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.

Modeling 101 Followers - I Love You!!!

Follow Modeling 101 with Dania Denise by Email!


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Answering a Reader Question #76

Anonymous Wrote:

um i m 14 and i went to this agency and they said that they cant do a photoshoot wit my braces on they said i had great looks and i should come back when i get them off:( well idk i m just kinda confused cuz i want to start my modelling career as soon as possible:)

reply back thanks:)

Hey, Anonymous! To clear up the confusion, the agency likes your look but will only work with you after you have gotten your braces off. So for now you won't be able to do any modeling work with them, including photoshoots, until your braces come off. Unfortunately, there is no way around that. Even though you may want to start your career asap, as my post "Modeling with Braces" stated, there isn't much you can do since the demand for models with braces isn't high. You're more marketable to an agency if you have your braces off.

So in your situation you have one of two options:

1) Wait until your braces come off and then contact the agency in order to officially begin your modeling career with them.

2) Submit yourself (with your braces) to other modeling agencies and see if any of them will be willing to sign you as you are now.

Either way it turns out, good luck!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Can't Be a Model? Check Out Modeling Related Jobs

Not everyone can become a model--that much I'm sure you all know by now. Even though it may seem like the world has fallen apart if you have discovered this truth for yourself, there are still ways you can be involved in the industry.

Oftentimes those that want to do modeling also have similar interests that relate to modeling like fashion, photography, etc. If modeling is not in the stars for you, check out these related career fields that will give you an opportunity to see how the industry works and be a main player in it--even if it's not in front of the camera or on a catwalk.

Booking Agent: Can't get signed to a modeling agency? Why not work for one! Bookers are the people responsible for organizing the go-sees, castings and shoots for the agency's models. Most bookers are assigned to work with specific models and you'll act as their go-to person.

You'll be dealing directly with clients, casting directors, photographers, etc. and submitting the right people for the assignment. You can look into internship opportunities or if you meet the requirements for employment, you can get hired, get paid and be around the action on a daily basis.

Wardrobe Stylist: These are the folks in charge of shopping for the right outfits and accessories for shoots and basically play a role in dressing the models. This job is particularly ideal for people that love to shop and have a good eye for the latest fashion trends. You'll not only get paid to shop, you'll be able to work on set of photoshoots with models, photographers and the rest of the crew.

Dresser: Do you love fashion shows? Have you always wanted to be a part of the action? If you can't be on the catwalk, you can volunteer to be a dresser. As the name implies, dressers help the models backstage change in and out of their clothes. Of course if you're shy about nudity, then this isn't the right job for you.

This job is usually described as "grunt" work and may not always be a paid job but it's a fun way to see what goes on behind the scenes of a fashion show. If you work well under pressure and can keep your cool even in the most hectic of situations, being a dresser may be something fun to try out.

Photographer: Some model hopefuls also have a knack for photography. Either as a hobby or a career, if you can't be in front of a camera you can always develop your skills behind it. Whether you are interested in doing fashion, glamour, lifestyle or commercial photography, you can use your creativity to the fullest.

Makeup Artist & Hair Stylist: Part of the fun of modeling is getting dolled up in hair and makeup. If you've always loved putting makeup on others and/or have a talent for creating amazing hairstyles, then you should definitely look into either or both of these jobs, which can be done part time, full time or just for fun.

Shoots and other modeling assignments are constantly in need of hair stylists and makeup artists. You'll have a chance to work with models and play a part in the final images that could appear in a number of places such as magazines, catalogs, brochures and websites.

Fashion Designer: Not only will this job opportunity give you the chance to work with models and photographers, you'll get to create clothes that could end up being the next big trend in the fashion industry. With the right connections and designs your creations can be showcased at the biggest fashion shows, sold in stores or displayed in catalogs.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Answering a Reader Question#75

Marla Wrote:

What's the font you used? It's pretty!

 Hey, Marla! Thanks for the question. For those of you that are wondering what she is referring to, Marla is asking what font I used to create my comp/zed card, which can be seen at the following post:

My Updated Comp/Zard Card

To answer your question, the font I used is called Bradley Hand ITC.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Importance of Contact Numbers

Whether you are a freelance model or have an agent, you have a lot of responsibilities. In essence, you are representing yourself as a business person and as such, you'll be coming into contact with all kinds of people: photographers, makeup artists, hair stylists, wardrobe stylists, clients, etc. If there's been one thing that's saved my life on a number of occasions when it comes to modeling assignments, it's having the right contact numbers.

