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 30, 2011

Answering a Reader Question #112

Anonymous Wrote:

Hi Dania! Concerning the vacuum pose from above- if my waist is already 24 inches can this still help me? Is it even healthy to have a 23 inch waist? Thanks! 

Hey, Anonymous, thanks for your question in regards to my post: "Answering a Reader Question #11." 24 inches is the ideal waist measurement for models. You can be no larger than one inch so 25 would be pushing it but if you are already at a 24 in the waist, there is no need to try and lose more inches from this area.

23 inches is healthy for a select few but not for the average person. The most important thing to remember when it comes to models and the "34-24-34 standard" is that these numbers do not reflect "reality" and what "real" people actually measure up to. The modeling industry has created a different type of reality that suits their purposes and that is the context in which measurements should be looked at. This is where the lines tend to blur for some people. I will be the first to admit that the strict requirements for measurements is not healthy, especially for people that weren't born with the genetics to be naturally thin. For those that have this body type naturally, there is no problem...however, it is when other people that do not fall within this category tend to experience issues with trying to alter their body type and slim down in order to meet agency requirements.

The bottom line in your case is that at 24 inches you are fine so there is no need to worry about trying to lose more weight to slim down your waist.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Quick Tip #2

Category: Clothing
For both male & female models

Anytime you go to a go-see, fitting or shoot where you are required to wear a designer's clothes, avoid all fragrances. This means no perfume, cologne, body spray or heavily scented body lotions. These scents will get onto the clothes and regardless of how fabulous you think it smells, the designers will not be happy and it could count against you. When trying on clothes during fittings or wearing them during shoots, make sure you return the clothing items in the same condition that they were when you received them. I recently did a shoot where the dress I was chosen to wear had loads of perfume from a previous model that tried it on and as a result, the client had to go get the dress steam cleaned at the last minute before the shoot. Needless to say, he was very irritated with that particular model.

So remember, no fragrances of any kind!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

You Better Work!!! Understanding What Makes a Fashion Show (Part IV): The Show!

Okay, you passed the audition, you've gone to the fitting and you learned the choreography. Now it's showtime! Both new and experienced models tend to get the butterflies when it comes to the actual day of the fashion show. While not all shows operate in exactly the same way, the order of events will usually fall somewhere along the lines of the following:

1) Prep: It's time to show up early and ready to go into hair and makeup. Depending on the number of models and stylists available, this process can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour or more.

2) Rehearsal (could come before the prep in some cases): Remember, it isn't unusual for models to learn the choreography and layout of the stage/catwalk until the day of the show. Make sure you're paying attention so that you know where you are supposed to be and what marks you're supposed to hit. "Marks" refers to designated areas on the stage that you need to walk to--usually this will be identified by placing tape into an "X" shape.

3) Getting Dressed: Most shows will have a staff of people on-hand to help the models get into their outfits. These folks are known as "dressers" and will become your best friends during the show. For events that require a lot of quick changes, having extra hands available to unzip, tug and pull the clothing over your head or off of your body saves precious seconds and guarantees you'll be in your place in line on time.

4) The Show: This is the moment you've been waiting for. The music's playing, the audience is ready and the atmosphere backstage is a mixture of excitement and nervousness. Don't over-think things! Remember the basics you learned during rehearsal and go with the flow. Play to the crowd and soak up your time on the catwalk. Stand up straight, focus ahead and place one foot in front of the other. Male models, this is your time to show off your swag so make sure you exude sexiness and confidence by gracefully strutting your way down the catwalk. Work with the clothes you're wearing and own it.

The amazing thing about fashion shows is that as many hours as it takes to plan, put together and produce, the entire event is usually over in the blink of an eye. You'll find that the actual time spent on the catwalk will go by so fast that you'll wonder if it even happened at all. The good thing about this is that it doesn't really give you time to be nervous.

Many fashion shows end up having an after-party, which takes place at the end of the show and usually at the same venue where the event took place. This is a great reward for the models and everyone else involved in the production. It also gives models the opportunity to mingle with the audience and any friends or family members that attended.

