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

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Answering a Reader Question #66

Sojah Wrote:

I was chosen as a model for a Pgh fashion show and would like to know where I can purchase a quality photo portfolio for my tearsheets?

Hey, Sojah! Congrats on getting booked for the fashion show...I hope you rock it and have a great time! As far as finding a portfolio case for your tearsheets, you may be surprised (and relieved) to know that you do not have to spend a small fortune on this product. Your portfolio case should be very simple. This type of product can be found in any office supply store (Office Depot, Office Max,etc.) or arts and crafts store (Michael's, Aaron Brothers, etc.). The portfolio case you choose should be all black, with no logos, designs or images on it. It doesn't matter whether it is the floppy kind that zips closed or if it is the kind that resembles a binder. So that part is up to your personal preference. I find that portfolio cases with pocket sleeves on the inside are great for holding business cards, comp cards and headshot as well as your tearsheets and other modeling images.

Price wise you don't have to spend more than $25-$30...you can probably find portfolio cases for even less depending on where you shop. I personally recommend shopping for your portfolio case at an art supply store.

Here are some examples of portfolio cases you can purchase:

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"Mom/Dad, I Want to Model!" Tips for Parents Dealing with Aspiring Models

(This post is for parents of underage models--age 17 and younger.)

Hearing the phrase, "I want to model" is perhaps one of the few things that any parent wants to hear. However, completely shooting down your child's dream is not the best approach. I'll admit, I am not parent but just because I don't have kids of my own does not mean that I can't empathize with what you're going through. If your son or daughter has expressed interest in becoming a model, I think you'll find the following tips helpful.


As a parent your first instinct may be to react to what your child has just said. However, instead of diving right into a lecture, simply give your child a chance to explain. Trust me, the world is not going to end and your son/daughter isn't going to wind up a loser because they are interested in modeling. Listen to what he/she has to say and then take a moment to think about how you're going to respond. 

Negativity Isn't Necessary

Saying "no" is one thing but going into a full-on tirade about how stupid it is to want to be a model and how there is no chance he/she will make it will only make matters worse--not to mention really hurt your child's feelings. Put downs are not right, nor appropriate.

If you already know that you do not feel this is right for your child, simply explain your concerns and have valid reasons for why you feel the way you do. Parents tend to think they don't owe explanations to their children but you do have to realize that they are human beings and deserved to be talked to with respect. Even if the answer is not what they want to hear, telling them "no" the right way will be something they will appreciate--even if it isn't right away.

Test Your Child

Modeling is an industry that has a lot of twists and turns. It is not only important that you as a parent know how things work, your child should, too. If your son/daughter is really serious about becoming a model then they should have some form of research or knowledge to offer you about the topic.

Ask them what kind of modeling they want to do, whether they plan on modeling part time or full time, whether modeling is going to be a hobby/for fun or if it could grow to become something more, etc. Also ask how they plan on balancing school with modeling.

If you are met with blank stares and/or a lot of "umms" and "uhhhs" then tell them they have not put enough thought into this endeavor and to go back and do research. When they have gained sufficient knowledge, then they can come back and resume the discussion with you.

Think It Over

The thought of having your child strutting down a runway, posing in front of cameras, running in and out of castings and go-sees may not be a great thing in your mind but try not to make a snap decision right after your child brings up the topic.

After listening to their explanation, ask for some time to think about it. It can be days or a few weeks, whatever amount of time is needed for you to grasp the idea and decide whether it is actually worth looking into. Do research yourself about the industry.

Visit modeling agency websites and see what they look for. The more you know the easier it will be for you to make a decision. It's easy to shoot down an idea, but it doesn't reflect that well on you if you turn down something you don't even know anything about. 

Be Prepared

If you support your child's decision to get into modeling, then kudos to you! However, being the parent of an underage model is going to involve work on your end. Agencies, clients and photographers require a parent/guardian to be present at all times--at the agency, during castings and go-sees, photoshoots, etc. You'll have to plan accordingly for this and figure out how much time you can devote to driving your child to and from gigs as well as possibly having to travel with your child.

Be Supportive No Matter What 

 Don't think your child is ready for modeling? You are totally within your rights as a parent to call the shots. However, it is important to understand that your child will be devastated and the sting may not go away overnight. Instead of being negative about it, be supportive and calmly let your child know that maybe modeling could be a possibility a few years from now or when they turn 18 when the decision will legally be theirs to make.

On the flip side if you let your child model, be prepared to be their support system when they get rejected from agencies or from clients--it's going to happen. Even if you are not completely comfortable with your child modeling, offering that bit of support when they are down will keep them positively motivated. You don't have to agree with them modeling but it doesn't hurt to show that you'll be there for them no matter what happens. "I told you so" shouldn't be in your vocabulary if you really want to be a supportive parent.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Answering a Reader Question #65

Anonymous Wrote:

What about body acne? of course not like full on break outs, but if there is a blemish here or there or slight scarring/unevenness because of old blemishes?

