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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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year, Modeling 101 Readers!!!

WOW, yet another year has come and gone! Man, 2011 was really something! Lots of changes and lots of challenges: I dropped my agent, got a new agent, watched friends get married and bring children into the world, let go of one of the greatest loves of my life and found hope in someone new, lost very important loved ones and cried as they were laid to rest--life really does throw a lot of curve balls at you!

But there was an aspect of my life that remained a constant source of happiness: contributing posts to my Modeling 101 blog, answering more Reader Questions than I've ever done before and having the opportunity to receive emails from a whole slew of aspiring models with amazing and heartfelt stories/experiences. I truly hope you readers understand how much I love and appreciate your support and for keeping me motivated to continue sharing my knowledge and experiences with you. Some of you have been with me since Modeling 101 was started in 2007 and others have just stumbled across my blog just a few days ago...regardless, I appreciate each and every one of you!

So what's on my plate for 2012? No one (not even me!) can predict the future but with a new agent I am even more excited to see where their representation will take my career. I also plan on continuing my freelancing efforts to acquire even more gigs and networking connections--that'll never change! A new year means new opportunities, clients and chances to continue building my name and I've never been more amped! Of course you guys will get the complete 411, since I plan on keeping you posted with what's going on in my own career, as well as adding even more informative and insightful posts about modeling and the industry. I've got a long list of blog post topics that I'm eager to write about!

Thank you for sticking with me through another crazy year...I look forward to the new year that is just around the corner and for those of you heading out to celebrate tonight, please, please be safe.

That being said, I'm gonna stop being a workaholic for the day and enjoy some much-needed lazy "me" time before I have to get dolled up and head out to ring in the new year with my new sweetheart. :-)


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Answering a Reader Question #279

Lina Wrote:

I was wondering what was your opinion on submitting yourself to modeling agencies in different countries? Also, would it be good or bad to submit yourself to a lot (fifteen-twenty) at the same time?

Hi, Lina! I think submitting to agencies in other countries is a good thing and I encourage it. The process is very similar to submitting to a local agency: visit the official websites for the agencies you're interested in and follow each one's instructions/guidelines for submissions. Of course attending an open casting call is probably not going to be realistic for you so you'll have to stick to sending them your pictures and information online. It is important to note, however, that should you be invited for an interview at an agency's office in another country, the expenses related to airfare/travel and lodging will have to come out of your pocket. Agencies do not cover such costs if it is just for an interview. So be prepared to possibly accommodate that kind of expense.

Your chances of working with an international agency are better if you are currently signed to an agency in your area that has experience with placing models in other markets. This is typically the case with the mother agency situation. You can learn more about how mother agencies work by clicking on the link below:

Understanding the Role of Mother Agencies in Modeling

It is a good thing to submit to as many agencies as you meet the requirements for. There is no rule or limit so submit as much as you want. Doing so helps to increase your chances of gaining interest from one or more agencies. Remember, never hold out for one agency's response if there are others just as good (or better) giving you offers. Go with the one that you feel most confident and comfortable with once you've gotten to the interview stage.

Answering a Reader Question #278

Sophia Wrote:

hi, my name is sophia and im turning 13, and i have always wanted to be a vs model and i know the requirements... so i went online and looked up agencies but all of them were really far from wear live so i dont know what to do, my mom wants to move so thats not a problem but what if their not good enough agencies to get me where i want to go like to be a vs model? also im kind of short like only 5'0 and i dont think im going to get my grandpas height he 6'5 ... so what do you think i should do or can do? 

Hi, Sophia! I would suggest that you look into local agencies in your area that have teen and commercial/print divisions. Those are the two types of modeling that you more than likely qualify for. As long as the agency you sign with has a good list of clients they've worked with and book you for paying gigs to build your portfolio, they will put you on the right path towards gaining experience. Plus, you can always work your way up over the years and move to a bigger agency in a larger market/location as you get older.

Don't count out the local modeling agencies...they are just as effective as the larger agencies in the sense that they will only submit you for the highest paying work and give you the best exposure possible until you're ready to move up to a market like New York. But remember, until you can manage to reach at least 5'8", fashion and runway agencies won't be an option for you. However, you do have a few years ahead of you so that could change.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Why You Should Watch "Scouted" Instead of ANTM

This post is not meant to belittle or insult ANTM in any way but I believe in calling things like they are. When ANTM first premiered, I was an avid viewer and enjoyed the fact that the modeling industry was hitting the mainstream. However, I quickly lost interest after Cycle 3.

I haven't actively watched any cycle of ANTM since then (although I did watch a few episodes of the petite cycle and the finale episode of the All Stars). Here are my reasons for no longer being interested in ANTM:
  • It doesn't accurately depict what being a model in the industry is really like.
  • As with any other reality show, it focuses a lot on the drama between the contestants, which in reality, no one should care about because it doesn't contribute positively to showcasing how real models in the real world work.
  • It doesn't follow the "protocol" of how models really are discovered and "make it" into the industry.
Am I saying that no one should ever watch ANTM? Definitely not. If you love the show, then watch it...I think my main concern for fans of this show is that some take what they see on there SERIOUSLY. This gives them a super false impression of what being a model is like and what it takes. The ONLY thing anyone should take seriously when watching ANTM are what happens during the photoshoots and the part where they go to another country and are sent on go-sees with designers. Those two aspects are pretty much the ONLY fairly accurate depictions of what models encounter on a daily basis in their careers. The fashion shows in the finale episodes are okay as well, since it does show the hustle and bustle of what happens both onstage and offstage.

Now when it comes to the show "Scouted," THEY have it right. I strongly encourage new and aspiring models (who aren't already watching this show) to begin doing so--mainly because this reality TV actually shows the "reality" of what it takes to become a signed model and all the things that factor into the final decision as to whom 1 Management will/will not represent. For all of you readers who constantly wonder what it's like to be scouted or wonder if you've got what it takes, Scouted does a great job of spotlighting actual situations where the everyday girl gets spotted on the street, at the mall, on campus at school, etc. and interacts with a legit modeling scout.

The scouts themselves are all different and many of them don't even look like they'd be affiliated in any way with the industry...and I LOVE THAT! Scouted hasn't created any over-the-top characters with personalities that tend to distract from what's going on. The scouts are the real deal and their interactions with the potential models and their families is genuine.

1 Management is a top agency in New York and I love how they go about the selection process in the right way--not by hosting ridiculous "contests" and "competitions" but by looking at a potential model's test shoot images and video and discussing their realistic chances of being successful. Does Scouted promise that the models 1 Management signs will become "Top Models"? Nope. They're simply looking for a person that has the whole package so the agency can make them a SUCCESSFUL model that earns good money and gets hired by big clients.

Not many agencies open up their world to cameras so Scouted is the perfect way for anyone interested in becoming a model to see how the day-to-day operations of this type of business works as it relates to how they find new faces. In particular, pay attention to the feedback 1 Management gives to the people that appear on the show. They talk about everything from the model's physical look to attitude, maturity and even their family life, among other things.

This is the ideal situation where viewers hoping to become models can learn from another person's mistakes and better understand what a top agency expects from them, should they get offered a contract for representation. Another thing I like about this show is that they deal with many individuals that have no experience in modeling. For those of you also lacking any previous experience and are concerned as to how it could affect your chances of working with an agency, watching Scouted will help you get a better idea of what you can expect.

It is important to note, however, that 1 Management doesn't look for exactly the same thing as other agencies like IMG, Ford, DNA, Elite, Wilhelmina, etc. What you see on Scouted is what applies to 1 Management only. A new model scouted by any of the agencies I mentioned may or may not have a similar experience. So keep that in mind.

There aren't many reality TV shows that deal with modeling that I care to go out of my way to watch but Scouted is one of them. I can't say strongly enough how I applaud this show for telling it like it really is. Of course it is still a reality show so I'm sure there are some parts of it that are played up just for TV but when compared to ANTM, Scouted has everything right, in my opinion.

Answering a Reader Question #277

Julia Wrote:

Hi Dania!! I'm Julia and I've been wanting to be a VS model since I was little I'm only 12 years old, I meat all the requirements except for the breasts, I don't have big breasts (aww!!). OR maybe their just growing slowly.....

