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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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Answering a Reader Question #308

Candy Wrote:

Hi Dania,

I came across your blog when searching for tax information. I have been on the IRS site for hours and can't seem to find the form that I need to file as a freelance model working overseas.

I have been reading quite a bit and have not found my answer, so I thought I would go ahead and ask you:)

I read your blog on taxes that was written back in 2009. The only answer I was not able to find on that blog was what tax form was used to file your taxes.

I hope you are able to help me:) 

Hi, Candy! I hope I'm able to help you, too. :-)

There is no specific tax form in order for you to file as a freelance model working overseas. As you may or may not know, in the USA, clients often ask models to fill out a W9, which allows them to then send the models they've worked with a 1099 form for their tax filing purposes for that year. However, in other countries, they operate very differently and forms like the W9 and 1099 may not even exist over there. While I have not modeled overseas, I have provided writing services to a company that was based in Switzerland. When tax season came around, I emailed them to ask for the form I could use for my taxes. It was at that time they informed me that no such forms or tax documents existed in their country so they could not provide me with that information.

That being said, what you will have to do (and what I have been doing since I've been freelance modeling) is report your earnings to the IRS by turning in any of the following documentation to whoever will be doing your taxes:
  • Paycheck stubs showing the amount(s) you've earned from your overseas clients
  • Copies of any invoices you used to bill clients directly
  • Copies of the check(s) you've deposited into your bank account (I don't know what bank you use but I have Bank of America and their online banking services have a feature where I can look up a scanned copy of any checks I've deposited, which I can then print a hard copy of, if needed)
As long as you report the money you've made and have the documentation to show for it, that should be enough to sufficiently take care of your taxes in lieu of having the tax forms. Please note that this info I've given you is based on my own experiences and research but is not meant to replace actual tax advice from a professional tax expert. Hope that's helpful!

Interview with Paul Fisher About His New TV Show "Remodeled" on CW

I love my job because not only do I get to participate in fun shoots, shows and projects, I get to network with some amazing people. A while back I did a feature on Paul Fisher, who has represented some of the industry's top supermodels...well, he's back and with a new TV show that is actually premiering on the CW tomorrow, February 1 at 9PM (PST). "REMODELED" gives people an inside look into the industry from Paul's perspective as he and his crew aim to completely change the modeling world from the inside out.

I had the opportunity to interview Paul and find out more about his mission and the steps he's taking to reach his goals...

DD: After leading such a long, successful career in the modeling industry, why have you decided to take action now to change things? What prompted you to take things into your own hands through projects like "Remodeled?"

PF: It was not an easy decision to allow the cameras into our business. I started on a journey with my team to empower and connect hometown modeling agencies in 150 cities around the world. These agencies are the ones who are and have been discovering the stars of the modeling world. Our company, The Network, gives agencies in secondary markets the tools to create a star they discover.

More importantly, I wanted to create an environment that was safe for young people entering our business.  What better way than to become the largest modeling network in the world, which I think we are now. I wanted to bring health and wellness to the modeling industry and to stress the importance of giving back (social responsibility and volunteering) to the models.

DD: In your opinion, what do you feel are the three most common mistakes local agencies make when it comes to representing their models?

PF: First, they often give away their power. They don’t realize the magnitude of what they can do - that that they can accomplish great things for their talent. They have the power to not just discover talent, but to create a star. Usually, they just do not realize they have this power. I try to help these agencies see if a major designer or magazine thinks a kid is the bomb, they don’t care where the kid comes from or who they have to call to book the kid. So why not develop the stars you discover, instead of giving them away to bigger east or west coast agencies?

Second, most agents big and small let successes go to their head. It is our egos, telling us we are so called "power agents," that tell us a model succeeded because of us. If a young person is suppose to become a great model, I believe it will happen, no matter what. We need to keep our egos in check.

Finally, local agencies sometimes don't put a model's photos in front of the right people. The job of an agent is "if" they think a potential model has "it," they need to introduce the model's photos to as many "top" people in the industry that they know. And then, pray someone freaks out about the kid. If they do, Bam! You have a star. Not brain surgery.  Just have the "belief" to start at the top! Versus at the bottom. One booking can create a star if handled properly.

