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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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Must for All Models and Newbies to Check Out - The Life of a Fashion Model: Grueling, Not Glitzy

I don't know how many of you are familiar with the news radio station NPR (National Public Radio) but I listen to them from time to time to keep updated on various issues and news items both locally, nationally and internationally.

My Dad actually called me to let me know that they were doing an interview with a former model, turned professor, who wrote a new book about her journey in the modeling industry.

Click the link below and it'll take you to the NPR website, where you can listen to the interview or read the transcript. It's a very informative and insightful account from yet another industry insider who has "been there and done that."

NPR: The Life of a Fashion Model: Grueling, Not Glitzy

Monday, September 26, 2011

Why I Love Doutzen Kroes

No, it's not because she's this amazingly talented supermodel. I love Doutzen Kroes because she is one of the prime (and my favorite) examples of how to get into the modeling industry without being scouted, "discovered" overnight or by going to a modeling school or convention with the hopes of making it big. Doutzen made it into modeling by simply submitting non-professional, digital snapshots to a modeling agency in her town. Before sending in those photos, she had NO previous modeling experience.

I don't know, but sometimes I think people simply don't believe me when I say the most powerful tool a newbie model has is his/her snapshots. Not a professional portfolio or amazingly retouched images--snapshots! Doutzen Kroes is one of the models who was fortunate enough to make it to supermodel status but getting her foot in the door in the beginning was all thanks to her own efforts to follow the most basic rules for submitting to a modeling agency. Below are the actual snapshots she sent in to an agency called Paparazzi in Amsterdam:

If you've ever emailed me for assistance with your modeling career or had questions about photo submissions, chances are you've seen these photos as attachments with my reply email. You can't go wrong with quality non-professional, digital snapshots, guys and gals!

To further drive the point home, one of the models I've helped along the way in her career, Stephanie, received the same email attachment from me with Doutzen's snapshots and my advice to prepare her agency submission using those images for reference...she sent me her snapshots for approval and feedback and she knocked it out of the park. She is now a working and successful, agency represented model in New York City. Readers, I'm not here to steer you wrong--there is method to my madness and any info I provide is for good reason. :-)

Professional models with established tearsheets and portfolios fall into a different arena when it comes to seeking an agency or switching to new representation, but overall any model can benefit from having up to date snapshots of themselves available for agencies to look at.

For good measure, below are the snapshots for top French male model, Clement Chabernaud (see, I told you fellas that I would try to get more mentions of you in my blog, lol):

To the average person, such photos may not scream "top model" but to the trained eyes of modeling agencies around the world, these simple pictures tell a true model's potential, especially when it comes to the big leagues of being represented professionally in the industry.

So take it from me, put your efforts into producing quality snapshots to send to agencies instead of spending time and money into professional images that more than likely aren't required to submit to agencies in the first place. Do your homework, find out what each agency wants (remember, you can submit to as many as you want) and then prepare your submissions accordingly.

Answering a Reader Question #197

Anonymous Wrote:

Hi Dania, I was wondering how I could apply? Can you tell me how? Please and thank you!!

Hi, Jenny! Please watch the video that you posted your comment/question on ("T.I.L. Darling Model Search 2011 Contest - Now Accepting Applications"). The video, starring myself, explains the instructions for applying for the model search.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Bay Area Wedding Fair - Grand Hyatt San Francisco

Footage from the San Francisco bridal show I did back in March of this year. Fast forward to 2:10 to see me. Hope to have updated video footage of the most recent San Francisco show I did for the same company, which took place on September 11 of this year.

Answering a Reader Question #196

Anonymous Wrote:

Hi Dania! I was wondering, if you're attending an open call during the winter months and it's snowy outside, should you still wear a solid coloured tank top, or should you upgrade to a long sleeved shirt? Thanks! 