Do we have to have big breasts?? Because I really, really want to be a VS model. Thanks!! 

Hi, Julia! First off, you're 12, sweetie...you're not supposed to have big breasts yet. Lol. There are some girls your age that may have them but in general, you've still got a few more years to grow physically. You are NOT supposed to have a Victoria's Secret body at your age. Please understand that the VS models are 18 years of age and older. So for now your bust size shouldn't be a major concern. Besides, you can't do lingerie modeling until you are 18 anyway so you've got some waiting to do.

You don't have to have big breasts in order to be a VS model. Many of them are between a B and C cup. What many people don't know is that in order to sell the bras better, the VS models wear bras that are 1-2 sizes too SMALL so that their cleavage pops out a lot. It just photographs better and is a marketing trick. You'll find that not all of the VS models have these enormous breasts that many people believe they do. Remember, nothing is as it seems in modeling. :-)

For now, please enjoy being 12 and do not agonize over how your body currently is. Being young only lasts a short time and being an adult lasts forever, haha, do don't be in a rush to grow up just to be a VS model.

Answering a Reader Question #276

Anonymous Wrote:

hi you said that no vs model is under the height of 5ft8, however Laetitia Casta is 5ft6...
does that mean there is still hope for the rest of us short people out there? 

Hey, Anonymous! Laetitia Casta is what is known in the industry as "an exception to the rule." Similar to Kate Moss. While it's a positive thing because it shows that there are short models who can make the cut when it comes to fashion modeling, it is just that--an exception and not the norm. Just because Laetitia Casta and Kate Moss made it doesn't mean the modeling industry is going to open its arms to accept even more models that are short. Unfortunately, it just doesn't work that way.

While shorter models can find hope in how successful Laetitia Casta has become, Victoria's Secret isn't going to suddenly start hiring models 5'6" or shorter. Remember, VS is a client, not an agency...just like any other client, they turn to high fashion modeling agencies to find their new faces. So it's not VS you have to convince to sign you as a shorter model--it's Elite, Ford and the other high fashion agencies in New York. Must easier said than done. What made Laetitia Casta stand out, like Kate Moss, was that the decision makers in the industry felt she had an exceptional physical appearance that they knew would market very well. And it did. Sadly, not every short model is going to be considered "exceptional" or "extraordinary" enough to make it to the big leagues. That is where the problem is for shorter models.

While it's great that Laetitia Casta has become a supermodel in her own right being 5'6", the sad part is that the industry doesn't recognize her as a short model. Her agencies list her as being 5'9" or 5'10". In interviews, she has been known to say she is 5'7". So it isn't like the industry is shouting out to the world how amazing this short model is--they lie about her height on purpose so that high fashion clients will continue to work with her. Of course her success can now allow her to get gigs based on her name alone but even she doesn't own up to her true height. So that should put things into perspective that even though there are some "exceptions to the rule," it hasn't kept the modeling industry from lying about the height issue so that it won't work against the model.

Answering a Reader Question #275

Anonymous Wrote:

Hi everyone! being a vs model seems like the funnest job on earth! how to i get that far though? i am 13 5"5 and still growing. i have grown an inch in the past month LOL. my stomach is pretty much flat and i have really long legs and i weigh about 90-95lbs. any suggestions? 

Hi, Anonymous! Unfortunately, unless you can manage to get to 5'8" or 5'9" by the time you're 18, there won't be anything you can do to get closer to be considered for Victoria's Secret. You're still young though and at your current height, you can do teen and commercial/print modeling. If you want to begin this career now, you'll want to do an online search for agencies within a 2 hour's drive of where you live that represent teens and/or commercial/print models. Since you can't do lingerie modeling until you turn 18, you've still got a few years of waiting.

Answering a Reader Question #274

Katie J. Wrote:

Hi Dania, you mention model mayhem a lot on your blog. Can you tell of other websites besides model mayhem that I could use. I need to find a photographer to do some test shoots and I am more than willing to test for free I just want to gain experience in front of the camera. the reason I ask is because I was rejected from model mayhem and I want to find other ways to make things happen with or without an agency. Also one more thing do you know of commercial print/lifestyle agencies in N.Y. I plan on moving to N.Y. in February. 

Hey, Katie J! Did Model Mayhem give you a reason as to why they rejected your profile registration? Below are other websites similar to Model Mayhem that you can check out (I've only used the first two but am no longer active on them. The rest I can't personally vouch for):

- One Model Place (www.onemodelplace.com)
- Miss Online (http://www.missonline.com/)
- Model URL (http://modelurl.com/)
- Moo Faces (http://moofaces.com)

Below are the websites for agencies in NY that have commercial/print and lifestyle divisions that you can look into:

BMG Models

Funny Face Today Model Management

Model Service Agency, LLC

Monarch Agency

Silver Model Management

Monday, December 26, 2011

Answering a Reader Question #273

Anonymous Wrote:

I have always wanted and still want to be a model but i now have five kids i have streach marks on my butt and arms and my hips but i really dont know how to get them clear because i just want to do apperances not be naked but i really need some input please i need help

Hi, Anonymous! The more stretch marks you have, the more difficult it is going to be to pursue modeling seriously. However, that doesn't mean you can't do it at all. I don't know your height, age or if you want to get signed to an agency or pursue freelance modeling, which makes it hard for me to really recommend the right path for your situation. If you do want to go the agency route, you'll want to look online for websites of modeling agencies that have a commercial/print division. Commercial/print models typically don't show a lot of skin, unless it's for mainstream swimwear type stuff. So this category could be more suitable for what you have in mind.

As far as how to get rid of or clear up your stretch marks, as my blog post stated, there really aren't many options that are completely perfect. The older your stretch marks are, the harder they'll be to get rid of. Have you made any attempts to try and treat them, such as using special lotion for lightening/fading the marks or doing laser surgery? Your stretch marks won't go away 100% but if you try a few different methods and stick to the most favorable one over the course of a few months (never expect overnight results), you should be able to find something that will at least make them a bit less noticeable than they already are.

I hope that helps!

Answering a Reader Question #272

Karen Wrote:

Hey! Great blog, it's really nice of you helping aspiring models out there.
I'm from Argentina (thats why my english sucks lol), and i have always ALWAYS wanted to be a model, ever since i can remember. I know by heart every single episode of america's next top model.
My height is 1.65 (i know, short. but here models arent as tall as in other countries so thats not a major problem) and my weight is around 52 kilos. im curvy and i have a really nice body actually. my hair is light brown and my eyes blue.
But the problem is that my mom isnt very supportive about this! what can i do?
also do you think i would be able to succeed in modeling if i move to new york when i turn 18? how can i do that?
thank u so much!! xo 

Hi, Karen! Don't worry, I can understand your English just fine. :-) Please click on the links below, which will take you to blog posts I've done about how to deal with parents and telling them about wanting to model...it should help:

The Parents
When You Get No Support For Modeling

Unfortunately, your height doesn't qualify you to do fashion/runway/editorial modeling and in New York they are very strict about height. The minimum most agencies in New York want you to be is 5'8", which I believe is something like 1.75m for you. However, you are fairly ideal for commercial/print but I would not advise moving all the way to New York in order to pursue that particular type of modeling. Most commercial/print models only work locally and do not travel outside of the state or internationally. Plus, living in New York is very expensive and unlike runway and fashion agencies, commercial/print modeling agencies do not typically have model housing or model dorms for people who are coming from out of the area.

My best piece of advice to you would be to find a legit and reputable agency that represents commercial/print models in your area and pursue a serious career there. Should you get signed, you can talk to your agent about your hopes of modeling in the USA and see if they have any suggestions or ways to help you achieve this.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Being Camera-Ready in Modeling

(This post will be mainly useful for freelance models)

Booking a modeling assignment is obviously something to be excited about. Because no two gigs are the same, this sometimes means dealing with different ways to prepare for a particular shoot, show or other related project. It is not uncommon for a model to be told to arrive "camera-ready" to work. So what does this mean and how does it apply to one's modeling career?

When you are told to come camera-ready to a modeling assignment, it means you're responsible for doing your own hair, makeup and/or wardrobe because the people that typically take care of this for you won't be on set.