Additionally, it could also serve as a networking opportunity--you never know who will be in the crowd so be on your best behavior and realize that even during the after-party, you are still representing the casting/production company in charge of the fashion show.

Maintain a balance of being a professional but also fun and approachable. Avoid bad behavior, such as getting sloppy drunk and acting rowdy. Again, you never know who is watching. When all is said and done, be sure to give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Quick Tip #1

Category: Beauty
For both male & female models

Ever had to pull an all nighter? Whether it's working the graveyard shift at the job, staying up late studying or writing a paper for school or simply staying up watching television until the wee hours of the morning, this bad habit can wreak havoc on a model's face--namely the telltale fine lines and wrinkles around the eye area.

My secret: Vaseline. If I know I'm going to be up past my bedtime, I'll simply add a light layer of Vaseline to my fingertip and smudge it underneath both eyes. I find that the petroleum jelly works wonders for keeping the skin under the eye area moisturized and fills in the creases where the fine lines tend to creep up on me. Of course I have a good quality eye cream that I use but most times good ole Vaseline does the trick.

But this doesn't mean that staying up should become a daily habit. Do what you can to make sure that you get enough rest...it's all about aging gracefully and if you take advantage of your youth in the wrong ways now, all the Vaseline in the world won't be able to help you. You've been warned!

My Latest Shoot: Beauty with Styles By Ann

Another day, another shoot! I got to shoot with Peter Kyong of Kyong Photography the very next day after our fashion shoot in San Francisco, except this time the concept was a beauty shoot for a local makeup artist and hair stylist (and model), Ann Ho of Styles By Ann.

The process of getting my hair and makeup done were captured on video, since Ann wants to use the footage on her website in order to promote her services and the classes that she teaches.

There were four models total. After our hair and makeup were completed, we headed to the studio, where Peter took simple beauty shots. Ann decided to do more of a bridal look on me to add to her portfolio. It was actually my first time having my foundation airbrushed on me. The process was pretty cool and definitely a lot faster than the traditional methods.

The shoot itself was simple and shorter in duration since beauty shots are not as involved as taking full body pictures...there's only so many ways you can pose when the final images are all close ups.

Here are a few of my favorite images from the shoot:

Reality Check: Photoshoots & the "Money Shot" in Modeling

I can't help but be tickled when I come across some postings put up by models or photographers looking for people to work with on shoots...I'm mainly referring to the ones that make statements along the lines of: the shoot should probably only take about 15-30 minutes or an hour or two. Really?

I guess that such a thing could be possible--if quality is completely thrown out of the window. It is important for models and photographers alike (but mainly models for this particular post) to understand the numbers game when it comes to shoots and why you can't realistically produce "money shot" images within such a short amount of time (at least not 100% accurately all the time).

Some people's minds boggle at the fact that it takes HUNDREDS of photos to find the "money shot"...that one image that just screams "AMAZING!" But it's true. While there is such a thing as short shoots that range from 1-2 hours or so, it is a good idea to prepare yourself for what you find as you review the images afterwards.

Even the best models do not always consistently take great pictures one after another during a shoot. You blink, you sneeze, wipe your nose, fix your hair, make silly faces, aren't paying attention or just simply don't take a good picture at times. Such shots make up 90% - 95% of the total images taken throughout the duration of a photoshoot. And it is completely normal.

In fact, it can teach humility. Trust me, viewing tons of images of yourself over time and seeing the good, the bad and the ugly definitely gives you a greater appreciation of what it takes to find that one killer image that deems a shoot a success.

The images I shared from my most recent shoots are prime examples. The fashion shoot I did in San Francisco produced a little more than 450 pictures total. That's a LOT of pictures! But the more images that are shot, the greater the odds are of finding the money shot or shots. Out of the 450 that I reviewed (I was lucky enough to work with a photographer that gave me full access to an online gallery of the images afterwards), I "liked" 20-25. Of that 20-25, I "loved" about 10-12. Of the 10-12, I deemed 6 of them "great." The total images that will end up printed out in hi resolution for my portfolio: 2.