Hey there, Anonymous! Oh, man...I do not do snow...LOL! But to answer your question, yes, you can dress weather appropriate with a long sleeved shirt, as long as it is still form fitting. Or you can wear a solid colored tank top and just bundle up with a big jacket and simply remove that once you get inside. Another alternative is to wear whatever you want over your tank top to keep you warm and then simply remove those layers before going into the agency's office. So you've got a couple of options but as long as the clothing you choose to wear inside shows your figure, that's what matters. So stay warm! ;-)

Answering a Reader Question #195

Anonymous Wrote:

Hi! I would love to work my way up to victoria's secret, but I don't even know if I have what it takes to model! I have Laetitia Casta's body (the hourglass/not so model-perfect measurements) and her slightly shorter height. They overlooked it for her since she's so drop dead gorgeous! But I have Tyra's big forehead, and I don't really know if my facial features are "defined" enough. I don't know anyone in the modeling area; so is there a way to find out if I have any potential? 

Hi, Anonymous! The best way to find out if you've got potential is to seek agency representation. The major opinion that matters is that of an agency's. For now, don't worry so much about pursuing the Victoria's Secret route, unless you live in New York and are able to submit yourself to Elite or Ford. If that is the case for you, then visit each of their websites and see what photos they require or attend their open casting calls.

If you're not in the New York area, then your best bet is to do an online search for modeling agencies in your city/state. You're able to submit to as many as you want within the area, as long as they aren't farther than a 2 hour's drive from where you live, unless you're willing to relocate. The agency websites will state all of the information you'll need to know and you'll also get to see the photos of models they currently represent.

Feel free to send me an email (daniadenise@gmail.com) if you need help with finding legit and reputable agencies within your area.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sports & Fitness Modeling

A reader asked me to address this type of modeling, so here is it! There are many other niches of modeling aside from the typical fashion, runway and even commercial/print. Because models are needed for advertisement purposes, this means the types of looks in demand can vary widely from company to company.

As we all know, sports is a very profitable industry, both within the USA and in other countries. Brand giants like Nike and Adidas, as well as other reputable athletic companies have their own line of accessories, products and clothing that targets a specific demographic. And in order to market those products to the masses, guess what they need? Models!

The great thing about fitness and sports modeling is that the requirements aren't as strict as with other categories. In general, female fitness/sports models are between 5'5" - 6'0". Male models typically range in height from 5'10" to 6'3". If the male models are actually professional athletes, the height requirement can even be extended to taller than 6'3" (think about those super tall basketball players!).

So what are the physical requirements/stats? In most cases, there aren't stringent measurements that must be met like fashion modeling. The types of apparel modeled for sports and fitness ads don't necessarily fall into the same sizing specs that fashion modeling deals with. Because of this, the body type is what's more important instead of the actual measurements.

Since this does involve promoting the sports/fitness industry, models hoping to pursue this niche MUST be in terrific shape. That means a body that's proportional, toned and muscular. However, you do not need to be a beefcake with rippling bodybuilding muscles (although there are many male models that typically fit this description, there are more slender, yet toned/muscular male body types...fellas, it never hurts to have a six-pack!).

The majority of clients that cast for athletic/sports/fitness models want bodies that are in good shape and toned but not in an extreme way, unless a particular project or campaign calls for it. Remember, your images are being marketed towards the general public so they have to be able to somewhat relate to the models. Not all athletic, everyday folks are fully ripped and bulging with muscles.

Appearance-wise, sports and fitness models must have good skin, a great smile, attractive/symmetrical features (the majority of fitness models do not possess the alien, exotic, strange or unique stand out features that high fashion and runway models do). Athletic models need to have that mainstream, commercial appeal. Below are some images of typical fitness/sports models:

Famous fitness model and TV personality, Jennifer Nicole Lee. Back in 2005 I actually met and interviewed her at a soiree in San Francisco. Very down to earth, approachable and beautiful from the inside out. She used to be 200 pounds and amazingly got back in shape the old fashioned way through exercise and determination after having her two kids. She lost over 70 pounds after giving birth!

Sports models appear in many forms of print media, such as catalogs, magazines, billboards and other publications that obviously target the sports and health industries. A model working in this field could be booked for a Nike campaign, wearing their latest clothes/shoes or demonstrating a new exercise technique as part of a health article in a fitness magazine.