Sometimes you may have to take care of everything yourself or may only have to be responsible for one or two of these things. It's often hard for clients to find the professionals they need to do these services, which is why they'll ask the model to handle it themselves.

However, this doesn't necessarily mean the client and project aren't worth being a part of. Times are hard, people flake and sometimes the right person can't be found for the job within the time frame needed. So clients have to work with what they've got. For example, it's difficult (for whatever reason) to find a great hair stylist for shoots and projects but it's pretty easy to find a qualified makeup artist. In the best circumstances, the makeup artist also has the skills to do hair, which kills two birds with one stone.

Arriving camera-ready ensures that the client doesn't have to worry about the model's appearance and knows that soon as he/she gets to the location, they can get right to work. Being camera-ready speeds up the shooting process, too (sometimes getting the hair and/or makeup done on set can take as long as 1-2 hours).

This is why all models (freelance and agency represented) should learn how to apply their own makeup and do their hair to the point where they know it will photograph well. In most instances, models won't have to worry about doing super fancy and complicated hairstyles or crazy makeup. If the concept calls for such extreme looks, the client will ensure that hair and makeup pros will be available to get the desired end results. The majority of the time when models are asked to arrive camera-ready, the look usually needed is natural or slightly dramatic. Even male models should have basic knowledge as to how to properly apply concealer, foundation (if needed) and powder to eliminate shiny spots on their complexion.

Don't be surprised if you come across a casting that requires the model to know how to do their own hair and makeup in order to submit themselves. It's becoming more commonplace in the industry these days. Knowing how to make yourself camera-ready without hesitation is a valuable skill to have and one that all models should take the steps to master sooner than later.

Not only does having this skill make you more likely to be hired by clients, it also saves you from having to spend time and money on going to a pro before the shoot in order to get everything done for you, which sometimes isn't always possible.

Did You Know...? #8

...models with agency representation sometimes have to wait a long time to get paid for a modeling assignment? It can sometimes take up to as long as 90 days to see a check! Why is this? It's mainly because of the payroll process. The agency has to invoice the client for the work/services performed by the model and then it is up to the client to get things together to send out the check.

The sooner the client completes payroll, the sooner the model (and agency) get to see payment. The slightest interruption/delay means the longer it'll take to see the money. To avoid this becoming an issue, modeling contracts typically have a clause that states that by signing the document, the model understands and is okay with knowing that receiving payment could take anywhere from 30-90 days.

Modeling Agency Representation: Pros & Cons

Seeking agency representation is the ideal way to kick off a modeling career. However, modeling agencies and the system they follow isn't always perfect. Just as with freelance modeling, getting signed to an agency also comes with its own list of pros and cons. It is important that aspiring and established models have some kind of idea as to what to expect, should they find themselves with a modeling contract on the table.

Agency Representation Pros:
  • Legal protection from the agency: Modeling agencies serve as a model's protection and almost like a guardian, who has the industry expertise to negotiate rates, ensure the safety of their models while on assignment and deal with any legal issues that may occur.
  • Deal with only reputable and legit clients: 99.9% of the clients agencies book for their models are certifiably legit, reputable and (most times) recognizable by name. This means no worries about dealing with shady scammers or individuals with ulterior motives.
  • Secure the highest pay rates: When models make money, the agencies make money. It is the agency's job to find and secure top pay for its models. If the client is unwilling to pay what the model is worth or has a small budget, the agency won't bother with them and will continue on to the next client.
  • Greater chance of exposure: Needless to say, modeling agencies are experts in their field. They know the right people, have the best connections and the kinds of reputations that attract clients and give them business. With the right agency, a model can gain much more exposure than they could through their own efforts.
  • Have the work done for you (looking for gigs, payroll, etc.): Agencies have the resources and manpower to do the bulk of the work that it takes to get a model recognized and hired for assignments. The models themselves don't have to do anything but make sure to go where they're told and perform well on any gig they're booked for. Even when it comes to getting paid, the agency takes care of this process--all you have to do is wait for your check to arrive in the mail.
  • More pampering: The majority of the gigs agencies book for their models automatically come with a crew, whose job is to make sure the model is camera-ready. This means having a hair stylist, makeup artist and wardrobe stylist on hand. 
Agency Representation Cons:
  • Must be available on short notice for castings and gigs: Clients don't always plan ahead and castings often come up very last minute. Models with agencies must be ready and available for such last minute notices. You could be notified within as little as 24-48 hours of a casting or gig you've been booked for.
  • Have to deal with a contract: Regardless of the type of contract signed (exclusive or non-exclusive), models are entering into a legally binding agreement. Contracts come with guidelines and clauses that contain information as to what their responsibilities are. Breaking the terms of the modeling contract can result in legal consequences.
  • Deal with agency commission: Each time your agency books you a gig, they receive a commission. The rates are adjusted over time but currently agencies are able to command between 20% to 25% per booking (5-10 years ago the commission rate used to be 10% to 15%).
  • Being under the command of someone else: Unlike freelance modeling, those with agencies are playing by someone else's rules. While agencies work with its models, the models themselves may feel like they're being controlled, pushed around or limited to doing only what their agency allows them to do, as it relates to their career.
  • May not receive any work: Agencies cannot promise or guarantee work for its models. However, it is still discouraging for any model to have a contract signed and be with an agency for a period of time without securing any type of work in the industry.

Freelance Modeling: Pros & Cons

There are always pros and cons when it comes to many things in life. Opting to become a freelance model is one of them. Because this route is not for everyone, it's important to look at a list of notable pros and cons, which can help a person decide if this is a step in the right direction for them. There are definitely more that can be added to the list but I wanted to keep things fairly simple but may add more to each list over time.

Freelance Modeling Pros:
  • Make your own schedule: Freelance models act as their own agency representation so you get to pick and choose when and what types of castings to attend. This is ideal for people with part-time or full-time jobs.
  • Choose your own clients: Being able to select who you want to work with is yet another type of freedom that freelancers enjoy.
  • Negotiate/set your own rates: Unless the budget/rate is already set by the client, freelance models have the opportunity to either negotiate the possible rate or state the amount they would prefer to make, should a client want to hire them.
  • Work as much or as little as you want: Because freelance models make their own schedules, they can decide how much work they can (or want) to take on. 
  • Flexibility with pursuing different types of modeling: Agencies tend to make it very clear what types of modeling work they will and will not book for their signed models. However, freelancers have the flexibility to market themselves towards as many modeling categories as they want.
  • No agency commissions to pay from each gig: Perhaps the greatest perk of being a freelancer is the fact that you don't have to pay anybody commission--you take home everything you make at the end of the day.
 Freelance Modeling Cons:
  • More prone to dealing with shady individuals/companies: There are some clients (not all) that target freelance models to hire because they know it's more likely that the model in particular may be easier to scam or take advantage of. With no agency to serve as a filter/protection, freelance models work with clients at their own risk.
  • Harder to command high pay rates: One of the main reasons why clients work with freelance models is because they don't have huge budgets to afford agency represented models and commission fees. It isn't uncommon for freelance models to work on projects that are offering very low to moderate pay rates. 
  • Often have to settle for little to no pay for gigs: Similar to the item listed above, freelancers aren't as likely to secure the same caliber of high paying gigs as models with agencies and may have to resort to accepting whatever pay is available or settling for no pay in exchange for images.
  • Difficult to find consistent work: Finding work on your own is difficult, especially if you don't have a network of industry professionals to help you. Even the most diligent freelancers won't catch wind of every modeling assignment/gig being cast.
  • Responsible for marketing yourself, finding gigs and doing your own payroll: Being a freelance model means doing 100% of the work and then some. Agencies help models with their first test shoot to put together their headshot, comp/zed card and portfolio but this is not a luxury available to freelancers. Models representing themselves have to hire photographers, get their images printed and put together their own portfolios, headshots and comp/zed cards. Additionally, it's your responsibility to make sure you get paid by the clients, which sometimes requires tracking down people that may be slow in paying you or may have not paid you at all as promised. These types of issues come with the territory for freelancing.