DD: You have an extensive history in working with high fashion models/supermodels. Will "Remodeled" only focus on agencies and the fashion world or will you also be spotlighting agencies with commercial/print, petite, plus size, teen divisions?

PF: Great question. You will see an episode on a teen division, what we call a New Faces division, but I don’t want to give too much away. It's reallllly cool. It focuses on an agency in the Midwest who needs to re-focus its energy on new faces. There are some elements of the show where we deal a little bit with commercials and commercial print, but overall, it is more focused on high fashion. Kaela, one of The Network's New Faces, was featured in our first episode and is a plus size model - but by the way, I HATE the phrase "plus size." I would rather call it "curves," or "healthy women." Plus size suggests some "above normal" size, which is grossly inaccurate. 

DD: What are supermodels missing today that makes them so different from the supermodels of the '80s and '90s?

PF: When the Conde Naste & Hearst publishing companies took away the covers of their magazines from models, and instead, 11 months of the year, chose only to use celebrities on their covers, it made it much harder to turn a model into a true household brand name. How many supermodels can the average public name today? Giselle? Kate Moss? Adriana Lima? These aren't even the stars of today's world. And that is my point... The day of the true supermodel has come and gone, and only will come back when the magazines put models on the covers at least four times a year instead of once a year. I also think today's "currency" is social media and we at The Network see a void in models capitalizing on their online presence / followers. We are starting to assist our models to monetize and build their online brand.

DD: What has been your biggest challenge in trying to transform the modeling industry for the better?

PF: I have learned that the only way we know if we are on the right path is if a path is full of challenges. If this is true, which I believe it is, me and my team are on the right path. Many challenges. Transforming one's business is one thing; try being a part of transforming an industry. An industry, by the way, that is controlled by some very serious, smart, gifted, and very rich people.

To be a part of this change, I need to create a platform that can unify a voice, A voice of change.  I felt by having the largest modeling network in the world, people would start to listen to us. We are just beginning, but we are gaining steam.

Right out of the gate, one of the issues was, if there were only five agencies as a part of our Network, it wouldn’t really be a Network. So we had to go from zero agencies to twenty agencies very quickly. Then, twenty agencies to forty agencies... Now, The Network is a community of modeling agencies from all over the world. Our agencies share models with each other and work closely together, which has never been done before in this industry.

Finally... financing. It's easy to find financing for a modeling business, if you don't care where the money comes from. A lot of rich guys want to be around the most beautiful people in the world. It was hard to find people who believed in our mission to create an army of "role models" - to bring health, wellness and giving back into the consciousness of models all over the world. That was tough.

DD: What is your definition of the "next generation of supermodels?"

PF: The next generation of supermodels are models who transcend our business, like Andrej, the model who works as a male and female model. Also, models who use their modeling as a "stepping stone" - a platform, to build their brand, like Ala, Tyra and Heidi. Use modeling to get your name out there, and then monetize that name into a brand. That is the new supermodel - a business woman. I also think models who build their brand and online following are very smart; they can alter trends and take advantage of the ability to create and influence a following. 

DD: How long do you think your mission will take to have an effect that will be noticed (and implemented) on a larger scale within the industry?

PF: My dream is to be sitting front row at Calvin or Chanel show within the next two years - designers I admire so much - and see them using sexy, beautiful girls with curves vs "kids" weighing 110 pounds. We as company are in a rush, but it is impossible to predict how quickly we will have an impact. We think what we are doing is very important because it deals with how young women all over the world view themselves. We are speaking of important issues - body issues, depression issues, eating disorder issues, etc.  I hope an effect will happen tomorrow and the next day and the next day... I hope our show Remodeled resonates with people, I hope people get addicted to it, and I hope our viewers and fans will take away from it the desire to never settle and the desire to be great.

DD: If "Remodeled" wasn't on your plate, what would you be doing with your time/career/experience?

PF: Well you have to know that Remodeled is a show about our business, The Network, Our company oversees a community of modeling agencies around the world. Our day to day business involves teaching, training, and giving these agencies the tools they need to truly create stars. We also have an online magazine for our agencies, our models and the public, www.networktalent.com, which has incredible articles on fashion and health, videos and blogs from our models around the world, and live chats with me, other Remodeled stars and Network experts.