Anytime you have a casting, go-see or actual shoot, make sure you don't leave the house without at least one contact number for someone that you'll be working with. As soon as you get the information about where the gig is taking place, write down the number or save it in your phone.

Most of the time you'll receive your instructions for a modeling assignment via email--make sure there is a contact number of some kind that you can use in case something comes up: running late, get lost, get in an accident, can't make it, etc. If no such contact number is included in the email, reply back and ask for one. Regardless of what kind of shoot it is, there's bound to be a "go-to" person whose number everyone should have.

Agency represented models may be instructed to only contact the agency directly if something comes up. This is normal and if this is what you've been told, then follow what your agent tells you.

Having a contact number or asking for one will show the client that you are responsible and serious about working with them. Should anything go wrong and you are not able to contact anyone because you don't have a number available, guess who is going to look bad? You.

Most clients have heard every story under the sun from models and even if your reasons are legit, they more than likely won't have the time to listen to why you weren't able to make it to the shoot on time or at all for that matter. In the end you take the blame and get labeled as "that model", even if it was something out of your control. You'd be surprised by how forgiving clients will be once they actually hear from you on the phone. No call - no shows should be avoided at all costs.

So save yourself the trouble and make that extra effort to keep a list of contact numbers for all of the upcoming modeling assignments or castings you have to go to. If you happen to get email and Internet services through your phone, then you'll be ahead of the game.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Answering a Reader Question #74

Anonymous Wrote:

Thank you for answering my question! I am located in the Dallas area. I know that the Kim Dawson agency has a commercial/print division. Do you know of any other reputable agencies in the area (or Austin or Houston) that do as well? Is the Campbell Agency any good? I understand if you don't know, since you're not from the area, but I just thought I'd ask!
Thanks again!

Hi, Melissa! Below you'll find reputable agencies in the Dallas and Austin area that represent commercial/print models. Check out their websites and you'll find all the information you'll need to know about submitting yourself. Unfortunately, since I am not from the area I don't personally know of anyone that is signed with these agencies. As long as they are welcoming and don't try to make you pay for any upfront fees or classes, you should be good. Most times they should state on their websites that they do not charge any fees to be signed to their agency. Good luck!

Acclaim Talent
Austin, TX

Campbell Agency
Dallas, TX

DMG Management
Dallas, TX

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Answering a Reader Question #73

Anonymous Wrote:

I read your blog all the time! It's really great. You have definitely given me a good insight into the industry. My dream has always been VS, but at 5'6 1/2, I'm too short. I'd like to get into print/commercial though. Do you think that is possible with my height?

Also, how do you get into bridal modeling specifically? Like for wedding magazines and bridal runway shows? Are the requirements the same as fashion/runway? Do you have to be with an agency?

Hey, Anonymous! Thanks for the kind words and for being a reader of my blog, I really appreciate it! Good questions, too. Let's see if I can get ya some answers. =)

At your current height, you are ideal for commercial/print work, so that's in your favor. Definitely look into modeling agencies that represent commercial/print models and submit your photos or attend casting calls. Bridal modeling is its own special sub category that does not always fall under the same requirements as high fashion. Bridal runway shows are held all over the country and are typically put on by production companies that use models of all heights and sizes. This is because their target audience are real brides, who obviously are not all built like supermodels. If you want to do bridal fashion shows I would suggest looking online to find out if there are any bridal shows or bridal fairs happening in your area. If so, go to the website and find out the name of the company that produces the bridal show. Send them an email or give them a call and ask them to put you in touch with whoever is in charge of hiring the models for the bridal shows. Local bridal shows hire both freelance and agency models so this is something you could pursue without an agent if you wanted.

As far as getting into bridal magazines, most well known publications do use agency represented models and they often require them to have the high fashion measurements. The designers typically use the smallest sizes so they need their models to be super tall and super slim. Aside from getting an agent to help you get your foot in the door to do bridal modeling, you could try looking up the websites of the bridal magazines and emailing their editor to find out what agencies they hire their models from or if they allow submissions from freelance models. By doing this kind of research you'll know what they are looking for and could make some possible contacts within the industry. Of course having an agent will prevent you from having to do this much work on your own. If you can manage to find any local bridal magazines, they may be more inclined to work with you even if you are not of fashion height.