Quick Tip #27

Category: Communication
For: Male & Female Models

Never be afraid to ask questions, especially when it comes to attending a casting for a client. For example, if you've submitted yourself to a casting for a photoshoot and receive a reply, inviting you to the event, the message may be missing basic info, such as what to wear and/or what to bring. It's totally okay to reply back and ask if there is anything specific you should wear in terms of wardrobe, as well as if they would like you to bring a headshot/resume/book, etc. In these cases, it's acceptable to make such inquiries.

Never assume that asking these types of questions will make you look bad or appear "stupid" to the client. It's better to ask and know for sure than to guess and possibly wear the wrong thing or forget to bring an important document. Whenever I send an email asking such questions, I'll usually also add a sentence like, "I just want to make sure that I show up fully prepared!" This shows them that I'm asking the questions in the interest of making the best first impression and to make their job easier.

However, keep your questions to the basic things. It is not appropriate to plaster the client with tedious questions. They won't have the time or patience to explain everything to you. Once you arrive at the casting, they will inform everyone what they'll want them to do at that time. Any questions should be limited to wardrobe, materials that should be brought and those that are related to the casting itself (location, parking situation, etc.).

Answering a Reader Question #271

Bramz Wrote:

hello!! interesting topic! may I ask, can I be a model if I lack in height? I'm 19 years old, and just 5 feet 10 tall. 

Hey, Bramz! I'm going to assume that you're a male since 5'10" is definitely perfect for female models but is on the shorter side for male models. :-) The quick answer to your question is, yes, you can still be a model. 5'10" is ideal for commercial/print. As to whether you can do fashion/runway, that will depend on a couple of factors:
  • The market/location you live in (sometimes smaller to medium market agencies will sign fashion models that are 5'10" but 5'11" is usually the minimum for larger markets)
  • Your look...just like with female models, there are rare exceptions to the height rule for fashion agencies if they know they can sell your look.
While most agencies that represent fashion/runway models set the minimum at 5'11", I have seen agency websites where the minimum height was 5'10" but again that all depends on where you live. To cover all your bases, you'll want to submit yourself to agencies that represent commercial/print models as well as those with a slightly lowered height requirement that represent fashion male models.

Good luck to you and I hope that helps!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

"Special Skills: How They Help in Modeling"

This blog post was inspired by Kat's question, which is below:

Hi Dania, can you do a post on special skills. I noticed on some agency websites they list skills that the models' can do independent of modeling. For instance some of them are singers, actors, dancers, musicians, etc can you list the importance of having a special skill in relation to the entertainment industry. I personally play the flute, I'm a mediocre singer I'm def. not American idol status(nor do I want to be... I won't be making cd's or holding concerts any time soon) but I've been told I can hold a descent tune. In addition I'm always looking of creative ways to improve my acting and my modeling. In regards to acting I'm taking classes at my local junior college. I guess I really want your opinion on the ability to have or create another skill that can be used in the industry besides acting and modeling:) 

Having special skills that fall outside of modeling are extremely beneficial to male and female models of all ages. As I'm sure you'll recall me always saying, modeling is a business and being able to make yourself as marketable as possible is music to any agency's ears. What makes having special skills so significant is the fact that it increases the various types of modeling assignments your agency can book you for. More bookings means more money.

If you've ever filled out an electronic form on an agency's website, they almost always have a section that deals with special skills, where they'll either have a list of options for you to check off or type in manually in the designated field. Examples of such skills include but are not limited to:
  • Dancing (Tap/Jazz/Contemporary)
  • Singing
  • Gymnastics
  • Sports
  • Musical Instrument
Some of the skills can be as basic as that or as off the wall as wanting to know if you can juggle or roller skate. The talents/skills don't have to be specific to athletic abilities or performance, either--people that can draw, paint or individuals with strong writing skills can also list these as a special skill.

So what does this have to do with being a good model? You may remember a blog post I did about Sports & Fitness modeling, where I talked about how clients oftentimes want to hire models that have real-world experience doing certain physical activities to sell not just their look but make the poses and gestures more authentic.

The same goes for other special skills. Models with backgrounds in dance and/or acting are especially sought after. Dancers typically have great physiques, tend to be naturally graceful (which makes for some amazing and dynamic poses) and can get hired for gigs that call for this skill set. Acting skills are appreciated by agencies and clients because many times models have to assume "roles" in their photoshoots and having the natural ability to play a character helps to produce great poses, genuine facial expressions and interactions if they are shooting with other models.

Additionally, having talents outside of modeling makes it more likely for a person to "cross-over" into other forms of media/entertainment, which means being able to command a larger audience and more exposure. These are all good things for anybody hoping to be successful in more than just modeling.

People that possess special skills also typically tend to be outgoing, social, perform well in front of others and are anything but shy. Any model that has the ability to learn, master and perform a particular skill (or more than one) is someone that more than likely an agency can depend on to do well and not worry about being self-conscious or insecure.

However, aspiring and established models that don't have any such special skills don't necessarily have to feel pressured to go out and start taking tap classes or enroll in ballet. If you decide to create or learn a special skill, make sure it's one that interests you and that you are passionate about.

The majority of people that have special skills don't do so because they "need to" but because they "want to." Don't feel like you have to acquire a bunch of special skills, either. It's all about the quality and not the quantity. A model that knows 6 different skills is impressive but if she can only do 2 or 3 of them very well, the overall impression loses its luster.

In the instance that you're faced with a questionnaire that asks you to check off your "level" of expertise in a particular skills/activity, be honest. There's a huge difference between being "Excellent" or "Professional" at something and being "Average" or a "Beginner." If the skill/activity in question is one you've never done before, the obvious answer is to keep that field blank or check "N/A" if that option is there.

Models with natural talents and abilities are always a natural sell for agencies and clients and if you fall into this category, consider yourself a very valuable asset.

Answering a Reader Question #270

BReal Wrote:

Becoming a male model seems like it would be exciting. I'm presently 32, 5'11", with about a 38 inch chest. Would it be recommended that I get up to at least a 40 inch chest size before seriously considering finding an agency to consider working with? Merry Christmas by the way! 

Hey, BReal, Merry Christmas to you as well! At this point, I would recommend going to agency casting calls as you are and then seeing what feedback you get. I say this because it is easier to know what agencies think of you now and know for sure because you'll have heard it straight from their mouth, instead of trying to guess. No two agencies have the same opinion so you could end up coming across an agency that is fine with your chest measurement as it is, while there may be another that would tell you otherwise.

Get as many different opinions as you can from the agencies in your area and then decide what your next step will be based on their feedback. This will save you a lot of time and effort.

Good luck to you!

Answering a Reader Question Video Reply #3

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Answering a Reader Question #269

Celeste Wrote:

Hi! My name is Celeste and I'm 13 and 5'8. I was wondering what the BEST agency would be to go to in about 5 months after my braces are off. (I live in Ohio) 

Hi, Celeste! To best improve your odds, I would highly suggest submitting to as many agencies as you can that you meet the requirements for. There are actually many Ohio modeling agencies that are very successful and have an impressive list of clients. Never hold out for one agency. What qualifies as the "best" agency, in my professional opinion, is one that has a reputable history of doing business, has a list of recognizable clients and produces results for its models by consistently booking them quality work and sending them out on castings they know their models have a good shot at getting hired for.

That being said, below are a list of Ohio agencies that are definitely worth looking into and submitting yourself for--don't forget to attend as many open calls as you can since this increases your odds of gaining interest from an agency:

Midwest Model Management

Heyman Talent

MTM - Model Talent Management

New View Management Group

Wings Model Management

Docherty Model & Talent Agency

The Talent Group

Active Image Management

Stone Model and Talent Agency

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Understanding the Role of Mother Agencies in Modeling

***Just FYI: When I use the word "market," this is just industry lingo for "location" and usually refers to a specific city***

In your attempts to pursue a modeling career, you may or may not have come across the term "mother agency." Not all models deal with this type of agency arrangement but it does help to know as much as you can about the industry and all its aspects, including this concept.

While reading this blog post, keep in mind that having a mother agency is not mandatory, nor does a model need one to be super successful. The choice to become involved in this type of deal should be based on each person's needs, goals and situation as it relates to becoming a model.