Think about it, aside from eliminating the tons of shots that are no good, you can really only use one or two of the images from each shoot in a portfolio. Remember, it's about showing diversity in your portfolio, not multiple images of the same look.

This is why it is so important to plan accordingly and understand that taking hundreds of pictures that don't look that great does not mean you are a bad model. Again, it's about increasing the odds and that can only happen when a photographer and/or the client has plenty of pictures to choose from.

Instead of trying to focus on getting the pose and facial expression perfect with each click of the camera, which is incredibly hard and even more time consuming BTW, it is much easier to just set aside a good chunk of time in which to capture the money shot. Having 2-4 hours or more to shoot one or more concepts allows for greater flexibility and it gives the model and photographer time to warm up to each other and establish that chemistry that produces wonderful images.

It isn't uncommon to look at the images afterwards and witness a gradual change in the way the poses and expressions turn out over the period of the shoot. Most models find that the best images are towards the end of the shoot since by this time they've become completely comfortable in front of the camera with the concept, clothing, makeup, location, etc.

So the next time you're looking for a photographer to shoot with, make sure that you've got the full  understanding of the effort it takes to create that one image that you'll be proud to display in your portfolio.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My Latest Shoot: SF Fashion

Just got some pictures back from a recent fashion shoot I did in San Francisco and Sausalito. It was freezing cold that day but somehow I made it through! I had a great time shooting with Peter Kyong of Kyong Photography and we ended up shooting together again the very next day for a completely separate project (I hope to have the pictures from that shoot in another week or so).

Me and Peter are also going to team up a third time to do one of the concept shoots I've been planning, which is a lifestyle/couple shoot with my latest male model partner-in-crime, Cameron Clark.

I thought I'd do something fun with Photoshop and ended up creating these collages. Enjoy!

Answering a Reader Question #111

Anonymous Wrote:

Hi Dania!
I recently read your post about model makeovers and I had a question about it. About six months ago, I got my hair cut for locks of love. Since then, I have found a couple possible agencies to apply to once I get my bottom braces off (I'm a sophmore). I think I would have a more versatile look if my hair were a bit longer, though. What are the chances that an agency like Ford or Factor Women in Chicago would want to add hair extentions, and would I have to pay for them? Thanks! 

Hey, Anonymous! Great questions! Let's see if I can help you out. =)

Since I don't work for an agency, I really can't say for sure whether or not agencies like the ones you mentioned would or would not be open to the idea of having you get extensions. It really all depends on what look is "in" for the Chicago market. I would suggest attending open calls in your area with your hair as is and see what feedback you get from the agencies. If you happen to get an interview with an agency, mention your concern about the length of your hair and see what they say. When it comes to your look, the agency will decide what would be best for the market you'd be working in. In some cases shorter hair is preferred so you never know.

Overall, I would say stick with your current hair length. If you get signed, your agent will begin booking you for work and in the event that a client wants you to have longer hair, then they'll simply add the extensions in on the day of the shoot or fashion show once you've officially been hired for the gig (the upside to this is that you'll get the extensions free of charge). Versatility can be changed up on each modeling assignment you book and does not necessarily mean that you have to get extensions to wear throughout the duration of your modeling career or worry about who will pay for them.

Hope that helps. If you need more clarification or additional info/assistance, please shoot me a personal email!

Answering a Reader Question #110

MM Wrote:

Hi some one told me that I should try for beausty of the week. I dnt know since Im trying to focus strictly on acting visit my site www.lovechic.net and click on slide show to tell me what you think . thank you for ur blog and all of your help. 