This type of modeling often requires that the models themselves not only look like athletes but have some kind of sports background. Agencies and clients both love models that participate in team sports, are active gym rats or enjoy an outdoors lifestyle. This is because it's much easier to have a model engage in a real world sports/fitness scenario if they actually know what to do, how to perform/pose, etc.

For example, say a client is casting for a female fitness model to do a print shoot for a new tennis racket brand. If the model has a tennis background--whether she plays for fun or professionally--chances are she's going to produce authentic tennis poses that will sell to real tennis consumers. Hiring an athletic looking model with no experience holding a tennis racket or doing poses performing this activity, is not only time consuming due to the fact that she'll likely take a bit longer to learn the right posing and posture, experts looking at the ad will be able to point out if the model actually knows what she's doing.

Further case and point: I was doing business consulting for a client who owns a golf product company. He was looking for stock photography of a female golfer. I referred him to sample photos from stock photography websites I came across. Amazingly, he was able to point out which photos had models who obviously didn't have a golfing background and who was authentic by the way her body was positioned, how she held the golf club, etc.

Does that mean a typical model with an athletic build can't eventually learn how to appear as an actual athlete? Of course not but you can see why clients would prefer to choose the former type of sports model over the latter. Time is money and going with a sports model with actual sports experience is less of a business headache to deal with.

There are not a huge number of agencies that have sports/fitness divisions but they are out there. Some agencies even solely represent these types of models. Below are some resources and agencies that deal with this niche of modeling that aspiring male and female fitness/sports models will want to check out:

All American Guys: A site that is dedicated to professional fitness male models. They have contests, model searches and offer opportunities for undiscovered male models to win a trip to Florida for a professional fitness shoot. It's worth looking into for networking purposes, exposure and to find other male fitness models newbies can turn to for inspiration.

Parts Models Agency, New York: Not all athletic models are seen in their entirety in an image. Sometimes clients only need a shot of a sports model's stomach, legs, arms, etc. Parts Models is one of the most widely known and well respected parts modeling agencies. It's one way for athletic models to book well paying work.

The Sports Book, Miami: This agency specializes in athletic talent and sports modeling. Their list of clients they've booked work for their models through include ESPN, MTV, Nike, Adidas, The Sunglass Hut and The Sports Authority.

Answering a Reader Question #194

Anonymous Wrote:

Hi Dania! Great Blog. I noticed you did not speak on fitness or sports modeling. Do you have any insight on this field of modeling? This is a small field but if a girl is athletic it can help get her foot in the door. That is what happened to me.

Hi, Anonymous! Thank you for pointing that out...you've asked and I will deliver! My next blog post will address the niche category of fitness/sports modeling instead of talking about it here (I want to make sure my readers are able to find this topic easily as a stand alone post). Thanks for letting me know I was missing this piece of info from one of my other posts and I'm glad you were able to find a part of the modeling industry that worked for you. Keep up the great work!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Models, Please Follow Instructions!

Oh, my word, I cannot stress enough how important it is for models of all experience levels to have the ability to follow instructions. As I've said before, good models know how to do this. Another duty that comes with pursuing a modeling career is following all kinds of instructions.

In addition to taking direction from a photographer/client during a shoot, models have to deal with this task when it comes to submitting themselves for castings and putting together submissions to agencies, etc.

In modeling, DETAIL COUNTS! It may seem harsh but again, this is the modeling industry we're talking about and they're not exactly known for being kindhearted.

To a client, photographer and agency, if a model cannot follow simple instructions for sending photos, information and other materials, what makes them think he/she will be able to properly follow instructions given to them on a serious, professional modeling level? We all make mistakes but if you have a tendency to misread instructions or typically go with whatever makes you feel good, chances are you're not going to be very successful in the industry.

Many of the people in modeling are fickle, picky and judgmental. It does not take much for them to completely overlook a model if that individual does not follow the rules. For example, when submitting myself to castings online, I'll make sure to read the entire posting thoroughly. If it's got a lot of instructions, I'll copy and paste the info into a blank document and literally prepare my submission by checking off each item on the instruction list.