So what is a mother agency? Like regular modeling agencies, mother agencies sign models, use contracts and market them to clients in order to book paying assignments. However, the major difference is the fact that mother agencies also groom, develop and prepare their models to work not just in other markets/locations but with other agencies as well. HUH????

Your brain is probably firing off tons of questions after reading that part but be patient--hopefully the rest of this post will answer those questions and demystify this concept.

It's helpful to think of mother agencies as "loaning" out their best models to other agencies as needed. This often happens when the mother agency is located in a small to medium-sized market where there isn't as much high caliber, top paying work. Because they know the good stuff is in places like New York, Los Angeles and even in international markets, they'll use their industry know-how and skills to market their models to attract the big fish agencies in those desirable places.

However, there are mother agencies located in big markets, too. They also operate the same way and for the same purpose but will typically focus on getting their models work in other countries, as well as other large markets nationally (i.e. a model could have his/her mother agent in Los Angeles and, as a result, have the ability to travel and work in New York and/or Miami when bookings come up in those areas).

The benefits for the mother agency includes but is not limited to:
  • Gaining more paying work and exposure for their models.
  • Vital networking connections with bigger, well established agencies.
  • The opportunity to make more money.
The benefits to the model include but is not limited to:
  • The chance to work in one or more larger markets.
  • The opportunity to make more money on assignments and work with big name clients and agencies.
  • The chance to travel either nationally or internationally.
However, there is a catch to this situation that isn't always 100% great. So you know how agencies make their money by charging clients a commission? Well, mother agencies not only make commission on the gigs they get their models locally, they also get a bit of commission from the gigs their models get booked through OTHER agencies. While the traditional commission agencies take is currently at 20%, the amount mother agencies get to charge agencies that use their models is somewhere between 5% to 10%.

However, while regular commission rates are typically added on top of the rate a model will be getting paid, mother agency commissions often take their cut directly from the model's paycheck. They're allowed to do this legally but that doesn't mean it's fair. While there are instances where the mother agency will directly charge commission to the agency they're loaning their models out to, it isn't uncommon for them to simply take money from the model's earnings because it's easier and the model doesn't have a say in the matter (hey, I don't support this practice and I don't make the rules so don't shoot the messenger).

An additional downside is that signing to a mother agency sometimes involves paying fees related to training and development. This includes professional photos, comp cards, runway training, etc. I'm sure you're thinking to yourself, "But Dania, you always say that upfront fees are red flags and that legit agencies train new models for free!" Yes, this is true BUT remember, mother agencies don't operate like regular agencies. And the fees related to the costs of grooming and preparing a model for work in other markets normally are not upfront fees--they come into play after a contract has been signed, which they are legally allowed to do. 

While this may seem like a total ripoff to some of you, there are times when working with a mother agency can be beneficial for a model's career and justifies investing the money. However, like I said earlier, it isn't mandatory to sign with a mother agency.

Here's when it's okay to look into a mother agency situation:
  • If you're in a small market where you know little about the industry but want to prep yourself to make the jump to a major market (and realistically know you meet the requirements to make this possible).
  • If the mother agency in your area has legit and solid connections to not just top agencies in big markets, but well paying and recognizable clients that want to hire you.
  • If the mother agency has proven experience with placing models from small and medium markets to larger ones, especially overseas.
Here's when it's not necessary to get involved with a mother agency:
  • If you already have sufficient knowledge about the modeling industry to find a regular agency on your own.
  • If you currently live in a big market where you're close to all the major traditional modeling agencies.
  • If you're signed to an agency already and are doing just fine with your career.
Think of the mother agency as your coach in a sport: You spend the time and money to hire them to give you experience, training, development of your skills and the knowledge so that you can move on from the minor league to the pros. Some people feel better having access to such a coach, while others feel confident enough to go about things on their own. Either way is fine but it has to be what works best for you and what you're comfortable with.

Do not feel pressured to try and hook up with a mother agency--again, they are not mandatory or necessary to be successful in modeling UNLESS you live somewhere that isn't known for getting much action in terms of the types of modeling assignments or agencies available. Also keep in mind that there are scammer operations that use the mother agency method to get money from people.

If you're thinking about possibly submitting to an agency that offers mother agency services, do your research and check out their site. If they have a proven track record of placing models successfully in bigger markets and getting results, then chances are you'd be working with people that know what they're doing and will be your partner in helping you reach your goals with modeling.

Otherwise, you can stick to seeking information about the industry on your own and by opting for the more affordable way of seeking traditional agency representation by attending open casting calls and sending in your pictures and info via email or snail mail.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Trunk Show Modeling

This may or may not be a term you guys are familiar with. Trunk show modeling, sometimes also called "trunk fashion shows" or simply "trunk shows", are an event that involves a fashion designer showcasing their latest creations to a select group of people.

Typically designers that produce one-of-a-kind pieces will host trunk shows as an affordable way to promote their line. The word "trunk" in this concept comes from the fact that the designer arrives with their clothing line in a special trunk, which they can easily set up and display for the group of consumers and/or buyers to view.

Oftentimes the select group of people at trunk shows are in charge of buying merchandise for department and boutique stores. Most of the time, the events are by invite only. There are a couple of reasons why designers use trunk shows as a method of exposure. Such reasons include but are not limited to the following:
  • It give clients a sneak peek at their newest fashions before they go on sale and become available to the public.
  • It offers clients/buyers the chance to pre-order or directly purchase certain clothing items at the trunk show.
  • It allows designers to get consumer feedback on their line and whether or not it would be successful.
  • It gives designers the chance to find out which pieces they should mass produce if the feedback from the trunk show is positive and vice-versa.
Not only are trunk shows great for the designers, they are beneficial for the buyers as well. Some boutique clothing stores and other related businesses usually do not have the same huge budgets as larger department stores to purchase entire lines from designers. By being present at trunk shows, these types of stores are able to network directly with the designer and have the opportunity to place orders for the items they want to carry at their store at a fairly affordable price. So this event works for both parties involved. However, these types of fashion events aren't just limited to small, local designers. Heavy hitters like Vera Wang, Nicole Miller and other well known brands also participate in trunk shows.

Sometimes trunk shows use models and sometimes they don't. For the ones that do, the models show up to the venue with the designer and simply wear the designated outfits and then model them for the group. Because trunk shows mainly take place in intimate settings, this means modeling in front of a much smaller group of individuals instead of a large crowd. Additionally, there is not a runway for the model to strut his/her stuff on. Instead they may simply walk out in the outfit and stand in front of the group, while the designer or sales rep explains what he/she is wearing. They may walk a bit or they may only be required to stand and turn around to show all views of the clothing.

In terms of pay, trunk shows don't normally pay big bucks because the designers participating in these events are often on tight budgets. However, it is not uncommon for models to do trunk shows in exchange for a free clothing item of their choice, a gift certificate or discounted price on an outfit they want to purchase. The actual pay a model could receive would more than likely be $100, more or less. Models working trunk shows for huge designers that are well known are likely to make more money. The time commitment for trunk show modeling could be a half day or a full day--it depends on where the venue for the show is and how many outfits the designer wants you to wear.

Doing trunk shows are great for exposure and networking so they're worth signing up for if you get asked to be in one. It adds to the resume of experience and if you work well with the designer, it could lead to future opportunities to model more of their designs in photoshoots, fashion shows, etc.

More Craigslist Crap to Be on the Lookout For

Needless to say, Craigslist continues to dwindle when it comes to the caliber and quality of the modeling assignments/projects posted in "Gigs" under the "Talent" section. However, there are still a few legit gems to be found, which is why I still use this site when freelancing.

But in recent months, I've noticed a few trends that--to me--are red flags of scammers, shady individuals and/or gigs disguised as modeling assignments but are actually for adult modeling/pornography related stuff.

The types of postings in the Gigs section may vary from city to city but here are some red flags/types of posts that I would warn others to stay away from if they are looking for modeling gigs in the San Francisco Bay Area Craigslist:

- Repeat Posts/Posters: If months have gone by and the same ad is still being used over and over, this likely means it's bogus and the person posting the ad has yet to find anyone dumb enough to take them seriously.

