WELCOME TO MODELING 101!!!

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

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Answering a Reader Question #68

Forever21 Wrote:

I got scouted at 15 but my parents moved from chicago and away from the agency so it didn't happen and i gave up. I just turned 21 and was thinking about trying again? sending in pictures? im 5' 8', medium brown skin..I'm mixed, I know my age is against me, should I not even bother that on top of that I'm a minority? 

You will never know unless you try! I say go for it. You meet the minimum height requirement and even though 21 in the fashion world is considered "old", if you look youthful and meet the size requirements then you shouldn't have any problems. If you were scouted when you were 15, that obviously showed that you have potential. Although models of color are not exactly a common sight on runways that does not mean that you automatically do not have a shot at modeling. You should definitely look up legitimate and reputable agencies in your city/state and see what types of photos they ask for as well as what their requirements are. "What ifs" suck so don't punish yourself by not taking a chance and spending years wondering what could have happened. You've got nothing to lose so give it your best. 

Sunday, March 21, 2010

You Cannot Be a Model If...

...You Don't Meet the Requirements: No matter how many of us wish all shapes, sizes and heights could appear on the runway, the industry is pretty firm about what it wants--agencies included. Until those requirements change, you cannot be 5'1" and strutting down a catwalk in New York Fashion Week. Only submit yourself for the type of modeling that you meet the criteria for. There are exceptions to the rule but for now it is the majority that rule.

...You Are Not a Morning Person: If the thought of getting up before the sun makes you ill, then modeling won't be a good fit. When I say early, I mean it. There have been shoots I've done where I had to BE on location at 7am. Not only do you have to be awake, you have to perform at the top of your game. If early mornings don't work for you, then neither will maintaining a serious modeling career.

...You Don't Play Well with Others: From agencies to photographers, makeup artists and other models you must be able to get along with people from all walks of life. Never met them before? By the end of the shoot it will be as if you've known them your whole life. No one says you have to like the people you work with but being a snooty booty won't get you much work in the industry. There are enough divas out there--we don't need any more!

...You're Used to Calling the Shots: Modeling is not about "you." You are a commodity that must be able to go with the flow. If you are picky about how your hair, makeup and wardrobe is, do NOT pursue modeling. Even if you look like a train wreck, you've got to flaunt your look as if it was something you'd rock on a daily basis. There is no "I" in "Team" and the last time I checked, it isn't in the word "Model" either.

...You Can't Be on Time: Unfortunately, there are many models that do not follow this rule but I cannot stress enough the importance of learning how to be on time for all things related to modeling--this includes go-sees, castings, interviews, shoots, fashion shows, etc. Don't fall into this bad habit, even if other models are doing it and getting away with it. For every model that is late to a gig, there are many more that will arrive on time and be what the client needs.

...You Don't Know What You're Doing: We all have to start somewhere but eventually you should come to know exactly what to do once you step in front of the camera or onto the runway. Being aloof, awkward and unsure of yourself will only hinder your performance and hide any potential talent you have for the profession. You can have the perfect look for modeling but if you don't know what to do with your face and body, no one will want to dedicate the time to work with you.

...You Are Shy: "Shy" and "Model" do not belong in the same sentence. Need I say more?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Tips for Sending Non-Pro Photos to Clients

(This post is mainly for freelance models)

Submitting yourself for modeling gigs often requires you to email pictures of yourself--typically headshots, comp cards or other professional images that relate to the nature/theme of the modeling gig you are trying to get. However, in some cases the client might ask you to send additional photos that are candid and not professionally taken.

There are some instances where you will need to exercise good judgment and common sense to decide whether such a request is legitimate and related to the modeling gig or if it is a scammer or shady individual "fishing" for photos.

It is not uncommon for a client to ask a model to submit non professional pictures. Oftentimes this is done because they want to make sure that they know what you look like without the makeup, retouching and Photoshop tricks. The last thing they want is a person walking onto the set that looks nothing like their photo--this happens all too often in the industry.

Another reason is that the client may not be able to do a face-to-face meeting with you prior to booking you for the shoot and wants to make sure they know what you look like currently so that you are recognizable on the day of the shoot.

Unfortunately, there are people that take advantage of this and pretend to be a client casting models when in reality they are just collecting images for their own personal use. If you come across a client that asks you for non pro pictures, make sure they meet the following conditions:

- The poses are basic and do not suggest anything sexually. Full body frontal, back and profile poses are fine. If the client asks you to do anything like spreading your legs, posing suggestively, etc. this is not a good sign.

- The outfit they ask you to wear should require a swimsuit as the least amount of clothing to wear in the pictures--if it is fully clothed then you won't have a problem. You should NEVER be asked to submit non professional nude, semi nude or even implied nude photos to a client. If you are a glamour model this might be an exception to the rule but then again, they should be content with your professional images.

- There might be a time when you are asked to pose in a bra and underwear (clients request this sometimes in order to see how healthy/clear your skin is as well as the shape of your body). This is where you will need to exercise your own judgment. Try asking the client if you can pose in a bikini, which shows the same amount of skin as a bra and underwear. If you are an underage model, bra and panties are a no-no. If the client is legit, they will not ask this of an underage model anyway.

When it comes to submitting these kinds of pictures to clients, think before clicking "Send" on that email. Ask yourself whether you feel comfortable sending such photos to someone you don't know. Additionally, think about the modeling gig itself and if the nature of the pictures they are asking for relate to the project. For example, I submitted myself to a modeling gig on Craigslist that was looking for models for a drug-free advertisement shoot that was supposed to be used locally on buses and local magazines.