I have a great memory but even I don't trust it enough to "think" I'll remember everything I'm supposed to include. This is especially the case when it comes to online submissions. I've looked at castings on sites like Model Mayhem, where the posting specifically states things like, "Do NOT Comment on this posting with your interest. Please message/email the address above." And what do I see? A whole page of comments from models doing exactly that! Arrrrrrggghhhh, it KILLS me! While it obviously gives me an advantage because I know I'll follow instructions, I can't help but think how many of them probably make this a habit and have cost themselves potential gigs because of it.

The recent model search that I'm hosting with the website TIL Darling (www.theonlineclothingboutique.com) has further convinced me that there is a much larger number of models not following instructions than I thought. While I do have a video, which is a few posts behind this one, that explains how to enter the search, we also have online postings on sites like Model Mayhem and Craigslist. We're pretty specific about what we're looking for and even provide a list of instructions for how to prepare the submissions.

One of the most crucial requirements we're asking for is that contestants have LITTLE TO NO MODELING EXPERIENCE. More than half of the email submissions I've received so far are from models that have been modeling PROFESSIONALLY for years...there was even an applicant with 10+ years of experience. The model search asks for little to no experience because a huge portion of the package the winner will receive is one-on-one modeling coaching with me.

If we get an experienced model, that element is completely unnecessary. TIL Darling has expressed their interest in having that behind-the-scenes feel to the contest, which will be recorded as a short webisode series, to show people how a newbie's experience with going from little to no modeling experience to doing a professional shoot happens.

We also asked for 2 photos (1 headshot and 1 full body), both non professional snapshots. We've gotten professional images and people sending more than 2 images. Unfortunately, those submissions will be automatically deleted. As simple as that.

Perhaps this is more of a vent than an informative blog post, LOL, but I am BEGGING YOU, my dear, dear readers that are either currently modeling or thinking about getting into it: for the love of whatever God you believe in, follow those instructions and read everything thoroughly--more than once if necessary! You don't ever want to give anyone the chance to pass you up. If you're going to be a model, be the best and that means knowing how to deliver on everything, not just images.

Okay, I think I can breathe a bit easier now that I've let all this out. ;-)

Answering a Reader Question #193

B Wrote:

Hi, I was wondering if you would be able to tell me what Jet Magazine likes to see in a Jet Beauty. I would like to be a Jet Beauty and I would like to make my submission as competitive as possible. Can you please give me some pointers? Thank you, B

Hi, B! The great thing about being a JET Beauty of the Week (BOTW) is the fact that they don't have any specific physical requirements. My best advice for you is as follows:
  • Follow the submission instructions to a tee! The submission guidelines say to submit photos that are ready for publication or in other words, professional quality. That means don't send in snapshots taken with a regular point and shoot. They ask for 4 full body photos and 1 headshot...that's a total of 5. Do not send 4 and don't send 6.
  • Be sexy but tasteful. JET is NOT a men's magazine. That means choosing swimwear that is flattering to your figure and shows skin but not so much that you wouldn't show it to your parents. Avoid G-Strings and other skimpy styles, as well as poses that look more raunchy than modelesque.
  • Don't go overboard on the hair and makeup. Natural beauty that is "enhanced" by makeup and a nice hairstyle is always appreciated by Jet .
You'd be surprised by how simply following their submission guidelines will make you stand out from the rest. JET receives so many applications from BOTW hopefuls that it doesn't take much to make them disregard someone's submission if they don't provide exactly what the magazine asks for. JET likes to see a BOTW that exudes confidence, natural beauty, charisma, a great smile (if you want to smile in your photo) and a figure that is in great shape and proportional to a woman's height and weight. You don't have to be a size zero but you still want to submit pictures that show you take care of yourself, regardless of whether you're slenderer, curvier or in between. It also doesn't hurt to look at the many previous BOTWs to find images to use for reference and/or inspiration.

I hope that helps and good luck to you!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Did You Know...? #5

...that high fashion and editorial models, especially in other countries outside the USA, make very little money--even for walking in big shows? Because of the high taxes in places like France, the modeling agencies sometimes take as much as 70% in commission from each job a model books! Even more surprising (although I have been trying to tell people this for years), it that the print and catalog models make the most money! (BTW: This is obviously not the case for supermodels but here I'm solely referencing the average, everyday working model)

Don't believe me? Check out the last page of this forum topic, where actual working, agency represented, international fashion models talk about their experiences and lack of pay for their efforts:

How much can a model expect to get paid, on average?

