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!


Friday, October 28, 2011

Parents of Underage Models: What to Expect

In the United States, models 17 and younger are considered "underage." As a result, they must have the consent and presence of at least one parent/guardian when it comes to anything related to the modeling industry.

If you're a parent of an aspiring model, below are some helpful factors to keep in mind to help minimize the culture shock that tends to occur when it comes to having your child working in the modeling industry:

1) The Booker Will Be Your New BFF: At an agency, each model is typically assigned a "booker." This is your go-to-person who will contact you each time a client requests your child to attend a casting or go-see. If it's a season where there is a lot of demand for models with your child's "look," you can expect to receive an abundance of calls and emails.

2) Last Minute Notifications for Castings: Unfortunately, clients don't always plan well in advance when it come so to searching for models for their projects. Most agency bookers will end up contacting you about a potential casting or go-see for your child with as little as 24-48 hour's notice. This doesn't happen 100% of the time, but last-minute castings do come with the territory. So be prepared to make that judgment call if you find yourself in such a situation.

3) Dealing With a Model's Schedule: You'll have to maintain an organized schedule for all things related to your child's modeling career. This includes not just writing down the days, times and locations of when they actually book work but when they have castings and go-sees as well. Make sure to allot enough time in between your regular schedule to accommodate modeling-related appointments.

4) A Lot of Driving: Unless you avidly use public transportation, expect to rack up some mileage while taking your child to and from castings, shoots and shows. In some instances, you may even have to fly to where the job is (this expense may or may not be covered by the client hiring your child). Agencies do not cover travel expenses so be sure to budget for gas, plane tickets and other related expenses. The good news is that they are usually tax write-offs!

5) Buying Clothes: Models have a certain wardrobe that they typically wear to castings for clients so don't be surprised if you find that you'll have to spend a couple of bucks (not a small fortune, however) on getting the right kinds of clothes for your child to wear. In most cases, these are simple items, such as the right shoes (clean sneakers, nice heels, etc.), solid colored tops and clothing that do not have brand names, logos or other distracting patterns. Think of it as a model's "uniform." Parents of underage female fashion models will want to invest in dark, skinny jeans, solid colored heels (4 inches) and solid colored, form fitting tank tops and t-shirts. Underage male fashion models can get away with regular solid colored t-shirts, shorts, jeans and clean shoes (no scuffs). Keep it simple and shop at places like Target and Wal-Mart for basic clothing needs. There's no need to buy expensive, brand name stuff, nor is that a requirement.

6) New Tax Documents: Models are independent contractors, including child models, so parents can expect to receive W-9 and 1099 forms when their child begins making income through their modeling career. W-9s are usually filled out by the parent when their child first gets signed to an agency and the 1099 forms will follow when tax season comes around. If your child earned any money through modeling, you will receive this form from the agency. Parents freelancing their services may or may not get a W-9 or 1099 form. From my research, clients have told me they do not require models/parents to fill out such forms unless they have paid them $600 or more in one year (this is for modeling services performed in the state of California). It is vital that parents include their child's tax information and report that income to avoid penalties.

7) Long Hours On-Set: Because a parent/guardian must be with their child on all things dealing with modeling, this oftentimes means being in a studio, on location or at some other venue from beginning to end. Shoots can last anywhere from 2-8 hours so parents will want to learn how to occupy their time while their child is busy working. In some cases, the agency may provide a chaperone to represent your child in the event that you are not available.

8) Portfolios & Comp Cards: These are the most important marketing tools a model has. Parents will more than likely end up carrying about a small stack of their child's comp cards out of habit in case a client requests you to leave it behind after attending a casting or go-see. Agencies send out tons of comp cards to potential clients but parents also receive a few to cover all the bases. It's all about exposure and networking. Agencies typically have their own printing company put together the comp cards so it won't have to be your responsibility. Having a hard copy portfolio, also known as a model's "book" is another vital tool to keep with you at all times. Once your child has photos and tearsheets to show off, you'll have to purchase a portfolio case to keep them in. Some agencies sell their own customized portfolio cases with the agency name on it but you are not required to use it. Plain, affordable portfolio cases can be purchased at arts and crafts stores, such as Michael's and Aaron Bros. for under $25. Never spend a fortune on a fancy portfolio case.

9) Tears & Hurt Feelings: Being rejected for a modeling assignment is never easy, especially on younger models. Depending on how your child handles rejection and/or criticism, you may have to provide a shoulder to cry on and/or helpful words of advice and encouragement in case things don't turn out well.

10)  Lots of Picture Taking: Parents of baby models in particular will find this a huge part of their child's modeling career. Because babies grow so fast, it is the parents' responsibility to not only keep their agent updated of the latest sizes but have up-to-date photos as well. In general agencies specializing in baby/toddler/child models will give you all the information and guidelines necessary to help you stay on top of this task. Failing to keep your baby's photos and stats updated could lead to losing out on potential modeling assignments and/or having your agent submit your child for a gig they do not meet the size requirements for, which is definitely not a good thing.

