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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Friday, November 25, 2011

Reality Check: Getting a Modeling Agent Doesn't Guarantee Success

I wanted to speak on this topic because I realize that many model hopefuls believe that once they get a contract, everything is smooth sailing from there and that they'll instantly begin booking work. This post is not meant to discourage anyone--it is meant to inform, educate and prepare newbies for what to expect when it comes to signing with a modeling agency. If you know the reality beforehand this will reduce the culture shock and make going through this experience much easier to handle.

It is vital to know that NO modeling agency can guarantee or promise the models it represents that they will book work or become a supermodel. In fact it is illegal for agencies in the USA (not sure about other countries) to tell models that they can get them work and that they'll be super successful by signing with them. It's just not possible to promise that to anybody.

When you sign with an agency, yes, you're way ahead of the game and your chances of pursuing a modeling career increase dramatically. This is because you have professionals supporting you that have the networking connections and reputations to market you aggressively and give you as much exposure as possible. But when it comes to being successful and making money in a modeling career through agency representation, it is strictly a case-by-case basis.

Agencies have a lot of power and know-how but they don't have all the answers, nor can they force clients to hire who they want. It is their job to find models castings and help them book gigs that will establish their careers and portfolios but it is the model him/herself that is responsible for "wowing" the client enough to be hired. Sometimes there are cases where a model has a great look and all the potential in the world but for whatever reason, he/she may not get hired for anything, even though they have an agent. It's just a reality that happens.

When this occurs, it shouldn't turn into the blame game. It's easy for models to blame everything on their agent for not doing this, that or the other. However, it is important for models to also evaluate themselves and see if there is anything they are doing (or not doing) that could also be the issue. Most times, the answers are not clear and no one can explain why some models with agencies do better than others. Things happen that are out of most people's control. Clients are super picky, play favorites or prejudge a model soon as he/she walks through the door. There is nothing anyone can do about that--even the agencies, aside from maybe choosing to not submit their models to that particular client anymore.

When you're offered a modeling contract, look at it is a business agreement (because it is) and as such, it's something that you have to understand takes two people to make work. The agency does the bulk of the work for you but you also have to deliver to the best of your ability. If you're not putting your best foot forward or are expecting the agency to have superpowers and make you famous, you'll be sorely disappointed. Be realistic about your agency's abilities and work with them to find out where your niche is and what kind of work you'd be perfect to submit for.

I think it's unfair when models want to get out of their contract or badmouth their agent when they aren't booked work instantly. Signing with an agency on a Monday doesn't mean you'll starting appearing in magazines, fashion shows and making thousands of dollars by Friday. It just doesn't work that way. It is vital that newly signed models give their agents enough time to develop their careers and market them as needed.

In fact, many modeling contracts have a clause that states that if the model is not happy with the quality of the agency's work within 4 months, they're allowed to terminate their contract and seek new representation elsewhere. I recommend giving a new agent between 4-6 months as a trial run. Instant results are not a reality in the modeling industry and keep in mind that the economy does play a huge part in the process.

When the economy is unstable, people are not confident about hiring for projects or the opportunities available become limited. This restrains agencies greatly because they have more models than assignments available. So before giving your new agent a thumbs down for performance, step outside of your bubble and take everything into perspective--including yourself--in order to see why things aren't panning out for your career the way you had hoped.

If it's been 4-6 months and you haven't booked a gig or have gotten work but haven't gotten paid in a timely manner or are having other issues with your agency, then it is safe to say that you should probably seek a new agency after terminating your contract according to their rules and regulations. But don't go into a modeling contracting thinking that an agency owes you something or that they're your slave. Agencies can make your career but you have to work with them and give them the chance to work their magic. To think and do otherwise simply isn't fair or realistic.

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