T.I.L. Darling Model Search 2011 Contest - Now Accepting Applications!

As you'll recall, earlier this year I did some online catalog modeling for the store T.I.L. Darling (www.theonlineclothingboutique.com). Well, I've partnered up with the owner of the company to find the next face for its site...and it could be you! Check out the video below to find out what the requirements are and how to submit yourself. Sorry, at this time the model search is only open to female models local to the San Francisco Bay Area. Good luck!!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Latest Fashion Show: Bay Area Wedding Fair - San Francisco

I've been doing bridal fashion shows for about two years now and I was very excited for the Fall season, especially for the San Francisco venue, which is the largest and most popular show of the season. The Bay Area Wedding Fair took place last Sunday, September 11 at the Parc 55 Hotel in San Francisco and did not disappoint!

We had a smaller crew of models on hand for this show and I was happy that the accommodations for us were very spacious, compared to smaller venues that the shows are sometimes held at. The team of makeup artists and hair stylists were set up in the changing area for the female models so we had access to their skills throughout the duration of the show. The male models' changing rooms were on the opposite side of the room divider and luckily the stylists agreed to also double up as dressers so we had extra hands available for quick changes.

My call time was 9AM so I got to sleep in for a little bit, which was so lovely since I've been ripping and running for a few weeks straight now! The first thing I did after saying hi to everyone was to check my dresses and make sure the designers brought the right ones. At the last show the zipper on one of my bridal dresses broke and I had to scramble for a replacement in time to get in line to go on stage. I was very happy when I looked in my garment bag and saw that the zipper had been replaced so I didn't have to worry about skipping a dress. Little things like that make life SO much easier during shows!

I decided to get my hair taken care of before makeup since all of the makeup chairs were full. Luckily, one of my best friends and go-to-makeup artists, Sophia, got hired for the event and she promised to let me know when her chair was free. By the time my hair was done, we had to go go through the rehearsal on stage (all models are required to be present at the rehearsal, regardless of whether your makeup and/or hair was done or not). After receiving the lineup/order of models and doing a run through for both shows (there were two shows that day, one for each designer promoting their line), it was back to hair and makeup. Unfortunately, I had to get my hair redone differently since the style originally chosen (long beach waves, which ended up looking frizzy and disheveled) wasn't approved by the model coordinator. Thankfully, they did a much nicer looking up-do with curls and a sparkly headband. But because of the delay with my hair, by the time I got into Sophia's makeup chair, it was almost time to get dressed for the first show. Talk about nerve wreaking! But because I've been doing these shows for so long, I calmed my panic attack, got my foundation, blush and eye liner done, then did a quick change into my first bridal gown and had Sophia finish adding my false lashes and lip color just in time to line up.

The rest of the show was fantastic and went fairly smoothly, although there was one instance where no one was ready to go on stage for one of the scenes after the first model had already gone and even though I was supposed to be the last model according to the lineup sheet, I went out of order to buy time for the other models to change and get on stage. Luckily, that turned out fine and no one in the audience was the wiser!

Here are some flicks I got from the show. I'll be sure to add more as I receive them and hopefully will get some video footage as well:

Dang, I blinked! LOL. With such a large audience, it was bound to happen. Hey, I can't keep my eyes open for pictures the whole time! Walking with my groom, Sam Watson. We did a hilarious skit in the beginning where I walk on stage and sit in the chair that's on the right...when Sam gets on stage I act like I'm totally not interested in him.

Behind the scenes getting my makeup done by one of my BFFs, Sophia Musto. I often hire her for my shoots...she does great work and I knew my face was in good hands! I was also trying to not panic because I was supposed to be getting dressed for the first show!

Modeling a design that's currently for sale at My Day Wedding & Photo Studio, located in San Mateo, California,

Behind the scenes posing in one of my favorite dresses from the second show, which is by Blessed Brides, located in Concord, California.