11) A Memorable Experience: Regardless of whether your child only books local gigs or ends up doing work on a national/international scale, being immersed in the modeling industry from a parent's point of view is pretty cool. In addition to having bragging rights (keep this to a minimum please LOL), parents are also in on the action and have a firsthand look into how a photoshoot, runway show and other modeling projects are created from start to finish. Whether your child ends up making this a serious career or ends up moving on to something else later on, you'll undoubtedly have some great experiences together and fond memories to look back on.

Answering a Reader Question #214

KWSM Wrote:

Hi Dania. I dont know where i should post the question so i commented it here.

I would like to know that if I would want to be a model,is better to enroll in a modeling agency or participate in a modelling competition? My height is about 173 and a weight of 54.Does it meet the minimum requirement to become a model?

And one more,does modeling agency seeking international model,i meant model from other country? agency like in New York?



Hi, Kathleen! Not a problem...you can post your questions/comments on any of my blog posts and I'll get an email alert so either way, I'll get your message. :-)

Your height and weight are good for fashion modeling so no worries there. 173 cm is the minimum height so you just make the cut. Always go for signing with a modeling agency over entering a modeling competition. Agencies are the direct path to getting into the industry and involves no middleman. Competitions are fun but there tends to be many more people to compete against, which lowers your odds of winning dramatically. You'll get much more effective and timely results by submitting your photos to agencies and attending open casting calls.

There are agencies that use models who are from other countries. To have a shot at modeling internationally, it is important to first get signed to a modeling agency in your home country that has experience with placing models with agencies in other countries. This is where the "mother agency" situation comes into play.

So get your pictures out there to those agencies and find out if they are interested in sending you for assignments internationally. This should be your priority over entering modeling competitions. I wish you the best of luck!!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Answering a Reader Question #213

Courtney Wrote:

I'm 6'2 and about 130 lbs. I'm very thin. I'm very interested in high fashion and runway modeling. Alot of people have told me I should model since a very young age because of my look and especially my height. I never really pursued it because despite what people said I was insecure about being so tall, especially in high school. Now I love my height and am ready to pursue modeling, the only problem is I'm now 23. I still think I look young, and I feel like my height and weight requirements are okay. I'm just worried about my age! Please if you could give me some helpful advice, and if my age isn't an issue could you recommend some agencies that would be a good match for me? I don't know what to do! 

Hi, Courtney! So first I want to apologize because I could not tell from your question/comment whether you are a male or female (I know both men and women named Courtney and there are male models I know of who are that height and weight). Since I don't know that info, I will answer your question for both genders:

If you are a female: Unfortunately, there is such a thing as being too tall for fashion/runway/editorial. Agencies list their cut off for female models at 6'0". Are there some exceptions to the rule? Yes, but for you being 6'2", that is too much of a stretch. Just as the industry complains that having a shorter model among taller models doesn't look visually appealing, they believe the same about having a female model that is taller than their tallest models. You're definitely still welcome to submit yourself to agencies (in fact, I would encourage it because to put yourself out there is the only way to find out if you've got a shot) but be prepared to hear that you're too tall. As far as your age, 23 isn't too bad and is still definitely doable. Many agencies list the maximum age for fashion models around 21 or 22 so being off by one or two years probably wouldn't hurt you, especially if you do what many models do, which is fudge your age. :-)

If you are a male: 23 isn't too old for male models and your height is good, too. The cut off for male fashion/runway/editorial models is typically 6'2" for agencies so you are right at the maximum height. Male runway models are able to lead longer careers than female runway/fashion models because they tend to age better physically. So in your case, you more than likely don't have much to worry about.

In order for me to help you find legit agencies to submit to, I would need to know your city/state of residence. The rule of thumb is to submit to agencies that are no farther than a 2 hour's drive from where you live, unless you're willing to relocate to another market. If you'd like help finding agencies close to you, shoot me an email: daniadenise@gmail.com.

Answering a Reader Question #212

Anonymous Wrote:

Hi Dania! I wanted to know more about modeling over-seas. I'm in the process of signing a contract with a mother agency in Thailand and I would love to know how it is to work and live as a model in a foreign country!

Thank you! 