- Similar formatting in ads but for different projects. For example, there's someone on the SF Bay Area Craigslist site that posts a need for models for all kinds of projects, but in the body of the ad, they list the same criteria they want models to send all in the exact same order:

Reply With:

Phone Number
Height and Weight
Dress Size and Shoe Size
Include Some Photos 

One day they are casting for models for a fashion brand lookbook, the next day they're casting for Playboy style nude models, the day after that, they're casting for auditions for a feature film. While keeping the body of the ad the same, they switch out the type of project they're casting for because they believe it will increase the number of naive models who reply to them. Sometimes they'll switch out the order of the stuff on the list above or remove/add something but in general, this is a classic sign that it's the same person posting all the ads. Not cool.

- The ads are hiring models for important, recognizable brands/products but ask that models have no experience. Yeeaaahhhh...no legit client with such a recognizable brand would willingly spend money on a model that has absolutely no experience. Such posts are aimed at newbies who are looking for exposure or to network with well known people. New/inexperienced models, always be wary of such Craigslist posts and if you decide to reply, ask for referrals, a website, the names of the photographer, director in charge of the shoot, etc. If they can't or won't give you this information, delete their email and forget about them.

- Ads that claim they are casting for a billion different types of projects all at once. Now, these aren't necessarily scammers or shady individuals BUT in terms of whether the work they're offering is legit and going to be beneficial to your career is very questionable. There's been someone posting fairly frequently on the SF Bay Area Craigslist, looking for models for their "company" that is hiring models for films, calenders, promotions, prints, ads, TV, commercials, photoshoots, all media, etc. Ummm...dude, what kind of company do you have and why is it all over the place? It just raises red flags for me. I believe they write their ad the way they do to--again--entice models that are looking for exposure. It could also be a start-up company trying to build its employee base but this isn't the right way to go about it.

- Posting ridiculously high pay rates. I'm sorry, but it's not often that I come across a Craigslist post looking for models that pays $1,000 that is actually legit. A few hundred dollars? Sure, I've seen and booked work through Craigslist that paid that kind of money. But if it's starting at $1,000 or something even higher, it's 99.9% a ploy to get you to reply to them because they're betting you're looking for a way to make some easy cash. Be wary of what they're asking you to do for that pay rate. Of course if it's a legit client that you've heard of or if the info that pops up about them when you do online research checks out, then that's a different story. But if the ad is vague or you can't find much info about the project outside of the ad, it's not worth your time.

- Looking for models within a huge demographic that is unrealistic according to industry standards. Craigslist posts asking for models within the ages 18-40 and all sizes are ones to be wary of simply because of the credibility (of lack thereof) of the project. People that want to model professionally and build a strong portfolio should look for clients that have projects that are of professional quality--and that sometimes means staying within the limiting requirements when it comes to height, weight, age, etc. Ads casting a super wide net by inviting models of all ages and sizes sometimes don't always equal professional results. Again, they cast wide nets to make it easier to increase the number of applicants they will receive. Unless the nature of the project is in need of "real people" models and is something like a print job, chances are the gig isn't worth looking into further because it's probably being run by amateurs that are looking for anyone willing to respond to their ad, and whose work won't contribute professionally to your career or portfolio.

- Listing weird pay rates. For the ads that actually offer pay, be a bit cautious if the pay rate is not a rounded number of a typical rate you'd see for modeling assignments. It may seem like a little thing but I'm a stickler for detail and when even the smallest thing seems "off" to me, I tend to go with my gut. Most clients pay models rounded figures like $100.00, $250.00 or an hourly rate like $15.00, $25/hr, etc. I've seen Craigslist posts for gigs stating they'll pay $243.00, $328.00, $144.00, etc. It's just strange...how they come up with such figures is beyond me. Not sure why people posting on Craigslist do this but it doesn't do anything to justify their credibility, in my opinion. 

- Asking for models that are "uninhibited." This is a covert way of really saying, "I'm looking for a model that isn't shy so that she'll be willing to take off her clothes and let me take pictures of her." Simple as that.

The things I've mentioned in this post don't apply to every single Craigslist ad you come across but if you've been on there as much as I have, you start to notice things and if anything you come across seems questionable, don't pursue it. It's always better to err on the side of caution...the legit and beneficial gigs are there and those are the ones worth your time and effort.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Answering a Reader Question #268

Yakkilyn Wrote:

I am currently 22 years old and am borderline 5'7". I am constantly told that I look to be about 17 years old due to my biracial ethnicity. I've always wanted to be a model, but have only just recently grown more comfortable in my skin. I am approximately 120-125 lbs. (my weight tends to fluxuate) and I could stand to lose about 5 lbs. I would just like to know that, once all the weight is lost, would it still be possible for someone like me to become a professional model? 

Hi, Yakkilyn! At your current weight you can become a professional model so you don't have to lose anymore pounds if you are comfortable with your weight as it is--just make sure you don't go over 125 and you'll be fine. At 5'7" and age 22, you're not going to grow any taller so at this point you're not going to be eligible for runway or fashion modeling (even if you appear younger physically, you'd still be lacking that one inch to meet the minimum height requirement for that type of modeling). When it comes to height, there are some exceptions to the rule but that depends on your location/market area and the agency.

So if you want to become a pro model, you're going to want to submit your photos and information to modeling agencies that represent commercial/print/lifestyle/mature models. So any agencies within a 2 hour's drive from where you live that have any or all of these divisions should be the ones to check out. Their official websites will give you all the info you'll need to know about what to send to them and how you can be considered.

Hope that helps and good luck to you!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Quick Tip #26

Category: Clothing
For: Male & Female Models

For shoots where the models are asked to bring some of their own wardrobe, it is not uncommon to have the creative director or wardrobe stylist on set have another model wear your clothes and vice-versa. This doesn't happen every single time but it's important to know that the person in charge of making this decision will ask you if it's okay for someone else to wear your clothes, shoes or accessories or if you'd be comfortable wearing something that belongs to someone else. However, it's usually only one article of clothing and not an entire outfit, unless it's a dress or something similar.

If the thought of another person coming into contact with your clothing makes you queasy, focus on the fact that it's a work related thing and will show good sportsmanship if you agree (and besides, that's what washing machines are for). The models hired show up showered and well groomed so it isn't like a filthy stranger is going to be sporting your outfits the entire time.

So don't be shocked if you get asked to swap clothes you've brought with another model or to wear another person's clothes. It's just another part of the modeling business.

Did You Know...? #7

...that if you're in high school and have to miss classes because of a modeling related event (go-see/casting, photoshoot), it is recognized as an excused absence? This means it won't be a negative mark on your record. As long as your parents follow the guidelines set by your school and keep your teachers notified of upcoming absences, students won't have to worry about suffering consequences.

Answering a Reader Question #267

Ashley K Wrote:

How hard is it to become a model? If i give some of my physical look can you answer, because i am interested but dont know how to go about starting modeling while i am still in school. 

Hi, Ashley K! To keep it straight to the point: modeling is very hard. It's even harder to be a successful model who can do it full time. However, the only way to find out if you have a shot is to put yourself out there and submit to modeling agencies who can help you further your career.

You're more than welcome to email me some photos for an evaluation, just as long as you understand that I don't work for or have connections with any agencies, so my opinion on whether you have the right look or not may not be the same viewpoint as the agencies you choose to submit to. But I'd be more than happy to review your images and provide feedback. You can send them to: daniadenise@gmail.com.

As far as modeling while still in school, agencies work with models that are also students all the time. They do their best to work around your school schedule and if you have to miss classes for a day, they are considered excused absences. So you don't need to worry about that affecting your academics. Here's a link to a blog post I did about modeling while in school that will help give you a better idea about balancing the two:

Modeling & School

Hope that helps and good luck to you!