So in a nutshell, do your best to get signed to an agency and let them know that you are interested in bridal modeling and shows. Until you get signed, you can pursue the bridal fashion shows without an agent. I hope that info helps and feel free to shoot me an email if you need further assistance. Good luck to you!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Answering a Reader Question #72

Anonymous Wrote: 

i'm interested in being a fashion model. i wouldn't mind not walking runways, but i do want to travel the world (milan, paris, new york, etc.) to do shoots for top designers. i'm not sure if this part of fashion/runway model.
anyways i'm 18, i'm going to turn 19 in october. i realized i want to be model right when i turned 18 so i started on clearing my skin. my doctor gave retin-a and he said my face will have to get worse before it gets better:( so it's not april and my face is clear except from ACNE SCARS :( my doctor said with continous treatment they should be gone by july. however if i sign to a local agency to get some work so i can transfer to a big agency like Ford, will i be too old. i feel like i would be 20 by then after all the work. sry this is so long, i'm just wondering with all the baby steps i have to take, will 19-20 (i'm guessin) be too old for the kind of modeling i want to do in new york. i'm 5'8 by the way. again sry for the long post.

Hi, Anonymous, and thanks for the question. The type of modeling you are talking about is fashion/runway modeling. You meet the minimum height requirement so that is good. 20 in the fashion world is considered a bit older BUT that does not necessarily mean that you won't have a shot. If you end up signing to a local agency before making the move to a larger market, you will still be able to build a career for yourself and put together a strong portfolio. So even if you are 20 by the time you would have a chance to get signed to a bigger agency like Ford, you would at least have your portfolio and resume of work to show them that you have the potential and already have experience in the industry, which could make you a stronger candidate compared to a new model with no experience who is 20-years-old.

What is important is that you look youthful. As long as your complexion is clear by the time you start seeing agencies and you don't have any fine lines, wrinkles or other signs of aging or sun damage, I don't see where you would have a problem. However, New York is one of the toughest markets to break into so be prepared for high standards, strict requirements and harsh criticism--that goes for anyone wanting to do fashion and runway modeling in New York, so don't think that I'm just targeting you. =)

Ultimately, the only way you'll find out whether you have what it takes is to start attending the NY agency casting calls once your skin is clear of the acne scars and you're ready to move on to a larger market. Good luck!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Bridal Season: So Much Fun!

For the past month or so I've been doing bridal fashion shows. I've been having so much fun wearing the most gorgeous wedding gowns and party dresses. The model coordinator for the shows uses the same team of models so I get to work with the same people.

Of course there are times when not everyone can make it to the shows so in those instances new models are recruited. It's a lot of fun once you get to know the other models and you eventually end up becoming a family unit of sorts.

Two months before the first show I had to go in to the designer's shop in order to pick my dresses and get fitted. I chose two very lovely wedding gowns with long trains, one party dress and two bridesmaid dresses (one is a really pretty dress that can also double as a dress you'd wear to a fancy dinner, while the other one is the stereotypical horrid bridesmaid dress lol).

Our call time is usually between 8:30am - 9:00am and although hair and makeup is taken care of when we get there, sometimes the ratio of makeup artists and hair stylists to models is not favorable so I've since learned to bring my own makeup bag--always come prepared! We do two shows, usually the first one is at 12:30pm and the second one is at 2:30pm so we get a nice lunch break in between.

Sometimes I think that Murphy's Law was created with the modeling industry in mind. In case you aren't familiar with this particular law, it goes as follows:

"Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong."

We've had girls trip up the steps, straps break, zippers get stuck, dresses not fitting like they're supposed to, etc. If you want to learn how to think on your toes and improvise, participate in a fashion show! Case and point: at the last show I did I was jumping into my beautiful, emerald green bridesmaid dress, only to discover that the emerald gems on the front were missing and was hanging by a thread.

We had no time to cut it off so I put the dress on and got in line. We had to showcase that particular dress so I had to appear on stage. With about 15 seconds to think of a solution, I strategically placed my left hand in a way that held the broken part in place but I couldn't move my hand at all or else it would come off and dangle from the threads on the right side.

