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, July 29, 2010

Modeling FAQs

Even though this blog has been around for a while I still come into contact with new aspiring models that tend to ask questions I've pretty much memorized the answers to. To make things easier on myself and those looking for answers, I decided to do a basic FAQ post. I may add questions from time to time so this post will be updated as needed:

Q: Can I model?
A: I don't know, can you? Much more information is needed, such as your age, height, weight and measurements (bust, waist, hips for the girls/women and suit, shirt, waist and pants for men).

Q: Where do I start?
A: Do your homework. Find out what type of modeling you qualify for--your height is a quick way to find this out. Ladies: 5'5"-5'7" means commercial/print, 5'8"-6'0" means fashion/runway/editorial/plus size. Men: 5'9"-6'2" means fashion/runway/editorial. Commercial/print height requirements for men vary but in general they prefer them to be taller than 5'8" in most markets.

Q: Kate Moss is a short supermodel so that means I can be one, too, right?
A: Kate Moss is what we call an "exception to the rule." Yes, she is a modeling icon who is much shorter than the typical fashion model but she is only an exception, not the majority. There are a few short fashion models out there but overall the industry wants taller models. Until they change that requirement, only apply for the type of modeling you completely meet the requirements for.

Q: How much do I have to pay a modeling agency?
A: A legit and reputable agency does not ask for upfront fees prior to giving you a modeling contract. By law, agencies can only charge a commission from each gig they book their models. Period.

Q: Do I need to go to modeling school or take classes?
A: No, no and no! Training and classes are mandatory--not a requirement. Agencies actually prefer new models with little to no experience since they are easier to train. The agency you sign with will train you and mold you into what they want so save your money and time.

Q: What degree do I need to be a professional model?
A: There is no degree, diploma or certification needed to become a professional model. Simply submit your pictures or attend an open casting call and if the agency likes what they see, they will sign you, train you and begin finding you work. No schooling needed and no, there is no such thing as a "modeling college" or "modeling major/degree"...believe me, I've been asked this!

Q: How old is too old to model?
A: There is no exact answer to this because the modeling industry has a need for models of all age ranges to target specific audiences. Fashion models typically range from as young as 13 to 14-years-old up to 21-years-old. Of course there are exceptions to the rule. If you can manage to "look" younger, that will extend the life of your modeling career. Commercial/print is always in need of people in their 20s and 30s. Older than that? Then look into "mature" or "lifestyle" modeling, which is in great demand.

Q: How do I get my baby/child into modeling?
A: Find a legit agency in your area that has a baby or child modeling division. Not all agencies represent babies or children. Learn what photos they want and prepare your submission according to their instructions, which can be found on the official website.

Q: I'm short, can I do petite modeling?
A: Unfortunately, the demand for petite models is slim to none. As a result, not many agencies have petite modeling divisions--although some do. It is worth looking into but don't expect to get a whole lot of work in this area until the demand changes.

Q: I'm larger than a size 0-4, can I do plus size modeling?
A: Being a plus size model means more than simply wearing a larger dress size. The requirements for plus size models are as strict as those required for fashion/runway models. The height requirement is 5'8"-6'0" and your measurements (bust, waist, hips) should ideally be at least 10 inches apart...for example: 42-32-42. Being proportional is a must! You also have to be between a size 10-16 in most markets.

Q: I know models are supposed to be skinny. How much weight do I have to lose?
A: Before doing anything drastic like losing a lot of weight, learn what the requirements are first. A rule of thumb for fashion/runway/editorial models is to weigh anywhere from 100 - 125 lbs if they are 5'8" or taller. Sure, that's not realistic, but again this is what the modeling industry has set--it is not supposed to reflect the "reality" that everyday folks live in. Commercial/print models don't have the same strict weight requirements...it is more important that you are proportional and healthy in appearance. If you weigh more, evaluate whether it would be a healthy move--never jeopardize your health just to fit into the industry. It is more about measurements anyway than how much you weigh.

Q: What are the ideal measurements for a female model?
A: The standard is 34-24-34 (that is bust, waist and hips in inches). You can be smaller but no larger than one inch in any of these areas. That is because you won't be able to fit the sample sizes designers make. It is easier to take in a clothing item than to add more to it. This is simply about practicality.

Q: Do I need professional modeling pictures and a portfolio to get signed to an agency?
A: No. If you are a new model, agencies will 9 times out of 10 ask for non professional, digital photos. Snapshots tell more about your potential as a model than retouched, perfected professional images. Once you get signed, the agency will set up your first test shoot, which will be the basics of your portfolio. After you start working you'll be able to update your portfolio with more photos. Models that are already working in the industry are able to use their professional images when submitting to a new agency but may still be asked for snapshots. If you are a new model and have professional images, the agency will still consider them but may also ask for snapshots as well.

Q: What is a casting call?
A: Also known as "open casting calls" this is an event where anyone can come into the agency and be evaluated by the staff without making an appointment. Most agencies set their casting calls during certain hours and days of the week. For example, an agency may only have casting calls on the first Monday of each month from 12pm - 1pm or they may have open calls every Wednesday from 2pm - 3pm. It is first come, first served.

Steps to Take BEFORE Sending Photos to Modeling Agencies

I can't keep track of the countless times I've heard aspiring models talk about how excited they are to send pictures to modeling agencies but have no clue what to send. Getting into the modeling industry is a process, which means there are steps that need to be taken. Jumping blindly into things is a surefire way to put yourself out of the running.

Submitting your stuff to modeling agencies should be the LAST step in the process. Before you can send photos you have to figure out which agencies to send them to, right? If you have no idea where agencies are in your area, then it's time to do research and find them.

Are they not local? Then you'll also have to consider how seriously you want to pursue modeling. For aspiring models with no legit agencies within a 2 hour's drive, you'll have to make a judgment call as to whether moving/relocating to a larger modeling market is going to be a realistic possibility for you. I'll do a post on that very topic in the near future. Now back to the topic at hand.

After you have gotten a list of the agencies you can submit to, make sure you thoroughly go through their official websites to find out what pictures to send. Not all modeling agencies ask for the same types of pictures. While one may simply want a headshot and full body shot, another may want additional images, such as a full body profile, 3/4 pose, etc.

Treat each agency individually and prepare your submission accordingly. Sending the wrong types of photos or not following their instructions will quickly send your submission into the trash. Don't give them that opportunity so do it right the first time! One of the first tests agencies give is seeing how well you follow instructions and if your submission doesn't have what they're asking for, it makes a negative first impression even before you meet with them face-to-face. This is why it is important that you follow the right steps prior to sending in your pictures.

Once you know what kind of images the agencies want from you, create a checklist of the poses for each agency you plan on submitting to and set aside time to get those pictures taken care of. It's okay to submit the same images to different agencies if they ask for the same poses/types.

For example, if you have three agencies you plan on sending pictures to, don't take three completely different headshots. You can submit the same headshot to all three. Make sense? Remember, have someone else take your non-professional digital images for you--do not take them yourself in the mirror! If they happen to want professional images then it will be up to you to network with professional photographers and set up a test shoot.

Be sure to let the photographer know the images are being submitted to agencies and give them a list of the shots needed. Only give what the agencies ask for--no more, no less. Agencies are businesses first and the hectic nature of this industry means no room for error. When your submission is exactly what they are looking for, this will increase your chances of moving on to the next step, which is an interview!