The Network, our company, has approximately 50 modeling and talent agencies around the world, and together, our agencies represent more models than any other agency or network of agencies in the world.  Our agencies represent approximately 12,000 models in total, many of whom are quite successful, working for brands and campaigns such as Versace, Calvin, Prada... the very best.

DD: What has been the feedback from your peers within the fashion/modeling industry (other agencies, models, photographers, etc.) about your mission to "Remodel" the industry?

PF: Mixed feelings, I think. I have asked most of my close friends and peers to hold off judgement until they see at least six episodes. I feel the show gets cooler and cooler and cooler. I am very proud of the show.  I am very humbled that The CW Network, Sony TV and Fly on the Wall Entertainment would think I was an interesting enough characture to do a show about.  I have received some calls, emails and text from people who really appreciated my straight-forwardness; others loved the rawnesss and the fact that it is real. Then again, some modeling school friends weren't too happy with me because of last week's show, when I let people know my feelings about modeling schools. 

DD: The whole issue as to whether or not it is acceptable/okay to "pay" agencies for things like development classes, workshops, training, photoshoots, etc. continues to be hugely debated. In your professional opinion, what is your take on the whole notion of paying agencies for such services?

PF: Being a model is like opening your own business. They are business's unto themselves. There is NO business in the world that you can open without any 'startup' money whatsoever. There is always a cost to open a new business. Each model should look at it that way. There are costs... but those costs should not really involve "training," per say. Photos, yes, absolutely. Composites, a portfolio or two, an online portfolio, things like that... Just have good digitals of yourself taken and have your photos seen by real agencies. Period!  go to thenetworktalent.com  a good way to get scouted, by real agencies…

But should it cost thousands of dollars? No. Could a good set of test photos in certain cities cost $500? Yes. Could you pay $30 or $40 a month to have an online portfolio at an agency so they can market you to clients? Absolutely. The last thing we want to teach young, so-called pretty people is that if you are pretty, people should just give you things for free. When success is earned, and appreciated, it will last. Don’t get me started!

DD: How does your "tough love" demeanor gets results?

PF: My job is not to be everyone's best friend. I have an incredible staff who are experts and former power agents from the top agencies in the world who are very nice.. Very, very nice. My job is to assist agencies to reach their maximum potential. To push them to "want" to become great at what they set out to do in the first place, which is create stars and earn a good living in a tough economy. Tough love, passion, intensity... I know my style is not for everyone. But I mean what I say to these smaller agencies: "Become great." We are only in this physical world for a short time; why not be great? Really great. While you are here...

DD: What would your response be to those in the modeling industry that think things should stay as they are?

PF: In my opinion, people are either part of the solution or part of the problem. People either have a desire for the self alone or a desire to share with others. If one cannot see the responsibility that our industry has, they are blind. We have youth in our hands. That is a huge responsibility. We put out images into the world that young people think are real, and these same kids judge themselves based upon these images. This is a huge responsibility. Models used to be 8% under the normal girls weight 20 years ago. We are now 23% under. You tell me.

Modeling Scam Alert Update: They're Getting Smarter!!!

(If you haven't done so already, PLEASE read my blog post "Modeling Scam Alert" first, which will put this modeling scam alert update into better perspective for you.)

Boy, I tell ya, these scammers are doing everything they can to entice gullible and naive models into bad situations. If you read my post about the Modeling Scam Alert, you'll know that these guys will do whatever they can to convince models that their assignment is legitimate, will give them tons of exposure and a huge paycheck.

Well, they've stepped up their game--how do I know this? They "almost" got me. By that, I mean, my scammer spidey sense started tingling but I pursued the opportunity a bit further to make sure I was right. What really confirmed my suspicions was that the dummies actually tried to scam me twice...after receiving the first "reply offer" via email, a few days later I got another offer for a different modeling assignment BUT the body of the message was almost exactly the same as the first one...the only thing that was different was the name of the client and the "photographer" in charge of the shoot. To add the cherry on top, both projects were scheduled for the SAME WEEKEND in February! Needless to say, I don't believe in those kinds of coincidences.

