' view of mixed women is not always a positive one and i have had to deal with a lot of struggles because of that. have you ever seen a white looking mixed girl with blue eyes in any of their issues or could you find out? thank you so much and i hope i have some kind of chance. if not i know they are missing out not me, but i would appreciate the help. thank! 

Hi, Anonymous, this is an interesting question--thank you for asking it! Based on your situation and physical description I think you would have a difficult time becoming a Beauty of the Week, simply because the editors may be worried that readers will not understand (or believe) that you are mixed and could cause a big stink. However, I will say that I have seen fair-skinned women as Beauty of the Week before, although not with blue eyes (green eyes I have seen, though). I think that if you have darker hair then you may be able to swing it.

I completely know what you are talking about when it comes to certain people's view of mixed women appearing in publications that are targeted towards a specific demographic: they are either all for it or they believe that they are stealing the limelight. However, the only way you'll know is if you try. There is no harm at all in sending your photos to them. Simply explain that you are of mixed race. The worst they can do is not choose you--nothing lost, nothing gained so I say go for it anyway.

***I cannot speak for anyone but myself on this topic so please do not send me comments or emails trying to discuss the ethics of my statements in regards to race...that is not the point of this post.***

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy 2010!

I know this post is a few days late but with family visiting from out of town I wasn't able to get around to being timely about it. I hope everyone had a fun and safe New Years Eve!

As always, I try to look forward to what the new year will bring and it makes me that much more optimistic because you know never know life will throw at you. One of my goals for 2010 is to travel more, not just for modeling assignments but hopefully for meet and greets as well with my readers.

I finally got a new modeling agent, which I will do a more detailed post about soon and am looking forward to seeing what this working relationship will turn up. Of course I still submit myself to freelance gigs, which is totally cool with my agent, and I have a few castings lined up. So starting the new year with new representation is a plus for me.

As always, I will continue to keep you all educated and informed about the modeling industry as well as the experiences I encounter in my career. Check out my new poll as well. The feedback I get from my readers is very valuable so rest assured I will try to come out with new polls every so often. Remember, if there is a modeling topic you want to know about but do not see on my blog, or if you are not able to find the post, please email me and I'll get right on it!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Answering a Reader Question #60

Sojah Wrote:


I have a question about relocation. I am an aspiring Fit/Plus Size model from Pittsburgh, PA. There is next to no work here. I am interested in being a fit model for Abercrombie & Fitch whose headquarters are in Colombus. Colombus is more than a 2 hour drive. If I submit my measurements and photos and if they are interested and hire me, how long will they give me to relocate?

I don't want to move there without having a job.

Hey, Sojah! Great question, thanks for taking the time to ask. Unfortunately, pursuing a modeling career for Abercrombie & Fitch cannot be approached the same way you would any other type of client. Abercrombie & Fitch does not hire models just because they are local to their headquarters. Aside from having a modeling agent that has A&F as their client to submit you, the only other way you can possibly be a model for them is to get hired as an employee at your nearest A&F store. Once you are hired and have been there for a while (not sure of the time period), only then will you be eligible to submit yourself for their ads and marketing campaigns. Additionally, as far as I know there is no plus size category for the A&F line, which means that unless you have a great look they can use, they may not have a place for you in their campaigns.

Please read my detailed blog post about what it takes to be a model for A&F...it will give you a much better idea of what is required:

Do You Want to Be an Abercrombie & Fitch Model?

PA isn't one of the huge modeling markets out there but I did a quick search and came up with these three agencies that are in the Pittsburg area. If you have not already submitted yourself to these, I highly suggest you do so, especially since two of these three hold open casting calls:

Docherty Model & Talent Agency
109 Market St
Pittsburgh, PA  15222
*They hold open casting calls*

The Talent Group
2820 Smallman Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
*They hold open casting calls*

Click Models of Philadelphia Inc.
216 Green Tree Drive
Westchester, PA 19382
*They have a plus size division and is a very reputable agency*