Answering a Reader Question #266

Noelle Wrote:

Hi, Dania. I'm 15 and more likely than not not 5'8" like I've recently dreamed of being ever since I saw Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon. My Dad is either a solid 6'0" or 6'1", but my mom is a severely disppointing -5'0". I will admit that i have fussed over my disapointment in not meeting the height requirements and have (I am sorry to admit) been slightly depressed about "not being good enough" for something so spectacular. I have looked up modeling agencies after having taken the initiative and joining my High School's Modeling Club and (again, sorry to admit) have cried over the fact that there are probably more beautifully petite models than there are beautifully prefered Sumpermodels. But I can't get over the fact that I have more likely than not reached the height requirement to become a Victoria's Secret Model, and, in the future, a Victoria's Secret Angel. I knwo it's time to quit moping around and start working for what I want. (I apologize for slightly venting and now on to my actual question) I would very much liek to know if there is any chance that, even with my not meeting the height requirement, that, if I was the best model I coudl be and signed with the right agencies, would Victoria's Secret quite possibly consider me to be a model? (And yes, I know about the age requirement also, and I've only got 3 years to go, thank God. and sorry for the ridiculously long comment and the more likely than not oddly worded question, lol.) 

Hi, Noelle! No apologies needed for venting...trust me, I've had my tantrums about the whole height issue over the past few years, lol. It is indeed frustrating to know that your options become dramatically reduced when you don't meet the industry's standards. However, I am glad to hear that you're ready to get in gear and try to make the most of things by working with what you have. To date, Victoria's Secret hasn't made any such exceptions for agency represented models that didn't meet the height requirement, among the other criteria. So at this point, I would say that the odds of such a thing happening would be super slim--I never say "impossible" but not likely. Sorry, sweetie. Right now VS has stuck with its magic formula and I doubt they would see any reason to change things the way they are. But I'm sure if a change or exception were to be made, we'd all know about it!

I know that's not the answer you were hoping for but please be encouraged by the fact that if you are currently a height that agencies would represent for modeling, you should go for it and see how far you can take it. Even if you don't become a VS model, if your agent markets you to the right clients, you could end up doing big things for another reputable company/client and establish yourself that way. Remember 5'5"-5'7" is ideal for commercial/print and 5'8"-6'0" is ideal for fashion/runway/editorial...petite modeling has yet to really gain a stronghold to the point where agencies are actively signing them on, although they are out there--it's just not as easy to begin a career in this category.

Good luck!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Answering a Reader Question #265

Carrington Wrote:

Heyy, i am carrington. i am 14 years old and one of mii life long dream is to be a victoria secret angle but now it all crushed :(. only because i also want to study to be a devorce aterney. so the whole going to new york thing (out the picture) i do happen to meet almost all the requierments.
*i am 5'6" and still growing
*i am not anerexic . have wide hips and a great curve.(although i have some streach marks hear and there).
*oh and theres another problem i am only 14 (-__-)... what should i do??

Hey, Carrington! It doesn't seem that VS would be a realistic thing for you to pursue but at your current age and height, you are ideal for commercial/print and teen modeling. Getting signed to modeling agencies that represent these types of models is a great way for you to gain professional experience and build a strong portfolio.

That being said, you should do an online search for modeling agencies in your city/state that are no farther than a 2 hour's drive from where you live. Browse through the official websites of the agencies you find and they will list all of the information you'll need to about how what to submit and how to submit to them. Be sure to send your pictures and info to as many agencies as you can to improve your odds. You're still really young so you've got time to enjoy a regular modeling career before pursuing a serious career as a divorce attorney. Plus, doing commercial/print and teen modeling is safe for you to do that won't harm your image once you are older and become a divorce attorney.

Good luck to you!

Answering a Reader Question #264

CourtneyVR Wrote:

ive wanted to be a VS model since i can remember.im not perfect like the VS models but i am thin.im 17 and only 5'6. do you think i have any chances?any advive? 

Hi, CourtneyVR! Unfortunately, you don't meet the height requirement to be a VS model. At your age, you're more than likely done growing and the minimum height to be signed to Elite and Ford in New York to have a shot at being considered for VS is 5'9", which is actually one inch taller than the standard 5'8" minimum for fashion modeling. Odds are you won't jump an additional 2-3 inches by the time you're 18. :-(

Instead of trying to pursue VS modeling, I would recommend that you look into agencies in your area that represent commercial/print models. This is the type of modeling your height makes you eligible to do. It won't put you on the runway during Fashion Week but it will get you into catalogs, magazine advertisements, billboards and other print publications. So try your hand at getting signed to an agency for commercial/print and see what happens!

Answering a Reader Question #263

Blaire Wrote:

Hey my name is Blaire, im 14, 5,9, 26 inches around the waist and 32 around the hips, and 125 pounds I really want to model but I am really afraid and confused! where do i start! I mean I know I should get a agent and agency but im not stunning and I just dont know if i can do it. How hard will it be to get into an agency? and how hard is it to balance life modeling and for me, school? 

Hi, Blaire! Getting into an agency is very difficult because oftentimes there are many girls and guys all competing to get signed. You definitely have the height and you're just at the minimum age requirement most agencies allow to sign on younger models, so you have that going for you. Remember, if you're interested in doing fashion and runway, you don't have to be stunning like VS models--they are a different type of fashion model. Traditional fashion and runway girls often vary in appearance, from exotic to odd, strange or even "alien" lol. But those are good things, according to what agencies look for. So don't worry about being insecure about how you look...chances are they may be an agency that loves the way you look!

The more agencies you submit to in your area, the better your chances will be of possibly getting signed. Don't just limit yourself to the big agencies, either. Send your pictures and attend open calls for both small and large agencies to improve your odds. If you become an in-demand model and get constant work, it can be challenging to balance school with modeling but it's not impossible. Missing school for modeling gigs are excused absences since it's for work purposes and in most cases, agencies will do their best to work around a student's schedule. They work with school-age models all the time so this is not new to them.

Do an online search for modeling agencies according to the city/state you live in and this will narrow down the results and give you the official websites of agencies in your area. Make sure to visit each agency website, which will give you all the information you need about like what pictures to send, if and when they have open casting calls, etc. You'll want to submit yourself to agencies that are no farther than a 2 hour's drive from where you live.

Hope that helps and good luck to you!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Answering a Reader Question #262

Shayla Wrote:

Hello Dania, I just found your blog and thank you!!! Very helpful. I do have a question tho I'm 33, 5'8". I've had 4 children, however i've lost all the baby weight and was wondering if there might be a slim chance for me? When i was 17 I was offered to go to NY, but I turned it down; not that means anything now. Anyway, again thank you!!

Hi, Shayla! I'm glad my blog has been helpful to you! :-)

At your age, you'd be ideal for what is known as lifestyle/print/mature modeling. You've got the height for fashion but unfortunately, your age won't give you the opportunity to be on a high fashion runway (fashion agencies typically cut off the age requirement at 21 or 22). But like I said, many of these same agencies also have lifestyle and commercial/print divisions and because you are tall, I would think you could book a lot of work, especially if your physical appearance is one that would be highly marketable to clients. Doing these categories of modeling won't put you on a catwalk in Milan or New York but it will give you the chance to appear in magazines, catalogs, advertisements, product packaging, billboards and other print media. Depending on your look, you'll more than likely be cast as a "mom," "businesswoman," "wife," "girlfriend", etc.

I would recommend looking online for the websites of modeling agencies that are no farther than a 2 hour's drive from where you live. Make sure they have any of all of the following divisions:

- Commercial/Print
- Lifestyle
- Mature

I hope that helps and good luck to you! If you need help finding agencies to submit to, feel free to send an email to: daniadenise@gmail.com

Addressing a Reader Comment #7

Janasha Wrote:

I would love to become a VS Angel really.I think it shouldn't matter how tall you are because once you step into your heals your going to get tall anyways so why would it matter.I know that im going to be short , but I would love to become a VS Model its every girls dream and that dream is mine's. 

Hi, Janasha! Unfortunately, until the modeling industry says otherwise, height does matter. Even if a short model wears 5-6 inch Stilettos to give her some height, the other models that are naturally tall will still tower over shorter models because they, too, will be wearing high heels. In fashion shows and similar projects where the models all appear next to each other, they're always going to want the models to be uniformly similar in height.

While I don't agree with the whole height requirement aspect to modeling, these standards have been in place for decades and take a long time to change enough to where much shorter models will have the same opportunities as the taller models. What you have to understand is that modeling, including VS modeling, is a business that makes millions/billions of dollars a year.