Sounds like a move that saved the day, right? Well, the unfortunate thing was that the emerald design was located right underneath my bustline so I ended up having to put both my hands underneath my bustline while walking instead of on my hips like you're supposed to. Even though it looked odd as heck, I worked it like that was how it was supposed to be! LOL. As soon as we walked off stage, all the models were like, "Why were you walking like that?!" Hey, better to look fierce with an odd pose instead of making the dress look bad, right?

Here are some pictures from the past shows (some were taken by pros and others were taken by people in the crowd):

The picture of the green dress is how it is supposed to look normally. See how low my hands are on my hips? Picture the same thing but with my hands up under my bustline. Yikes! Haha

Lifestyle & Mature Modeling

You may or may not have heard the term "lifestyle" and "mature" when it comes to modeling. These fields are very in demand in the industry and typically fall under the commercial/print category. As the name implies, "lifestyle" modeling describes images of models doing everyday activities.

From talking on the phone to shopping, these kinds of gigs cast for men and women that are usually in their 20s, 30s and even 40s. You can think of lifestyle modeling images as a candid look into someone's life (only staged with a professional photographer and experienced models haha).

Oftentimes, these kinds of projects need families and will cast for male and female lifestyle models that look like they could be parents. Of course the child and teen models are also cast to complete the rest of the family. Other projects cast for couples to do a variety of activities from walking and holding hands to cuddling and eating dinner or even checking email together.

Here are a few examples of lifestyle modeling (that's me and my male model partner, Lyndon, in the second photo and me and my other male modeling partner/friend, Cameron, in the fourth photo. Both are from lifestyle shoots I did in San Francisco and Redwood City):

Although most careers for fashion models are considered "over" by the time they are in their early to mid 20s, print models are able to extend their careers because of categories like lifestyle modeling. Because it is commercial in nature, this means that these models do not necessarily have to look "young" or maintain perfect measurements.

This definitely allows these kinds of models to not have to worry about their weight, which is always a plus. As long as you are proportional and healthy, you'll be good to go. Some agencies automatically consider models that are 25 or older to be lifestyle models. Of course if you happen to look younger, then that may change how your agent markets you. Nothing is exactly set in stone and does vary from model to model in some cases.

Mature modeling involves using male and female models that are in their 40s and older--this is a great market for any man or woman within this age range that has played around with the idea of pursuing modeling. Even if it's just part time or for fun, if you've got a great look and are photogenic, then mature modeling could be something worth looking into.

Just as there is a demand for models in the lifestyle category based on the demographic of the average consumer, there is also a special niche market for mature models. The nature of work that accompanies mature modeling is also commercial/print related and these images frequently appear on stock photography sites, in catalogs, brochures, advertisements and on packaging labels for certain products.

Here are some images of mature models:

Friday, April 9, 2010

Answering a Reader Question #71

Anonymous Wrote:

hi i was just wanting to know i want to get started in modeling but i'm not sure if wilehemina moldeling is right for me i think i might start there could you help me out?

Wilhelmina is one of the top modeling agencies that has been around for decades. If you meet the requirements and feel you would have a shot at getting signed, being with Wilhelmina is a great way to get started in the industry. Even if you do not have any experience they will train you and teach you everything you'll need to know--and at no charge. Go for it and good luck!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Why Agency Kickbacks are a No-No

For the record: the only way modeling agencies are able to make money legally is by taking a commission out of each gig they book for their models. This is why I repeatedly state why it is important that you avoid agencies that require any type of upfront payment before offering you a contract.

However, this has not stopped some agencies (even the legitimate ones for the most part), from doing stuff under the table or in a way that won't get them in trouble. Agency kickbacks are one of them.

Here's how a typical kickback works:

Step 1: The agency signs a new model with no upfront fees or other funny stuff. Harmless enough.
Step 2: They tell the model that she/he must organize photoshoots in order to build their portfolio. The agency will give the model a list of recommended photographers that they encourage the model to work with.
Step 3: The model works with one of the agency's recommended photographers and pays for the cost of the shoot, makeup artist, stylist, comp card printing, etc.
Step 4: The photographer gives a percentage of their cut to the agency.

Step 4 is the "kickback" part and is a big no-no. The agency should not be receiving any money when it comes to the portfolio stage--the only time they should see profit is once they book their model work and are able to charge their agency fee/commission. Some agencies have done kickbacks under the table as a way to generate additional income but this is not good business practice. Does it stop agencies from doing it? No.