Hi, Anonymous! Congrats on your offer to work in Thailand...how exciting! I've never had the opportunity to model overseas so I don't have any personal experiences/advice to give you but below are some tips to consider from fellow models I know who have worked and modeled in other countries:
  • Pack Wisely: Stick to bringing your must-have toiletries, makeup products, skin care items and other personal things for grooming. This is especially important since Thailand may not carry the exact products in their stores that you normally would go out and purchase regularly. Do not over pack! The only thing aside from toiletries that you should bring include plenty of extra underwear (this is the best solution in case you're not able to do laundry often), shoes (for modeling related work as well as everyday stuff...i.e. sneakers, sandals, etc.) and clothes that are appropriate for the season(s) you'll be staying there as well as what is needed for casting calls. Make sure to research what the weather will be like by the time you arrive in Thailand, which will help you with choosing the right outfits. In the worst case scenario, you can always buy clothes once you get to Thailand. In this case, less is definitely more.
  •  Learn the Culture: The more you know about Thailand's people, culture, customs and society, the more comfortable you'll find transitioning into living and working there, as well as decrease your chances of having an awkward/embarrassing moment. The Thai people are very friendly and hospitable.  It's helpful to make an attempt to learn basic phrases and things in their language if possible...nothing flatters people in another country more than knowing you care enough to learn their language.
  • Depending on the contract terms, you may end up living with other models. To save money, most models live together in tight quarters, known as "model dorms" or "model housing." I've had models tell me that Asia is the only market currently that covers the cost of a model's travel and living expenses upon their arrival--however, you MUST pay back this amount through the money you receive from your modeling assignments. The actual numbers for the agency commission vary but for example, in China, the mother agency takes 10% and the Chinese agency will take 40% from each booking, so a model would only actually make 50% of the total amount. And that is the money he/she will have to use towards paying back all of their expenses, although they are given some "pocket money" for the week to cover things such as groceries, transportation and basic needs. In China the models are paid in Chinese currency...not sure about Thailand but don't be surprised if you aren't given American money as payment. So you may need to learn how to do proper conversion from the American dollar to the Thai Baht.
  • Expect to attend a lot of castings and go-sees. This will be the bulk of the work you'll be doing in addition to obviously doing shoots, shows and other related work...after all, you can't get booked for anything if you don't attend a casting/go-see. You will be responsible for getting to and from your castings with clients. You may or may not be traveling with other models or someone else from the agency. You'll definitely want to learn to become familiar with the public transportation and routes/directions to better navigate the area you'll be living and working in.
You'll definitely have an experience worth remembering for years to come. It can be intimidating to be in a completely different country but with time you'll get used to your surroundings and interacting with the people. Once you reach that comfort level, you'll really be able to enjoy yourself and embrace the new culture and everything it has to offer. I hope that helps and I wish you the best of luck!!!

Answering a Reader Question #211

Georgia W. Wrote:

hi i am 12 and i want to start a small modeling career but i have braces and my teeth agent as bad as they could be but i do have a gap between my front teeth. so what are my chances and are there any modeling agencies that specialize in children/teenagers?

PLEASE reply. 

Hi, Georgia! At your age, having braces actually wouldn't count against you too much since there are clients that need girls your age with that type of look. If you do child/teen modeling, they'll be more welcoming to you having braces, compared to if you were trying to get into fashion modeling (which you're still too young for right now anyway). So to answer your question, I think you would still have a fair shot at modeling while you have your braces...the decision ultimately is up to the agencies you submit yourself to, as well as how long you have until your braces will be removed.

That being said, there are modeling agencies that have child/teen divisions. It is best to look for agencies online in your city/state and check out their official websites, which will say exactly what kind of models they represent and what age groups. Hope that helps and good luck!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Answering a Reader Question #210

Mrs. DMZP Wrote:

Hi Dania,

I wonder about fashion height requirements. I thought 5'7 was the minimum? I am 5'7 and I was told that I am too short for runway by some and that I barely make it by others. Can you give me a definite answer? 

Hi, Mrs. DMZP! Okay, so to officially answer your question once and for all, 5'8" is the minimum posted on agency websites that represent fashion, runway and editorial models. There are only two exceptions to this:

1) If a model is young, typically between the ages 14-16. Some fashion agencies allow models in this age range to be 5'7" (or sometimes even 5'6" in some markets) because they know there is still time for them to grow taller.

2) If a model has an amazing look that the agency knows will market well and result in getting a lot of work. This is definitely a case-by-case basis.

While 5'7" is one inch shy of the minimum requirement for fashion modeling, it is the ideal height for commercial/print. If you still want to get into modeling and have a sure shot, you'll definitely want to consider agencies with a commercial/print division.

Answering a Reader Question #209

Anonymous Wrote:

I am nearly five ten and have the measurements for a model. The only thing is that I don't have a slight frame (if that makes sense) will this cause problems if I try to pursue a career in modelling? 

Hi, Anonymous! If you have the measurements for a model (I'm assuming you're referring to the standard of 34-24-34?), that should mean you have the slight frame, unless you're a bit more curvaceous? For runway in particular, the industry prefers its models to have little to no curves or a slim build in most cases. Since you didn't describe what your body type actually is (curvy, athletic, busty, muscular, etc.), I can't say for sure whether that would make it difficult for you to pursue modeling but you definitely have the height. Sorry I couldn't be of more help but if you want to share additional info to give me a better idea of your situation, you can post another question in the form of a comment on this post or email me at daniadenise@gmail.com

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Answering a Reader Question #208

Brooklyn Wrote:

I'm Brooklynn

I have always wanted to model specially for Victoria secret. I'm 18 years old at 5'5" 125lb with a curvy body. I'm not signed with any agency but is there anything that could help me towards becoming a Victoria secret model? 