They keep things the way they are because so far it has continued to make profits for everyone involved. Sadly, what many aspiring/newbie models do not understand or fail to realize is that the people that hire models do not do so to make the model's dream come true--it's so they can hope to make the most money off of them, among other reasons.

It's not fair but it is the reality that all models have to work within. It's nice that VS modeling is a major dream/goal of yours but it won't be a realistic one to pursue unless the VS company changes its height requirements, which it won't anytime soon, unfortunately. However, I would advise that you find the right kind of modeling that your height qualifies you for and try to break into the industry that way.

Remember, you'll get better results by working with what you have instead of wishing for what you don't. If you focus all your efforts on trying to be a VS model when you know they won't accept you because of your shorter stature, you'll be missing opportunities and overlooking agencies that represent models of your height (I don't know how tall you are but if you're 5'5"-5'7" you're ideal for commercial/print).

Answering a Reader Question #261

Anonymous Wrote:

HI, how does one get into being a pinks model? im 14 and love lengerai modeling :) and would really like to get into it. 

Hello, Anonymous! To be a Pink model you first have to be a regular VS model. So that means you have to meet the requirements that were listed in my post about becoming a Victoria's Secret model. You'll have to wait until you're at least 18 before you can be considered for VS/Pink modeling and make sure to meet the height and size requirements, as well as the agency representation part as well. Please refer back to the VS post you commented on, which lists the detailed requirements you'll need to know.

As far as regular lingerie modeling, you also need to be at least 18 years of age to do this type of modeling so you've got a few more years to go. :-)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Want to Be a Victoria's Secret Model? Part 2 - FAQs

I can't even begin to tell you how many emails and blog post comments I've received because of my one blog post about how to become a Victoria's Secret model. In fact, I was seriously considering deleting the post, not because I don't care about or don't want to help others try to become VS models but mainly because SO MANY readers DID NOT read the blog post closely enough before sending me tons of questions about stuff that is literally right there in the content.

If this applies to you, please don't be offended...I'm not mad at you and it's not like I never want you to contact me again...it's just that for a while there it got really discouraging to have to answer the same things over and over when all people have to do is read the blog post carefully. That's all. It's like someone asking, "How do I submit my pictures to Elite?" when their computer screen is on the Elite website page and it says, "Here is how to submit your pictures to Elite." Get it? :-)

But don't worry, I plan on keeping my VS post up. However, I have decided to do another, more updated post that speaks directly to what so many reader questions are centered around. I don't know how much more plainly I can speak about the requirements to be a VS model so I'm hoping this easy to read FAQ type of blog post helps to get the message across in a very clear way.

Okay so here we go...here are some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to wanting to be a Victoria's Secret model:

Q: Can I become a VS model if I'm short?
A: NO. Nada. Nope. Period. Sorry. You HAVE to be fashion/runway height.

Q: Doesn't VS make any exceptions to their requirements?
A: Rarely. They've had success for many years by sticking to the requirements already in place so they're not likely to change things up if they don't need to.

Q: I don't want to move to New York. Can I still be a VS model?
A: No. You have to be signed to Elite, Ford or another top fashion agency in the New York market as a first step to possibly being a VS model. You don't have to work/live in New York full time but you have to be signed to an agency in that market.

Q: But there are VS models that don't live in New York or are signed to other agencies. Why do they get to be VS models and not me?
A: 99.9% of the models that don't fall under the VS requirements that I've stated in my other blog post are already successful and world-known models/supermodels. Because they're already famous, it makes sense for VS to make an exception for them. This does NOT apply to new/undiscovered models.

Q: How do I become a Pink Model for VS?
A: In order to be a Pink model you have to be a regular VS model so the same requirements apply. There is no separate requirement or submission process for Pink models. Despite Pink seeming to target teen/younger models, you have to be 18 to be a Pink Model (Chanel Iman even had to wait until she reached the minimum age before she started doing Pink and other VS work).

Q: How do I become a VS Angel?
A: VS Angels are a select few that are the actual spokesmodels for the brand/company. You have to become a regular VS model first through the requirements I've listed below. All Angels first start off as regular VS models. After they've been working as this type of model for a while (no specific time frame), it is up to the main recruiters at VS to decide who they will promote to Angel status.

Q: Why do I have to be signed to Elite or Ford in New York?
A: I don't know how things came to be that way but these two agencies have an arrangement with VS to be the first two places where new faces for Victoria's Secret are scouted out of. After VS does castings at these two, then they'll consider models from other New York fashion agencies.

Q: So if I get signed to an agency other than Ford or Elite in New York, does that mean I can't be a model for VS?
A: It decreases your chances of being submitted to a VS casting but it doesn't eliminate you altogether. As long as the New York agency you're signed with is well known in that market and gives you exposure through the work they book you, it's possible you could still be considered.

Q: How do I apply to VS to become a model for them?
A: You don't "apply" and VS is not your employer that you go directly through. VS is just a client who uses modeling agencies to find the models they want. That being said, the only way to get to VS is to FIRST GET SIGNED TO ELITE OR FORD in order to have the best chance. 

Q: Will VS like my look?
A: I don't know because you'll first have to hope that Elite or Ford in New York likes your look. Again, you've got to get signed to an agency first so in the beginning, it's not about what VS is looking for, it's about what Elite and Ford, followed by the other top fashion agencies (if you don't get signed to Elite or Ford) are looking for. If your physical appearance and build is good enough for these agencies, chances are it could also work for VS. Your agency will submit you if they know you stand a good chance at being booked for this type of work.

Q: How tall do I actually have to be?
A: I did some researching and while traditional fashion/runway agencies want their models to be at least 5'8", if you're applying to Ford and Elite in New York, they actually raised the minimum height requirement to 5'9". Yup, they raised the bar. So if you're 5'8", you've automatically become the industry's version of 5'7", where that one inch could make you ineligible to submit to these agencies. That being said, 5'8" models hoping to do VS work don't have to give up on this dream but just know that Elite and Ford are looking for 5'9" girls initially so you'll have to be an exceptional 5'8" model with a look these agencies can't afford to pass up. Unfortunately, this also dramatically decreases the chances for models that are 5'7". One inch may be easy to overlook for the right girl but if it's two inches AND you're trying to get signed in the New York market, you have to be Kate Moss exceptional.

Q: I'm 15, 16, 17 years old...can I model for VS?
A: NO. You must be at least 18 years old.

Q: I want to be a VS model but I don't live in the USA. What can I do?
A: I would highly recommend trying to get signed to Ford or Elite if they have those agencies in your country. Getting signed to them could give you a chance to be placed for work in New York, where you could then be considered for VS. Plan B (if there is no Ford or Elite in your country or if you don't end up getting signed by them), is to sign with another top fashion agency in your country that places its models in other markets/locations so that you can try to get the opportunity to work in New York. 

Q: But, but, but, but...but
A: I'm sorry, when it comes to VS modeling requirements, there are very little "buts" that will result in a different outcome or answer. If you don't meet the bare minimum of the requirements listed, you cannot become a serious candidate for VS. Exceptions are made very very rarely so if you currently do not fit those requirements to a tee or know that you won't in the near future, then this is not going to be a realistic goal for you to pursue.

To drive the point further home, I'm going to relist what the requirements are to become a VS model here:
  1. Be between the ages of 18-30 (yes, you read right...you can be a bit older. Trust me, I did the research and know it to be true. Of course the younger you are, the better).
  2. Be signed to Elite or Ford in the New York market. OR signed to another top fashion agencies in New York. Other locations do NOT count!
  3. Be between 5'8" - 6'0" in height. HOWEVER to get signed to Elite or Ford in New York, their minimum height requirement is 5'9" so you'll have to be exceptional if you're 5'8" and hoping to get signed to either of these agencies.
  4. Have a curvy but still slim/slender build.
  5. Be within the industry standards, measurement-wise: 34-24-34 or smaller. You can only be one inch larger in any of these areas. (If you're going to debate with me about how VS models are much curvier than fashion models, please don't because I'll simply give you the stats of the VS models who--despite appearing much thicker--actually have the same/similar measurements of traditional runway models...again, there are exceptions to the rule but they're not the norm).