This is a great question, thank you for asking it! Having an occasional blemish or pimple on the chest or back is not a big deal in most cases. Slight scars and discoloration is passable as long as it is minimal and can easily be hidden with body makeup. Photoshop also has the ability to hide these kinds of issues. If you have this kind of body acne it more than likely will not count against you if you want to pursue modeling. Having acne on your face is much more serious because it is obviously the first thing people see. On the flip side, unless you are a swimwear model, chances are you won't always be showcasing a bare back or chest so in those situations minor blemishes and breakouts on the body can be easily covered, hidden or airbrushed. I have one or two pimples that scarred slightly on my chest but with concealer and translucent powder, no one is the wiser so you can make it work for you. As long as the scarring and blemishes do not get worse, you'll be okay.

Of course it goes without saying that if you have severe body acne then the same challenges apply for those that have moderate to severe acne on their complexions.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Modeling & Acne

While I'm adamant about stating that there is no such thing as "perfect" skin, I will say that having "good" skin is a huge requirement for the industry. Acne is a troublesome skin problem that teens and adults alike suffer from. If you want to model but have acne, this could definitely be something that will work against you. However, it all depends on the type of acne you have, how severe your breakouts are and a couple of other factors.

That being said, it is completely okay to have a pimple every now and then. Heck, whenever I have a beauty shoot in particular, I'll always wake up that morning with one lone pimple somewhere on my forehead where it can't be hidden--go figure (thank my stars for Photoshop)! But there is a big difference between a pimple or two and a full-on acne breakout.

For those that are aspiring models with acne, I would suggest taking care of your skin first and getting your skin condition under control before attending any open casting calls or moving forward with getting your foot in the industry. Agencies won't look twice if your complexion is not up to par and because they prefer to have you show up with little to no makeup you can't count on tons of concealer and foundation to get you by. In a sense, that could be considered "false advertisement," if you get my meaning.

Whether it's meeting with your agent or going to a casting, you will be required more often than not to show up with a clean face and no makeup. If you can't manage to pull this off successfully, it will be in your best interest to handle your skin care first and then pursue modeling. One thing at a time.

If you really want to get serious about kicking your acne so you can model, I would suggest visiting a good dermatologist and finding out whether you have mild, moderate or severe acne. I will say, however, that if your acne is severe with no chance of clearing up any time soon, modeling won't be in your future, unfortunately. Mild acne sufferers have a better shot at clearing up their condition, while moderate is definitely in between.

One of the best ways to get your complexion under control, in addition to using acne formulated skin care products, is to make water your best friend. Cut out the caffeine--coffee, soda, fruit juices with tons of fructose corn syrup and not much actual fruit juice, etc. Eliminate excessive sugar as well. Beef up on fresh fruits and veggies and substitute them for unhealthy snacks. Give it time as well. Acne doesn't go away overnight. A good skin care regimen combined with the right eating habits and enough time will result in skin that is more suitable for modeling.

I do want to also mention that you should actually be diagnosed with acne before using any acne formulated skin care products. Just because you have an occasional breakout every once in a while does not necessarily mean that you have acne. Products that are made for acne prone skin contain very harsh and strong chemicals that work fine for complexions with acne but can do major damage if you do not have this skin type. I cannot stress this enough. Instead of using acne products as a shortcut to take care of your occasional blemishes, simply be more diligent about your skin care routine--and if you don't currently have a skin care routine, shame on you and get one started now! Trust me, it will come in handy in the long run.

Photoshop is great but it should not be the main method for making a model look flawless. Already possessing a good and healthy complexion puts you far ahead of the competition and will increase your chances of booking a gig.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Answering a Reader Question #64

Anonymous Wrote: 
I'm 5'10" and kind of skinny. I have a 28 waist, 39 hips, and 37 chest and I'm barely 15. Would I have a good chance of being a Victoria's Secret model?
Hello, Anonymous, and thanks for the question. VS models have to be at least 18 years of age or older so you still have a while before you can pursue this goal. Your height is perfect, however your measurements are larger than what the ideal requirements call for. Even though most VS models have curves and are more voluptuous than runway models, they must still meet the strict measurements that fashion and runway models do. VS models are represented by top modeling agencies, including Elite and Ford. Because of this you will only be considered if you fall within the following measurements:

34 (bust) - 24 (waist) - 34 (hips)...and that's in inches. 
You can be smaller but no larger than one inch in any of these areas (of course many of the VS models have larger busts, which is fine). There are undoubtedly some exceptions to this rule but the majority of VS models still possess these measurements. That being said, in your case you would have to lose at least 3-4 inches off of your waist and 4-5 inches off of your hips. You're still young so you have time to think about whether this is a goal you want to pursue. But at your current measurements you aren't quite there yet.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Take It One Step At a Time...