I sent my pictures and literally within less than one minute, got a reply saying I had a great look but that they needed snapshots of me...full body, front and back in bra and underwear. She said she needed the pictures so that she could see the shape of my body. That got me to thinking: what does my figure have to do with a commercial/print gig that is focused on being drug free? I Googled her email address and found out that she has posted similar gigs on Craigslist in various cities and states. That was pretty much a dead giveaway that this person wasn't really casting for any real modeling jobs and was simply collecting pictures of girls in their underwear. Yuck.

On the flip side, I submitted for a different modeling gig for an online catalog and they asked for snapshots of my face with no makeup on and a full body shot wearing a form fitting tank top, short shorts and heels. That didn't raise any red flags for me since obviously there was nothing sexual or suggestive about the poses they wanted or the outfits. I have included those pictures in this post.

So use common sense and good judgment each time a client asks you to send pictures. This is also why watermarking your images is a good habit to get into. I'll be doing a post about that very subject soon so stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Truth About Modeling & Education

(This post is not in reference to modeling conventions, taking modeling classes or going to school while modeling. For more info on those topics, check out: "The Deal with Modeling Conventions", "Modeling Schools" and "Modeling & School")

Modeling isn't rocket science but it isn't exactly the easiest career path to choose, either. Many new and aspiring models falsely believe that there are certain educational requirements that are needed in order to pursue modeling.

To make things very clear I am going to type in all caps (sorry for the online shouting but I'm hoping this message will be crystal clear): YOU DO NOT NEED ANY TYPE OF EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS TO BECOME A MODEL!

That means you do NOT need any of the following if you want to model:

- Diploma
- Degree
- Certificate
- Other related degrees or documents

Modeling is not a 9-5 job that you apply for. The nature of this business does not call for the completion of special classes or showing a "modeling degree" or "modeling diploma." Believe it or not, I get asked by a fair amount of people about how to obtain such certification. There is none involved. The only requirements that will make or break your chances in the modeling industry include your height, your measurements, weight (to an extent--mainly if you wish to pursue fashion and runway), physical appearance, etc.

So the good news is that you can stick to high school and any college plans you might have--there is no need to devote time to searching for special modeling degrees that will somehow get your foot in the door with a top modeling agency. No such path exists. So do your homework, learn the industry, figure out where you fit in, find agencies in your area and start putting together the materials and photos they ask for. The rest is up to chance and a bit of luck!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Quick Update on Me

Hello, my beloved Modeling 101 readers! I wanted to let you know that I have not forgotten you--things have been SO busy for me lately that I have not had the time to sit down and write a thoughtful, educational and informative post--and I don't believe in doing things half-heartedly.

Here's a quick update as to what I'm up to these days that's keeping me on my toes:

* Remember my post titled "I Hate Being the Guinea Pig," where I talked about the beauty editorial gig in LA that I pretty much bombed? Well, I ended up getting a callback! Crazy, huh? So I went to LA and made the cut. Now it's the waiting game because they'll be using 12 models per month for the shoots. They also expanded the project to include not only an ad in 944 Magazine but also televised shows and other related media projects. Pretty neat.

* Finished an acting gig that I've been working on since last year. It's a 5 episode series called "True Love." It's for a language arts site that uses short films and webisodes to teach students the English language. I played a high schooler named Natalie who simply wants to find true love. It should be online in a couple of months.

* I got hired for bridal season and have been doing bridal fashion shows around Northern California. I get to model two gorgeous wedding gowns, one party dress, which is actually a ballgown and two bridesmaid dresses. I did my first show last month and I have two shows this month and two in April.

* Been running around to castings all over San Francisco. Last week I had to attend a go-see for a Corona print ad, a Nokia print ad and an audition for a dance video game. Hectic!

* I've got an online catalog shoot tomorrow for a company that sells jewelry and handbags.

* Aside from the modeling and acting, I started teaching middle school students how to draw Manga/Anime style art so I've been bogged down with creating lesson plans, getting supplies, etc. Also, I just finished painting a mural in someone's house and have to go back to add some extra stuff.

Rest assured, I plan on jumping back on here soon to add more posts. I've got some really great topics for you and I can't wait to write them! Stay tuned...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Answering a Reader Question #67

Sojah Wrote: 


I was browsing the Fashion Job Board of Elegantjobs.com and came across this listing of an agency seeking non-experienced size 12 models for a national sportswear ad. They will be paying $1900 to the selected model and travel and lodging expenses will be paid for. The name of this agency is The Talent Department. It is located in Philadelphia, PA, its website is http://talentdept.net. I searched for this agency using The Better Business Bureau. The agency is not listed. Do you know if this is a legitimate agency and if so, why isn't it listed with the BBB? 

Hey, Sojah!

I went to the site and wasn't very impressed. I would be cautious of dealing with this particular company. First, they do not actually state on their website that they are an agency, which I don't like. From what I read on their "About" page, they simply keep a database of models and match them with open projects. This reads more like a casting company to me and not an actual modeling agency. They say they do not take commission from the work their models book, which in theory is good (and also furthers my belief that they are not a modeling agency), but that more than likely means they may charge some sort of membership fee in order for you to be on their online database and receive info about castings.

In essence, the post they are talking about sounds too good to be true--and it probably is. If you are looking for legit, real agencies in the PA area, check these out:

Expressions Model & Talent Agency (Philadelphia)
Reinhard Model & Talent Agency  (Philadelphia)
Docherty Moded & Talent Agency (Pittsburgh)
The Talent Group (Pittsburgh)
Click Models (West Chester)