Their posting online seemed regular enough but after I submitted, the email correspondence that followed began to smell a bit fishy to me...but don't worry, I didn't get scammed and I didn't lose out on any money. Below are some points that show the scammers are getting smarter by tweaking their offer so that it doesn't resembles their scams of the past (be on the lookout for these signs when submitting yourself to freelance modeling opportunities):

They're Using Legit Designers as the So-Called Client, Instead of Magazine Publications

In the past, I've gotten this scammer offer that was disguised as a legit opportunity to work with a popular fitness magazine. Well, the scammers must know that while working with publications like magazines are all well and good, models get more excited about opportunities to work with actual designers.

The reply I got back from the so-called casting, claimed that the chosen models would be working with a famous jewelry designer. I looked up the name of the jewelry designer mentioned in the message--she does exist but I'm pretty sure she doesn't know that her name and business are being associated with this scam (I've already contacted her company's customer service to alert them of the situation).

They Have An Explanation for Their Bad Grammar

Remember how I mentioned before that emails with exceedingly poor grammar is sometimes a sign of a scammer? Well, these guys now have a way to explain why their email message is written so awkwardly--they state that they are from another country, which is why their written English isn't very good. How convenient (that's sarcasm, btw).

A few paragraphs up in this post I had mentioned that the scammers sent me two different offers...in the first reply offer email, the "photographer" said he was originally from Spain and that's why this English wasn't very good. In the second reply offer email, that "photographer" explained that he was from Germany and didn't have a good grasp of written English. Really? Gimme a break!

They Use An Actual Model Release Form to Get Your Info

In the past, the body of the email would contain a very sloppily formatted list of info the scammers required models to fill out in order to send them part of the upfront payment for their services. The weird formatting was a dead giveaway that it was copied and pasted into the email, which allows the scammers to send out email blasts without having to retype everything.

They've since learned from that mistake and now include an attachment, which is titled "Contract" or "Contract Agreement Form." It asks for your name, date of birth, mailing address, email address, contact info and stats/measurements. It looks pretty legit at first glance--it even names the client and the title of the shoot project, as well as contains clauses that describe the duties of the Model and the Client, including the payment arrangement.

What it all boils down to is that they've learned a new way to repackage crap. You can put poop into a nice fancy box with a colorful ribbon but at the end of the day, it's still poop.

They Contact You to Check In on the Status of Your Submission

Whenever I submit myself to freelance modeling opportunities, I include my cell phone number. It's a business decision and so far I haven't had any issues...most times I'm dealing with real clients anyway and they need to have a way to contact me aside from email. Well, the first "photographer" that sent me the reply offer email actually texted me to see if I had received the Contract Agreement form. I couldn't believe it at first. I ignored the text. It's a scam anyway so why should I care that he's waiting on me to reply back?

They've Got Personality

The scammers want to gain your trust so they'll add in little tidbits of information about themselves to make you feel like you "know" them. The first photographer (from Spain) told me in great detail about the name of his wife, how long they've been married and the names of his children. What does that have to do with anything related to the modeling assignment? Sure, I befriend photographers I work with all the time but they've never volunteered intimate info in this way before ever even meeting me.

The scammer also gave me some brief background on the jewelry designer, where she was born, her career highlights, etc. While that was nice, the info he provided was taken right from a Wikipedia article about the designer. I almost died from laughter when I found that out.

They Don't Mention Sending Your Advanced Payment to Anyone

They do this on purpose so you aren't immediately onto their scam. They'll instead wait for you to confirm that you received the money and from there will further instruct you as to what to do with the funds. Just because they don't mention it doesn't mean it's not gonna happen.

They Create Actual Online Profiles on Social Networking Sites

Before, the scammers used to find models online and contact them directly with their offer. But they've learned that raises red flags so they've gotten with the program and now post legit looking casting calls on social networking sites like Facebook, Model Mayhem, etc.