Hi, Brooklyn! Unfortunately, you aren't tall enough to be a Victoria's Secret model. Your weight and body type are right but you need to be fashion height in order to be considered (5'8" - 6'0") and you would have to be an agency represented model by Elite or Ford in New York (or another top fashion modeling agency in that market). At your age you more than likely won't get taller so sadly, VS probably won't be possible for you. However, you are the ideal height for commercial/print modeling. I would strongly recommend looking into agencies with commercial/print modeling divisions and submitting yourself.

Answering a Reader Question #207

Anonymous Wrote:

I an interested in becoming a fit model. My measurements are 33-23-32 5'5 118pds. I was wondering if I'm too small for this type of modeling? 

Hi, Anonymous! Your measurements are small but that doesn't necessarily mean you couldn't be considered for fit modeling. The catch with this type of modeling is that you need to find clothing companies that need models with your statistics. When clothing companies post castings for fit models, they'll list the specific sizes and measurements they are looking for. So you'll have to actively search for these kinds of castings and see if you are what they want. You'll want to focus on companies that make their clothes in sizes XS-SM and/or Petite/Junior. Fit models must be within a half inch of the measurements they want so keep that mind. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Funny Dania Denise Tearsheet Moment

As I like to say, tearsheets are better than money for models because they are direct proof that a model has been published, regardless of where it is. Imagine my surprise when I received a post on my Facebook Wall from a girlfriend of mine, stating that I was in her college textbook! LOL. She said soon as she opened to that page in class, she started freaking out. I can only imagine how crazy her classmates must have thought she was, claiming to know one of the people in the book! Hahahahaha.

I had no idea what image it could have been, so I asked her to take a pic and post it on my Wall, which she did. It happened to be a shot from a stock shoot I did years ago for a local photographer who sells her images on the website SnappyStock.com. Her stock photos sell very well because the very same image also appeared in an online section of the PG&E website (that photo is the smaller one associated with this post in the upper right corner). I tell ya, when it comes to doing stock photography modeling, you really have no idea where your picture will end up!

Here's the flick my friend, Liz, shot (I gotta get the name of that textbook so I can rip the page out and add it to my portfolio, LOL):

Wow, I've Answered 200+ Reader Questions!!!

I just had to reflect quickly on the fact that in the life of my blog, I've answered over 200 questions from my beloved readers! That's quite an accomplishment! I remember just a year or so ago, I was working with a videographer friend of mine and he looked up my blog while we were working. At the time I think the "Answering a Reader Question Series" was in the mid 70s and he said that he was impressed because that was a lot of questions. Man, what would he say now?! :-)

I must admit, at first I was worried about having so many Reader Question posts on my blog. I didn't want people to think the entire blog was devoted to Q&A but then I realized that the answers shared in those posts were still informing and helping people interested in pursuing a career in the modeling industry. However, I do want to state that I plan on continuing to include traditional blog posts but clearly people have tons of questions to ask so from time to time, most of my posts may consist of the "Answering a Reader Question Series." But since I've yet to receive any complaints, I guess I'm doing okay. ;-)

Don't forget, folks, there's also the "Answering a Reader Question Video Reply" option for those of you that want to have your questions addressed by me in video format.

Thanks again for the questions and trusting me to be your go-to-gal for the answers!!! Keep 'em comin'!

Answering a Reader Question #206

Jessika Wrote:

Hello.. My name is Jessika, I'm from Florida and I have always dreamed of being a Victoria Secret Model. I'm going to be 21 in four months and I'm like inbetween 5'8 and 5'9. I have been in a size 00, 0, & 1 since like 9th grade. Lol. To my understanding, I have to try to get signed with Elite or Ford modeling company? I tried John Robert Powers or Robert John Powers a few years ago and they wanted me. They were going to pay for me. That's what is supposed to happen, correct? I didn't do it because they wouldn't pay for my cousin, but now I know that that was a huge mistake. Or is JRP not a well enough known agency? Everyone that I work with keeps telling me that I need to be a VS Model. What else could I do to possibly even get considered for a casting?

Hi, Jessika! Thank you for asking a question that isn't already answered in the Victoria's Secret post itself! LOL. You are correct, to have the best shot at being a VS model, you'd have to be signed to either Ford or Elite in New York OR another top fashion agency in the NYC area. It is important that you understand that New York is where VS does its business with recruiting models--not just any Ford or Elite location qualifies.