Discovering that you want to model can be an exciting time in your life, regardless of how old you are. When it hits you, it ends up becoming all you can think about. Of course if you are not familiar with the process or the industry in general, your thoughts may end up running around wild in your head.

Most people go straight for the Internet to find out how to become a model. However, as fun as the thought of doing photoshoots and other perks may be, it is important that you slow down and take things one step at a time. The answer isn't simply to find modeling agencies and start sending them your pictures.

I often get emails from aspiring models talking paragraphs about how much they want to model and need to know this, that or the other about the industry. Based on what they write, I can usually tell whether they have an inkling of how things work. Most of the time they don't, which is okay since no one is expected to be an expert on this stuff right away. But I do have some helpful quick tips for anyone that ends up getting bitten by the modeling bug:

1) Do Research First. Have questions about modeling? That's what the Internet is for! Aside from my blog there are tons of resources online. Even if you aren't sure of what you're reading, browse through as many websites as you can. Take time to read through what you find and digest the information. Still have questions? Then use your Internet skills to find people in the industry (like myself) that you can ask specific questions to.

Chances are you will be more successful if the nature of your questions don't deal with basic stuff you can find out on your own. Being a model requires being a self-starter and being motivated. No one will do the legwork for you so be your own detective and discover what the industry is all about. There's plenty of info out there to keep you busy for a while.

2) Make Sure You Will Make The Cut. Anyone can say "I want to be a model!" but not everyone can actually "be" one. Once you've decided that you want to model be sure to know what the requirements are before you proceed any further. Be realistic as well. If you're 5'5" and don't think you're going to grow, look into commercial/print agencies, not fashion agencies.

Hold off on submitting to fashion agencies until you actually grow more. Agencies won't "wait" around and take your word that you'll get to be 5'8" or taller. If you are much shorter (5'0" to 5'3") just know that the petite industry is not where the demand is and the chances of getting signed is not highly likely in most cases. In this situation, you may want to look into freelance opportunities instead.

3) If You Think Modeling Schools Are Your Way Into the Industry, You Are SOOOO Not Ready! I get so many emails from aspiring models asking me to refer them to the best modeling schools or asking what education they need in order to get signed to an agency. This is a HUGE indicator that you do not know even the basics about becoming a model and are NOT ready to pursue it.

Modeling schools should be the absolute last resort, especially since submitting your images and attending casting calls are both free ways to get in touch with agencies without paying a "middleman." (If you've had a positive experience with a modeling school, that's great--but please don't send me comments or emails to try and argue why I should believe this is a legitimate alternative. You're entitled to your opinion as well as I am)

4) Hold Off On the Photoshoots. The idea of planning a photoshoot to prepare for putting together your portfolio is exciting but not necessary in the beginning stages (unless you're pursuing the freelance route). When it comes to inexperienced models, agencies prefer non professional, digital snapshots. While they will consider professional images, snapshots should be your priority.

Besides, if you are not familiar with the modeling industry it will be even more of a challenge to learn how to find photographers and arrange your own shoot. However, getting signed with an agency will ensure that your portfolio will be put together properly under the guidance of your agent.

5) Understand The Way Agencies Work. Despite the success stories of your favorite supermodels, agencies do not come to you. You have to go to them, unless you happen to get lucky enough to be scouted or otherwise "discovered."

Many aspiring models ask me get them information about the best agencies in New York are or other large markets but when I ask them for the specifics (height, measurements, etc.) they are nowhere near meeting the standards that the agencies are interested in. Nor are they located anywhere near that market. Relocation is usually the only option if you are not local to any good, reputable agencies.

However, even relocation is not practical for most people. This is mostly true for print models (of course there are exceptions to the rule but I'm not talking about those). Usually this kind of modeling involves doing a lot of local gigs. Fashion and runway models are the jet setters 9 times out of 10. Learn to look locally and use the Internet to find the agencies--believe it or not, you don't already have to be an expert in modeling to know how to get this kind of information.

If you are in rush to make things happen and do not take the necessary steps to learn the industry, this will open you up for a lot of disappointment, not to mention making yourself more likely to be taken advantage of. Becoming a model is a process that doesn't always involve being discovered overnight. Many models get into the industry by their own efforts and that includes taking the time to do the research, having a good grasp of what is involved in the process and knowing exactly where to start. The more you know, the better results you'll get in return.

Learn accountability and take your career into your own hands but do it the right way.