They go out of their way to upload photos, write a little blurb about themselves and whatever else they need to do so that they're free to post castings, in the hopes that unsuspecting models will reply. These fake profiles don't stay up too long though and are typically deleted after a few days. They end up just creating new ones anyway with different names and photos, which keeps the scam fresh and hard to trace back.

Despite these new approaches, many of the core elements of the scam have remained the same:
  •  They want to hire models for their seemingly "huge" modeling opportunities without ever meeting the models face-to-face through a casting
  • They Promise big payouts (the first offer I got was for $2,000 and the second was for $1,500)
  • They explain that they'll mail the upfront, advanced payment to the model (no legit casting/client I've come across has EVER given a model an advance on the money BEFORE the shoot)
  • They mention that the shoot will take place in a "rented studio" (this is a specific phrase they use in their messages) that is conveniently located near the city/state where the model lives. They add this part in so that it makes sense to the model when the scammer asks them to take some of the money they've mailed them for the upfront payment in order to send it to the "studio manager" to hold the venue for the shoot. Only thing is, the studio manager doesn't exist and no actual shoot is ever going to happen.
The way the scammers "get you" is that the funds used for the advanced payment they mail are actually stolen funds from a random person's bank account. The model receives the payment--usually in the form of a money order--and is then asked to send the money to the studio manager. The bank won't be alerted of the stolen funds right away so it provides a window of time for the scam to operate.

The model then cashes the money order, deposits it into his/her account and sends off the percentage required to the fake studio manager, who is actually part of the scam. Because it isn't smart to mail cash, models will typically write a check for the required amount, unless they're asked to wire the funds over. The scammers get away with the real money and you're left with no client or shoot to participate in.

Models, if you get any offer similar to the one I've described above and/or in my other post about this subject, delete it and don't even bother responding. If you have to reply back, just tell them that you're no longer available to participate in the opportunity, then ignore/delete any further correspondence and they'll eventually stop contacting you.

Latest Shoot: Dating Website

Last Saturday I had a shoot that definitely makes my list of "Most Fun Gigs." It was pretty much a lifestyle shoot. The images were for a new dating website (we won't know the actual name of the site until everything's ready to go), which focuses on the interracial dating niche.

There were 8 models total: 4 girls, 4 guys. We were assigned our "significant others" that morning, although a few of us were switched around or photographed with more than one partner, to add variety.

Call-time was 10AM in San Francisco, off the Embarcadero, which is right next to the water and the Bay Bridge. I was super excited that the weather was amazingly gorgeous--totally sunny and (for once) not bitterly windy. I arrived early as usual and eventually the models showed up one by one. I was happy that everyone was very social, outgoing and fun...by the time the production crew showed up, all the models felt like we'd known each other for years. I love it when that happens...it makes the job so much easier!

Everyone introduced themselves to each other, then the project director passed out the model release forms for us to fill out. The photographer also took pictures of our photo IDs in order to make sure that everyone was 18+ (this is a standard practice for some shoots, which companies sometimes require for legal purposes).

After the paperwork was out of the way, we were given a shot-sheet, which had reference images of the types of poses we'd be doing. Basically, they were looking for natural, candid poses and a few staged poses. We were supposed to be a couple out on a date (remember, the images are for a dating website) so we had to be comfortable with hugging, holding hands, kisses on the cheek, etc. Definitely rated G stuff (no makeout fests or anything). I managed to shoot some behind the scenes footage...check it out:

My boyfriend for the day was a male model named Paul. Since the photographer was only able to shoot one couple at a time, the rest of us kicked back and socialized with one another. Me and Paul got along right away and I was happy to know he wasn't shy about pretending to be a couple. There was also a video element to the shoot as well.

The actual client was on location and he explained to us that they wanted to use video footage to add some variety to the site. We were given a small handheld camera, which we were supposed to use to videotape each other, as if we were a regular couple shooting footage to upload to Facebook. It wasn't supposed to be perfect or anything--they wanted us to be as natural/believable as possible so me and Paul were totally goofy, blowing kisses to each other, pretending to take a still photo of ourselves with the camera, etc.