The first thing to know is that JRP is NOT a modeling agency--they are a modeling school. Whether they want to cover your training fees or charge you, they are not an agency and cannot guarantee that you will get signed to an actual one or be successful. Period. Their success stories are strictly on a case-by-case basis and are not the typical results a person who attends their school experiences. So you did not make a mistake in that respect. Companies like Victoria's Secret do NOT deal with companies like JRP.

The process for being considered as a VS model is pretty much set in stone for those that are not already known models in the industry. You'll have to visit the Elite and Ford agency websites and follow their instructions for submitting your photos and info or travel there to attend an open casting call in the hopes of getting signed to either one. As far as my research shows, only by doing that and successfully getting agency representation in the NYC market, can you have a shot at being submitted by your agency for any VS castings.

Answering a Reader Question #205

Self Conscious Wrote:

Hi Dania,

Lately I have been being picky about my appearance. I am fine wardrobe wise, but self appearance is tough and being a model it also doesn't help especially when I have photoshoots and i don't like my face. As I get older and develop it seems to me i feel less and less prettier. I am jealous of my friend because what i believe is my best feature gets complimented on by me (mostly my eyes) but she get all the ones i worry about like my hair and she doesn't have acne. I'm the only one in my group that has already started developing so it's awkward when I have acne and they have baby soft skin. As you can see I am very self conscious, is there a way that I can feel pretty or beautiful while just looking in myself in the mirror or when I see my reflection?
~Self Conscious~ 

Hi, Self Conscious, thank you so much for sharing such a personal question/situation. That takes a lot of courage to do. The ongoing issue of picking apart one's physical appearance is a constant struggle that happens to the best of us--even supermodels state often that they feel "ugly." Whether you sympathize with them or think they're crazy, they're being honest. We are our own worst enemies and I think the challenge you'll have to face is to get out of your own way.

By that, I mean you'll have to work very hard and discipline yourself to avoid becoming your own worst critic. It's not something that happens overnight--it takes time to change the way you think and perceive yourself but if you're the type of person who can be dedicated to such a concept, you'll be okay.

Each day make it a concentrated effort to look in the mirror and state out loud one positive thing you like about yourself instead of focusing on what you don't like. Don't even utter anything negative. Don't do it! It doesn't even have to be physical...it can also include positive things about your personality. Make this a daily ritual and eventually you will start to see and believe the things you're saying. Positive thinking leads to positive energy and positive results. I don't know your age but since you mentioned your friends have yet to develop, I would guess you're still fairly young. You've got plenty of time before you really have to worry about looking "old." In addition to practicing positive thinking, force yourself to stop comparing yourself to your friends. Dedicating your time and energy towards such thoughts does nothing to improve your opinion of yourself. Chances are, you're probably unnecessarily stressing yourself out over the subject and I'm sure you know that high stress levels have a direct impact on your complexion. I'm pretty sure if you lower those stress and anxiety levels you have about your looks, it will reduce future acne breakouts or other skin care issues.

If it helps, set aside one day a week or every other week (probably on a weekend) to pamper yourself and do something that makes you feel good. You said you don't like your hair, compared to your friend. Why not put together a homemade hair treatment to recondition and restore shine and luster to your tresses? Want to improve your skin? Why not try a face mask formulated for acne prone skin to revitalize your complexion? These are all things that will make any woman like what they see in the mirror afterwards.

At the end of the day, only YOU are recognizing and placing emphasis on things that I guarantee you no one else notices--at least not as seriously as you do. Put that in perspective and realize that you are beautiful in a way only YOU can be. Unless you have a twin, there is no one else that looks like you and that fact in and of itself is something to appreciate. We all have flaws but as I always like to say, if you carry yourself as if you have no flaws, you will appear "flawless" to others. I hope that helps but feel free to email me at daniadenise@gmail.com if you need someone to talk to further about changing your mindset to a more positive one.

I know you'll be just fine. :-)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Answering a Reader Question #204

Anonymous Wrote:

Hi Dania! I recently opened a profile on modelmayhem.com and I've been getting offers from photographers to shoot. How can I tell which ones are legitimate and which ones might be a bit sketchy? 

Hi, Anonymous! Great question, thanks for asking it!

When dealing with photographers on Model Mayhem, commonly known as MM, the following are factors that you should consider to try and see who is for real and who is not (being a member of MM myself, I also follow these same guidelines):