Hi, MM, and thanks for your question! Even if you are pursuing acting and do not really have an interest in modeling, being chosen as a JET "Beauty of the Week" can only help you, not harm you. Being chosen gives you great exposure to a huge fan base of readers, as well as an extra accomplishment to add to your resume. If you become a "BOTW" it doesn't mean that you'll get stuck with modeling...look at it as an additional opportunity to put your name out there. However, you should do it because you want to do it, not to please others. Either way, I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Answering a Reader Question #109

Melissa Wrote:

I have a question - I'm Asian, 24, 5 foot 8 inches at 114 pounds and a light tan skin tone.. I've been told countless times to go for modeling but I don't know where to start. I don't want to throw any money away because I don't really have any to start with...and I'm not sure if I'll get lucky with being discovered in a mall. What would be the best way to start?


Hi, Melissa, thanks for the question! The best way to get started is to find a reputable and legit modeling agency to represent you. Having an agent dramatically decreases your chances of getting scammed or taken advantage of. Additionally, it will be their responsibility to submit you for work and only deal with the most credible clients. Go for the agencies first because this is the most direct way to get "discovered" and not have to deal with any middlemen.

At this point you don't need to spend a small fortune in order to get started. When submitting to agencies, 9 times out of 10 they will request non-professional, digital snapshots of yourself. So you don't have to go out and hire a professional photographer or pay to print out high quality images. Here is an easy checklist to help you in getting started:

1) Go online to look up which modeling agencies are within a 2 hour's drive of where you live.
2) Visit each agency website to find out what their instructions are for submitting photos or if they have open casting calls, where you can go in to be evaluated without needing an appointment.
3) Get together with a friend and go about taking your snapshots according to each of the agency's submission guidelines
4) Send out those pictures and attend those casting calls!

As far as cost goes, here is a blog post I did that addresses the way stating a portfolio with an agency works.

The Deal with Agencies & Test Shoots for Portfolio Building

Aside from the portfolio, other areas where costs may be involved relates to transportation (gas money to get you to and from castings, shoots and go-sees, parking fees, purchasing any clothes or accessories for test shoots that aren't provided already, etc...agencies do not cover such miscellaneous costs). These are minimal at best, really, but it's good to be aware of them.

If you need help finding legit agencies and their websites, drop me a personal email and I'll be able to help you you! Good luck!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!!!

Wow, it's 2011! Another new year and with it the many opportunities that life (and the modeling industry) has to offer! I hope everyone had a good time ringing in the new year...I, for one, could not wait for 2011 to start and for the holidays to pass so I could refocus and get back to business! Guess it's the workaholic in me!

Needless to say, I plan on continuing to pursue projects, shoots and other related opportunities that will help to further my modeling and acting career--hopefully you're all aiming to do the same! Today is my last day of being lazy and tomorrow I'll come out of my cocoon and get myself ready for upcoming gigs this week. My main focus lately has been networking. I've been busy contacting local designers and introducing myself as well as offering them my services. So far it's been good...there are two local designers that I'm in talks with for helping them showcase their new clothing lines and one designer that I was supposed to do a fashion show for but at the last minute the show's director went over the designer's head and hired his own models to do her segment--totally sucked but there wasn't much I could do about it. However, the designer did say she would keep me in mind for her next shows, which she'll hopefully have more control over.

I've redesigned my business cards to update my pictures and info and my official modeling website is undergoing a complete makeover. I'll be sure to announce when the new version is up and running...I'm super excited about that project. Hmmm...what else? Oh, my immediate goal is updating my book and I've set up a bunch of test shoots with photographers in the area in order to capture the images that I feel are missing from my portfolio. One is to update my swimwear images and the rest are couple shoots with local male models. One concept shoot I'm working on with a male model is going to be more editorial in nature, while the other is more along the lifestyle theme.

I feel that if I'm really going to put myself out there and network with others in the San Francisco market as well as Los Angeles, my images and website should definitely be on point and reflect the type of work I know I can pull off. Of course the best way to convince people is to show them, so for now I'll be dedicating my free time to testing and gathering strong images.

Don't worry, I haven't forgotten about you, my dear readers. I've got many more insightful and informative topics to post about so stay tuned and I hope that 2011 brings you all nothing but happiness, productivity and prosperity!