Here are some candid pictures from the shoot (these aren't the actual images from the shoot itself...some I took using my camera and others were taken by one of the crew):

A candid taken during our lunch break. Yes, he really did put his foot up on purpose for the picture. We were a silly bunch!
Nikki and Shaye playing the role of the happy couple (even though they look super serious right here, haha...don't worry, they were in between shots).
Remember my "hurry up and wait" post about modeling? This is a prime example, lol. A few of the other models hanging out, waiting their turn. All that extra crap in the background is our stuff. That's what happens when you shoot on location!
We did two looks: casual/date wear and sporty wear. The casual/date wear was the first look and after a few hours of shooting, we took a break for lunch at a local restaurant. Once we were re-energized, everyone changed into sporty gear and took turns shooting still images with the photographer and using the handheld video camera to capture action shots of our pretend "dates."

The whole day was so much fun and we laughed the entire time. Everyone got along and there were no divas, attitudes or issues...thankfully! We even finished early, which was awesome. At the end of the shoot, we got our checks and everyone exchanged numbers/business cards so that we could keep in touch--especially to let each other know if we came across our images on the dating website(s).

I'm hoping the client will email us to let us know when the photos and site are live...from what we were told, our images will be used as web banners, pop ups and of course the video stuff, as well. All in all, it was the most fun I've had on a Saturday doing modeling and I'm glad I got to make even more new friends in the business. To top it off, the makeup artist was a girlfriend of mine that I went to college with...I hadn't seen her in over 5 years! Talk about a small world!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Latest Fashion Show: Spring 2012 Bridal Season

This past Sunday was the first show of the Spring 2012 Bridal Season for the production company I've been working with for the past 2 years, Brocade Weddings. As always, there was a lot of changes as far as casting decisions, designer choices, etc.

I helped the model coordinator with casting new faces for the season, which took place about a month ago so I was eager to see who ended up making the cut (I wasn't a part of the selection process...my role was to take the models in small groups, introduce myself and explain what the bridal shows were all about. Then I demonstrated the type of "walk" the casting panel wanted to see, so that the models would know exactly what to expect when they went into the room to audition).

This season, the designer wanted to include more plus size brides (her boutique specializes in plus size fashions), so we had a really great mix of all heights, shapes, sizes, ages and ethnicities. After all, we're marketing the clothes to "real" people and that's what I love about doing these shows in particular.

So fast forward to this past Sunday: the first show of the season took place at one of The Marriott locations in the South Bay Area (that's in Northern California for those of you that aren't from California). Out of the group, there were about 5 female models that were returning from previous seasons and the rest were newbies. Luckily, we managed to keep the majority of our male models from last season but had two new additions to the group (who we welcomed with open arms into our family, btw).

As per the routine, everyone got into the lines for hair and makeup, followed by doing a rehearsal on stage. Then it was back to finish up hair and makeup, as well as check our wardrobe to make sure all of our dresses were there (fittings took place about 2 weeks before the actual show). Unfortunately, my favorite dress out of the bunch wasn't there because it ended up getting sold...I was SO sad because I was really planning to rock that dress on the stage, lol. But I got a replacement so I wasn't short a dress. Below are some fun flicks from the event:

This is during the "Vogue" scene, where the models come out one by one but remain on stage and strike a new pose each time someone else comes out. I'm always the last model, who comes in acting like a total diva. I strut my stuff and then yell out, "Ladies!!! 1, 2, 3, Vogue!" And then they all pose one last time...I wink at the audience, then lead them off stage. This dress was a huge hit with the crowd...I can't even tell you what an adrenaline rush it was to feed off of the crowd's energy during this scene. I got so many compliments about the dress that I was told to wear it again in the second show for this scene--I was originally supposed to wear something else, lol.
Me and one of my fave models to work with, Jennifer. We totally didn't plan to both have a black and white outfit for the finale scene...guess it was meant to be!
Walking out with one of our flower girl models/newbie, Beyonce (yes, that is her name). She was really shy at first but she did her thing!
Part of the opening scene...it was my first time being paired with Les, who is one of the male models from the previous seasons. He's such a doll.
That's right, we dance down the runway for the scene right before the finale. It's nice to let loose on stage!
Showing off a "destination" style wedding dress during the third scene.
The turnout was really great...the place was packed and the first show went well...although the last scene for the finale got a bit bungled because we weren't able to do a full rehearsal of that scene (we got kicked off the stage because the bridal fair was opening the doors to the guests and it would have been tacky for us to be on stage at the same time).