  • Strength of Their Portfolio: Nothing shows a photographer's talents like the images displayed in their portfolio. Check out their MM portfolio to see what kinds of models they shoot, the quality of the images and their style. It's pretty easy to tell the difference between a photographer with a great "eye" and one whose style is amateurish. It also helps if they have photos that reflect the type of modeling shots you want in your portfolio. For example, if you need swimwear shots, choose a photographer with swimwear models in his/her portfolio, not someone who only has bridal images.
  • Level of Experience: Check what the photographer lists his/her level of experience as on their MM profile. There are new photographers who have amazing work in their portfolios, so don't count out someone just because they haven't been professionally shooting for a long time. However, you may have a different experience shooting with someone that's just starting out, compared to a pro that's been doing it for years.
  •  Read Their MM Profile Description: Before I shoot with a photographer from MM, I always read their "About Me" on their profile. You can tell a lot about a person based on what he/she writes. See what vibes you get based on how they describe themselves and their work. This is also the area where they'll list their shooting style, rates, policies and other information dealing with how they work with models. It is very important to know this info beforehand. If you read something you don't like, disagree with or get a bad feeling, then move on to someone else. Additionally, their profile will sometimes state the publications they've worked with or other credits. This is a great way to know whether that photographer has had work published locally, nationally or even internationally. It helps if they have samples of their work from those publications in their portfolio for you to look at.
  • Ask for References: Oftentimes MM photographers will put a list of the models they have worked with, as well as those models' MM profile #s. If they have such info on their profile, shoot the models a message and ask what their experience was working with that photog, as well as if she/he would recommend that you work with that person. If they don't have names listed, then message the photographer and ask for model references. No two photographers are the same, however--there may be some that will gladly give you this info, while others may be nasty about it and give you an attitude. Obviously stay away from the latter and don't take it personally. I find that any photographer who gets bent out of shape about a professional request like references probably should be avoided anyway.
In addition to these guidelines, it is vital that you do an in-person meeting at a public place during the day with any photographer you're interested in working with. This will really give you a sense of who you would be dealing with. It's also the time to discuss concepts for the shoot, set up a date and time and talk about anything else, should you both decide that you want to work together.

Answering a Reader Question #203

Lucp92 Wrote:

Hi I'm a little concerned about my contract I just signed and I almost feel like it's not a legit company. But like any contract its hard to get out of but I want to get out of it! What should I do? Please help  

Hi, Lucp92. I'm so sorry that you have to deal with such a situation, yikes! What is it about your contract that makes you feel like they aren't legit? Knowing that info will help me give you more accurate advice about how to handle this. If you want, you can email me more details about your contract at: daniadenise@gmail.com. Since I don't know the specifics, below is a general answer:

Any contract has what is known as an "Exit Clause," which is a specific part of the contract that explains how to terminate it. Go through your contract page by page (hopefully it isn't super long) and look for this clause. If no such clause is there, then look for a phrase/sentence that says something along the lines of, "Either party can choose to terminate this contract/business relationship..." Usually that phrase will contain some info about how to get out of the contract.

The contract you have is going to be the key to figuring out how to terminate it. In most cases (not all), all it should take is writing a letter stating that effective immediately you are terminating your contract with X company. Make sure to put the date that you are writing the letter as the "effective date" so that they know you want out right then and there. It is important to mail the termination letter traditionally and not through email. To make sure it gets there and someone has received it, send the letter "certified," which means that whoever gets the letter will have to sign for it. You'll receive a copy of the signed certification. This is to have solid proof in case they try to lie and say they never got the letter.

I hope that helps and good luck with dealing with that situation. In the worst case scenario, if you are still having trouble, I would recommend seeking legal counsel and having an attorney who is experienced with modeling/entertainment contracts review yours to see what your options are.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Answering a Reader Question #202

3strandedcord Wrote:

how much should i charge if im going for a TVC outside the country? 

Hi, 3strandedcord! Unfortunately, since I don't know any details about the nature of the project you're asking about, I can't really give you any specific info. Also, I'm not familiar with the term TVC...could it possibly mean Television Commercial?

If the client that wants to hire you is asking you to provide your own rate and has not established what they are willing to pay, the most important thing to secure from them is to have your transportation and accommodation/housing expenses covered. That is the first place to start. You shouldn't have to come out of pocket for that, especially if they want to hire you to work outside of the country. Start there and then see what they say. In general, such a project should be charged a flat, daily rate. If you would like more assistance with this and have details you can give me to work with, email me at: daniadenise@gmail.com and I'll see what I can do to help you.

Good luck!

Answering a Reader Question #201

Maya Wrote:

Hi Dania! I'm Maya, 16 years old and I'm only 170 cm high.My measurements are: bust 79cm,waist 57cm,hips 86cm, and my weight is 47kg.I want to apply to International Scouting Office, but I'm most concerned about my height, and also are my measurements good for modeling? Do I have any chance competing with all those tall models? :) 

Hi, Maya! At your current height you are considered "short" for fashion modeling. Chances are the International Scouting Office probably would pass on you for fashion/runway/editorial modeling since nearly all of their female models currently on their site are 176 cm or taller. However, you should find out if they also represent commercial/print models, which you are the ideal height for. As far as your measurements, you're super small, which is always a plus for the industry so no worries there.