This time I was paying attention to the right camera, LOL. I wish they had gotten a full body shot because the dress is super cute and short (but in a good way!).

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Quick Tip #20

Category: Agencies
For: Male & Female Models

When it comes to photos for open calls or submissions online/offline, make sure you've got digital snapshots...even if you're a professional model with an established portfolio. For newbies, snapshots are a must! If you have some pro images from test shoots, definitely bring those along as well but having the snapshots handy will really give you an advantage. Agencies can always tell a true model's potential by how she/he photographs without fancy makeup, hair and extensive photo retouching.

While most experienced models with portfolios can usually get away with that alone, don't count out the power of a good ole snapshot. Headshot and full body frontal are the bare minimum. Full body profiles of each side aren't mandatory but helpful. Remember, there's nothing wrong with wanting to cover all your bases in order to impress an agency!

Answering a Reader Question #192

Anonymous Wrote:

hi I was wondering if it's tough to be a model if you have hyperpigmentation. I used to have acne so i have some marks left over, they aren't scars. I'm almost 16 and they are fading slowly but surely. 

Hi, Anonymous! Hyperpigmentation is no fun--trust me, I have it as well. While it may make things a bit challenging, it won't make modeling an impossible thing to pursue. That's good that the marks are fading so at least you know that in time they'll eventually disappear altogether. Until then, there is obviously makeup/coverup that can take care of that issue. Since they aren't scars, you are definitely in the best case scenario.

Answering a Reader Question #191

Anonymous Wrote:

I have always wanted to be a model,unfortunely life got in the way. I am now 37 and would really like to do modeling. I have a 17 year old daughter who everyone thinks is my sister, I'm 5'7" about 135lbs and of course have started getting some minimal wrinkles under the eyes. Do you think it is realistic for me to persue a modeling career this late in my life? Thanks so much for your input!!! 

Hi, Anonymous! Based on your info, you should definitely look into modeling agencies that represent lifestyle/mature and/or commercial/print models. For more info, check out the link below to another blog post I've done on the subject:

Lifestyle & Mature Modeling

This type of modeling is very much in demand these days and you don't have to worry about trying to look younger than you are. Agencies want their lifestyle/mature/print models exactly as they are, so no pressure there!

Hope this helps and good luck to you!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Dania Denise Online Interview: News on Dead Trees

Being a journalist in addition to other titles I carry, I'm always out to support others pursuing similar paths I have. My friend, Kizuwanda Raines, is a talented, budding writer who started her own blog called "News on Dead Trees," where she provides readers with news items and in-depth interviews weekly. I was honored to be her first interview! Click the link below to check out the blog post/interview, where I talk about the ups and downs of modeling and advice to those wishing to pursue the modeling industry:

News on Dead Trees: Dania Denise on Modeling

If you're looking for a new blog to add to your list of subscriptions, I definitely recommend News on Dead Trees. I can't wait to see this blog grow by leaps and bounds in the near future...keep it up, Kiz! :-)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Answering a Reader Question #190

Anonymous Wrote:

hi dania thanks for answering my question:) the fat on my back is right behind my breast like right below my shoulder blade i hope i explained that well:). i'm frustrated because i dont have a big back as you read my band is pretty small 31.5 so im annoyed with my body it's being too stubborn. i have another question regarding my back I have a huge scar below my left shoulder blade due to childhood surgery. I figure clients wont want to use my back anyway because of that issue so should I be so obsessed with my small pockets of fat?

Hi, and you're welcome! As far as your scar, body makeup can take care of that, so no worries there. I think in your situation as long as you pursue modeling that doesn't involve focusing on that part of your body, I think you'll be fine. For example, regular commercial/print and fashion modeling (depending on the type of outfit) as opposed to swimwear and lingerie. I don't think you need to obsess so much about the small pockets of fat in the area you described on your back--as with most of us, we tend to be the only ones that notice such "flaws." which sometimes leads us to make a bigger issue of it than it probably actually is. :-)

So leave it be for now and continue on with your exercise and healthy eating regimen. Carry yourself as if you have no flaws and you will be perceived as flawless!