The newbies weren't familiar with the choreography that the rest of us were used to doing, so it didn't go over too well. But the feedback from the crowd was still positive. Many people said they could tell something wasn't right but it didn't make them think negatively about the show's performance overall. To make sure that same thing didn't happen at the end of the second show, the model coordinator ended up having rehearsal for that scene backstage in the hallway near our changing rooms. Thankfully, everyone nailed it during the second show.

Aside from that snafu (and a few wardrobe malfunctions), I was very proud of our new models. Not all the people chosen from the casting were at this first show because we can't use everybody all at the same time, so I'm looking forward to meeting the rest of the new additions at the other shows coming up.

As always, I enjoy participating in the bridal shows and was happy to find out that I will be the finale bride for the next show in late February. I'll be reunited with my partner/groom from last season, Sam, and I can't wait...we totally rock on stage together and he is so much fun to play off of.

Answering a Reader Question #307

Ashley Wrote:

First off, great blog.

My name is Ashley.
I'm 21, five foot ten and within the standard parameters of a model.
I have been told that I look like I am 16. Recently I sent some photos to a reputable agency and received a call back for an "interview".

My concern is, do you think I would still be able to do runway at my age?

It makes me nervous because I know runway is very competitive for african-american females.


Hey, Ashley! Congrats on getting an agency interview! 22 is the maximum age for most fashion agencies so you just make the cut. That being said, I wouldn't consider you too old, especially if you look younger. Perhaps the only criticism you may receive is that you may be too "old" (I'm using that word VERY loosely) to begin a runway career. However, you shouldn't be too worried about that because as long as you are a fast learner, develop a great walk and have the right measurements and look that designers want, you'll book work and won't have any problems.

So ace your interview and cross your fingers that you'll get offered a contract! Good luck!!!

Answering a Reader Question #306

Natalia Julianna Wrote:

hi Dania my name is Natalia and im only 5'1" tall....my passion is modeling and i know i have tlent and the drive to succeed as a model...i cant find any agencies or talent scouts willing to give me a chance because i am so short !! do you have any advice or anytihng i can do to make it ? this is my dream and i dont want to let it go simply because I am not tall enough.

Hi, Natalia! It is tough being a shorter model, especially at your height and I'm sorry that you haven't come across anyone willing to give you a shot so far. Freelance modeling will more than likely be your best bet. This allows you to act at your own agent by finding castings and gigs and submitting yourself to them directly. Many clients that hire freelance models have projects where the height requirement isn't so strict, which could give you more opportunities to look into. Being a freelance model is tough but not impossible. Below are links to blog posts I've done about freelance modeling, which could help you decide if this is something you want to pursue.

What is Freelance Modeling?

Freelance Modeling: Pros & Cons

Answering a Reader Question #305

Maia Wrote:

I am going to be modeling in a runway show where the proceeds go to fund a safehouse for people who have run away from human trafficking. I am modeling the finale look and have to pose with my wrists at 90 degrees (designer's choice) I have to have eight standing poses. Do you have ideas for me? Thanks so much. I love your blog.
ps. the designer is trying to make black nails an awareness symbol of trafficking like the pink ribbon is an awareness symbol of breast cancer. Think you could pass this along?

Hi there, Maia! That is a really great cause that you're participating in! I'll Tweet about it and spread the word about the black nail/trafficking awareness you mentioned (this post will also be public to my readers, which will also help spread the word). That's interesting that the designer wants you to do 8 poses with your wrists at 90 degrees...hmm...well, since it is a runawy show, you'll basically want to create dynamic poses by changing your stance/position on the stage. For example, one pose could be you facing the crowd face on, then turning to your left for a 3/4 stance, then turning to your right for another 3/4 stance. You could also do a stance where you are posing with your back to the crowd, where you're looking over your shoulder. You could also try leaning your weight on one leg and bending your other leg slightly at the knee, then switching sides and doing the same thing. There is also the option of doing an online image search to see if there are any additional standing poses that would be similar to what you'll be doing.