If you can manage to find a local agency that has a commercial/print modeling division, you would have a better shot at finding work in that field instead of competing against much taller models. Unless you have an exceptional look, there could be the slim possibility that a fashion agency would be interested in representing you. I did see on the International Scouting Office website that they have an open casting call coming up on October 22--you should attend just to get feedback and see what they say. Despite your shorter height, it couldn't hurt to go in and see what happens. Hearing feedback from an agency directly is very helpful, whether it's positive or negative.

I hope that helps and good luck to you!!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Answering a Reader Question #200

Anonymous Wrote:

Hi Dania,

My name is Courtney and i'm 16 and i've wanted to be a model since I was 14. I live in South Florida but I kinda wanted to ask you two main questions. The first one is will I be able to get signed with top agencies such as Ford and Elite with braces. I get my braces off hopefully sometime next year but I want to start modeling now. The second one is would I be able to be successful in modeling with KP (A skin condition caused by your body producing too much keratin and clogging follicles which then hardens to form small pin sized bumps). Sorry for the long post lol I just want this so much and I want to do as much research as possible because I feel that if I put the effort into studying this industry like I study in school I can be successful.

Hi, Courtney, and thanks for the questions! There is a slim chance that you could get signed to a top agency with braces. I say "slim" because of the fact that there is not a huge demand for models with braces. Are there modeling gigs that want girls with braces? Of course. Is there enough of this work to go around for agencies to sign more girls with braces? No. However, if you've got a great look then an agency will give you a shot and see what happens. However, the fact that you'll be getting your braces off next year could make an agency want to hold off on signing you until the braces are removed. This is mainly a business call simply because it would be a big inconvenience for an agency to represent you now and have your headshot, portfolio, comp card and other marketing materials with you showing your braces, and then have to completely redo everything next year when you get your braces off.

There is a chance that an agency wouldn't mind having you on their roster right now and just deal with the change in photos next year but in general, this is a situation most agencies will want to avoid. For now, I would suggest attending open calls at local modeling agencies with your braces and seeing what feedback you receive from each one. If you end up getting signed, then great! But if not, don't be discouraged and don't be too surprised if they ask you to come back next year after your braces are off. I know you're eager to get started now but in the worst case scenario you'll have to wait a bit longer. So check out the agencies now, see what they have to say and then take things from there.

As far as your skin condition, if the KP doesn't cause any obvious discoloration on your skin, like very bright, red spots/bumps, then it shouldn't be an issue since it wouldn't photograph badly. But if there is skin discoloration, it may be something you'll want to treat and correct as much as possible before submitting yourself to agencies.

Good luck!!!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Why Modeling Pay Rates Aren't Black & White

I'm pretty sure this won't be the last time I speak about this topic but lately I've seen a lot of online questions (not through this blog but elsewhere on the Internet) about how much money models can make. Some of the posters want to know the exact figures and other tedious information that simply isn't that easy to provide.

This isn't going to be the answer most people want to hear but literally the pay rates completely vary from project to project. The final pay rate is influenced by various factors, including but not limited to:
  • The client (is it a local company or a nationally recognized one?)
  • Nature of the project (is it a photoshoot, a fashion show, an editorial, a print ad?)
  • Duration (how long is the model need for...2-4 hours? An entire day? Multiple days?)
  • The budget (not all clients and companies have big bucks to spend in this area)
  • Level of the model's experience (this is especially the case for freelance models) 
  • Location (major markets, such as Los Angeles and New York, compared to smaller, lesser known cities that aren't know for its modeling market)
Even signed models aren't guaranteed to make a black and white, specific pay rate all the time. No two shoots, fashion shows or other modeling related projects are exactly the same. Therefore, neither are the pay rates. Agencies negotiate with clients to secure the highest paid gigs for its models, while freelance models handle the negotiations themselves. In either case, if the pay rate has already been set at the time of the casting then obviously a model will know exactly what he/she will be making for that particular assignment.

Some freelance models can make $100/hour on a shoot or more, while other models may only be able to pull in $25 - $50/hour. That mainly depends on their level of experience and the strength of their portfolio. Agencies working with high caliber clients can easily command a great pay rate for its models, such as a $500-$800 per day or more.

Working for a national client/brand, such as Verizon for example, could easily mean a check with four figures. See how all over the place these pay rates are? Even being located in major market like New York or Los Angeles may not always promise better pay. The upside to being in the middle of the action location-wise is that there is a larger amount of modeling work being offered, which means the higher a model's chances are of submitting and booking fairly consistent work.

My answer from now on to the question: how much can a model expect to be paid? The more work you book, the more money you'll make. Period.

Wanna Be a Justice Model?

When it comes to teen (or is it tween?) clothing, Justice is one of the most popular brands out there today. I often see questions online from young girls, asking how they can become a model for this company. So I decided to do some quick research and here is what I was able to find:

On the Justice website, under the FAQ section, this is exactly what they say:


How can I become a Justice or Brothers model?