Those within the industry usually know which agencies do these kickbacks, although it is difficult to find out for yourself. Even if you asked the agency and/or the photographer whether they deal with kickbacks, what's to stop them from lying to you? The point of this post is not to figure out how to track down the truth--that's a huge challenge that I wouldn't even know where to begin talking about.

I simply want you to be aware of the fact that when it comes to paying for your portfolio shoot when signing with an agency, it's okay if you pay as long as the agency isn't getting a cut from it. When you sign with an agency, find out all your options for choosing photographers. The agency should not force you to use one of the photographers they recommend. They should be open to allowing you to choose who you want and deciding whether to accept the images that you get as a result.

Different Types of Promotional Modeling

There are a variety of sub-categories in the modeling industry, including promotional modeling. While not known as the most interesting or credible part of the modeling world, this has not stopped many men and women from seeking work in this field. If you enjoy meeting new people, are great at selling a product or idea and want to experience something different, then you should give promotional modeling a shot. For general information about this type of modeling, check out my blog post on the subject:

Promotional/Tradeshow Modeling

There are even sub-categories in promotional modeling, such as regular promo modeling, retail modeling and brand ambassador/spokesmodeling.

Regular promotional modeling involves handing out promotional/marketing materials and free samples to customers as well as educating people about the company you are representing. This usually takes place at tradeshows, conventions and other related venues. For that event you are the face of the company and are responsible for drawing interested customers to the booth or stand.

Retail modeling is very similar to promo modeling but takes place in actual retail stores. For example, you might get a retail modeling gig passing out makeup samples to women in the cosmetics section of Macy's or handing out samples of hair conditioner products at Wal-Mart. Or you could even participate in playing video games for a new title coming out at a local game store. The possibilities are endless for retail modeling.

Brand ambassadors can be thought of as "managers" that oversee as well as participate in a promotional event. As the name implies, brand ambassadors represent a particular brand/company and must be very knowledgeable in that brand's identity, services and products.

You'll commonly see this term used in relation to models promoting alcohol. Most brand ambassadors are 21 years of age or older due to the nature of the products they are promoting. Promo models in this position typically get paid well and are hired for future events for the brand they are representing.

Spokesmodels are chosen to represent a certain image that customers associate with a particular company or product. They are typically asked to appear at a certain company's events throughout the year. So instead of just working one or two events, they may sign you on to make special appearances, which could also result in higher pay.

By seeing a regular face, customers will come to establish the connection between your appearance and the presence of the company. Being a spokesmodel is a great position that could lead to future opportunities including being a part of the company's ad campaigns.

Answering a Reader Question #70

The_Success_Queen Wrote:

Hi, Just wanted to say how useful this info is to me.
I am also searching for information on Promotional and Retail modeling. 

Hello, and thanks for the comment and for being a reader! If you are looking for information related to Promotional & Retail Modeling, you should check out these links (one is a post I did about Promotional/Tradeshow Modeling and the other is a link to a company that specializes in hiring promo/staff models for all kinds of events, including retail modeling at stores):

Tradeshow/Promotional Modeling

Intro to Promo Modeling; Kandu Marketing & Staffing, LLC

I also plan on doing more posts related to retail modeling and the more specific events in the promotional modeling world so be on the lookout for those.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Answering a Reader Question #69

Anonymous Wrote:

Hey im stephanie:) im only 15 but ive been looking at modeling for a while now. Ive always thought Victoria's Secret Models were by far the best:) I was wondering if i would fit the criteria, Im 5'8", my measurements are 32-25-35, long brown hair and long legs, im just a plain american girl, not anything exotic, haha:)oh and im sorta fair skinned, not too tan. 

Hi, Stephanie! Based on your height, measurements (make sure you maintain your waist and hip size since that is the maximum) and physical description, you sound like you fit the requirements for a VS model. Once you reach the age of 18 you'll want to look into getting signed to a top fashion agency in the New York market if you want to seriously be considered as a VS model. Ford and Elite are among the top agencies that new VS models are contracted out of as well as other top agencies in the area. Of course at your current height, you can pursue fashion and runway modeling if you want, even at your age...just no lingerie! LOL. Good luck to you!