Justice and Brothers do not currently have their own models. Depending on the photography requirements, we usually use modeling and talent agencies that represent young people. Justice and Brothers do not offer agency referrals. You may want to contact such an agency in your local area to see what is involved in becoming a model.

In other words, any teen girl's best chances of becoming an actual Justice model is to get signed to a modeling agency that currently has Justice as one of its clients. Why? Because it shows that the agency has already provided Justice with models in the past, which increases the odds that the company will turn to them again for future model castings. Additionally, it also shows that the agency works with quality, high end companies and brands.

They don't state the names of the agencies they use, nor do they refer aspiring models to them. Remember, folks, Justice is a company and is all about putting out their products and making a profit. They don't have the knowledge, resources, time or interest in helping people start their modeling careers--it's simply not their job.

However, through their website I did see that Justice's locations (their website headquarters and customer relations department) is based out of Ohio. So there could be a chance that modeling agencies in the Ohio area are the first ones that Justice turns to. I don't know that for sure but it's just a hunch, since most retailers will use local agencies/models since it's convenient.

If you happen to live in Ohio, it's worth checking out the agencies locally to see if any of them have worked with Justice before.

Answering a Reader Question #199

Danielle Wrote:

Is it normal (or better) for women to submit pictures wearing just a bikini? The example pictures, at least on Ford's website, show the model fully clothed. I don't at all mind submitting pictures in a bikini, but I am just curious as to whether it is more beneficial to do so or not? 

Hi, Danielle! It isn't necessarily "better" to take your snapshots wearing a swimsuit instead of regular clothes--what matters most is that whatever you're wearing is form fitting enough so that the agency can see your body type and shape. Wearing an age appropriate bikini is normal for most models submitting their pictures since it really shows the shape, figure and health of a model's skin, however. But in most cases it is not mandatory to do so.

When preparing your snapshots to submit to agencies, make sure to note whether the agency websites says it wants you to wear swimwear or regular clothing in the pictures. If they don't state their preference, then wear what you feel most comfortable with. You can't go wrong with either.

Answering a Reader Question #198

Anonymous Wrote:

Hey Dania, I'm Nicole and I've wanted to be a model since I was about seven (I'm 13 now) but I wanted to know if it will help to start trying to look for modeling agencies now or wait until I'm about fifteen. I have no experience at all and I live in Michigan, do you know of any good places for me look in to? Also I know that this is kind of random but were you in cheer leading? I am but I don't know if it will help (not with a career but keeping my figure). My friends keep saying that I have an amazing hour glass figure but I don't know if that's what modeling agencies are looking for. Plus my parents are really overprotective (it took me three months to convince them to let me wear a bikini!!!), is there any way I can convince them that modeling is not as bad as they think it is before I have to move out from going crazy living with them?
Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!

Hey there, Anonymous! Alrighty, let's break down your questions into separate paragraphs for easier reading:

Getting modeling experience now by signing with an agency is a great way to start early and get some experience (and money!) under your belt. Even though you're still young, you qualify for teen modeling so it'll be best to look for agencies that have a teen division. Agencies will train new/inexperienced models so don't worry about not having any previous modeling experience. That being said, below are three agencies I was able to find in your area (FYI: Michigan isn't known for having a strong modeling market). Check out the agency websites thoroughly for all the information you need in regards to submitting your photos and information:

Productions Plus

Affiliated Group


The I Group Model and Talent Management

I was never in cheer leading but staying physically fit through that sport is a plus. Ideal runway/fashion models are naturally thin with little to no curves so keep that in mind. If you end up being on the more athletic/muscular/toned side, there is always sports and fitness modeling, so you'd have options to choose from, depending on how your body type develops as you get older.

When it comes to dealing with your parents, continue to do your research into the modeling industry so that by the time you're ready to have your "model talk" with them, you'll have enough knowledge to answer their most basic questions. That will demonstrate to them how serious you are about pursuing this. Show them pictures of teen models and commercial/print models, which is the type of modeling you'd be doing at your age, should you end up finding an agency. Let your parents know that underage models are not allowed to do anything dealing with nudity, sexual situations or adult themes, such as promoting cigarettes or alcoholic brands. That should settle their minds somewhat as far as the nature of what you'd be doing.

If you happen to be of fashion height (5'8"- 6'0") then the nature of the types of modeling jobs you'd get would be a bit more "grown up" than doing teen modeling and commercial/print gigs, such as runway shows, editorial shoots, etc. But until you actually get signed, don't worry about crossing that bridge until it comes. Another thing to tell your parents is the fact that you're underage means that you would need one parent/guardian with you at all times when it comes to castings, go-sees, fittings, shoots, shows, etc. so it they will be able to be there every step of the way to observe what's going on.

I don't know if it would help but your parents can also contact me via email: daniadenise@gmail.com if they have any questions and would like to hear about the industry from the point of view of someone that has been doing modeling since the age of 15.

Good luck to you!