I hope that helps...I know you'll knock 'em dead! Good luck!

Answering a Reader Question #304

Anonymous Wrote:

will i make it as a model ? im 5ft 6' and ive got braces ???

Hey, Anonymous! Your height and the fact that you have braces isn't enough info for me to tell you whether or not you could be a model. However, at your height, I can tell you that you'll want to look into agencies that have commercial/print modeling divisions. It's best to look up the websites of modeling agencies in your city/state and submit your photos/info or attend their open casting calls. Only the agencies themselves will be able to tell you for sure whether or not you have the potential to become a model with braces.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Quick Tip #36

Category: Castings
For: Male & Female Models

When you submit to a casting and are then asked to contact the client by phone, don't assume they'll know exactly who you are when they call. Clients that cast for modeling gigs are often juggling several projects at the same time and if they've never met or worked with you before, chances are they're going to need you to jog their memory. Don't take offense--that's just how it is sometimes and it isn't personal.

When you call the client and they answer, greet them with your name but also add on where they should know you from.

For example:

"Hi, this is Dania Denise from the Model Mayhem casting for...[insert project name]"

"Hi, this is Dania Denise...I applied for the lookbook shoot for...[insert project or designer name]"

Adding that extra piece of info will help them remember who you are and why you're calling a lot faster. You don't want to have them guessing, which can be awkward. Unless you're a supermodel, people aren't going to know you off your name alone. ;-)

Quick Tip #35

Category: Wardrobe
For: Male & Female Models

Anytime you are asked to provide your own wardrobe for a shoot, always ask the following questions if you're not already given the details beforehand:

1) What types of outfits should I bring?
2) How many changes/outfits will be needed?
3) Are there are colors, patterns or styles I should stay away from?

The last thing you want to do is bring random wardrobe items that can't be used. Most times you'll be given instructions about wardrobe but if there's any doubt or if you're given vague info, asking the questions above will be very important.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Answering a Reader Question #303

Raya Wrote:

Hi!!! Well I am aware that I can not wear a two piece bathing suit after having my baby. I have stretch marks on my stomach and butt. So my question is what kind of photos should I take to be considered for commerical print modeling ? 

Hi there, Raya! Since you're aiming for commercial/print, you don't have to worry about showing a lot of skin. That being said, you can wear a pair of fitted jeans or shorts and a fitted tank top or tee shirt. No swimsuit necessary. :-) Make sure you wear solid colors that go well with your skin tone and avoid logos, brand names, busy patterns or distracting images. No shoes or socks either.

Good luck to you!

Answering a Reader Question #302

Cara Wrote:

my name is Cara and i'm 19, i've been trying to model for a couple years on the side, but sports injuries have kept getting in the way. now i am trying more actively, and all of my friends tell me i should model for VS. i've been looking into major as my agency. I'm 5'11 with 33-25-35 measurements and can actually walk in heels, the higher the better! any words of advice for me? 

Hey, Cara! My best words of advice would be to submit to Ford and Elite in New York before Major. These two agencies are contracted to be the first places VS goes to scout their new faces from. Then they move on to the other big agencies. So go for Ford and Elite first. If you get signed to either one, then you're on your way. If they aren't interested, then submit to Major and see what happens. To increase your odds with the agencies, attend their open casting calls so you can be evaluated in person instead of them just judging you based on photos. Don't forget, you don't need professional photos or a portfolio since you're a newbie. Make sure you visit the Ford and Elite websites, which will tell you when their open casting calls are, as well as what types of snapshots they want you to bring. Good luck!

Answering a Reader Question #301

Anonymous Wrote:

Hi! I was wondering if you still have to work at Abercrombie Kids to be a model at Abercrombie Kids. And if so, how old must you be? 

Hi, Anonymous! According to the Abercrombie Kids website, you have to be 17 years of age or older to work there, which is a requirement to be considered as a model and get info about their castings. If you're younger than 17 then you'll more than likely have to be a signed model to an agency that has Abercrombie Kids as one of its clients so that they'll already have contacts for the castings.

Answering a Reader Question #300

Demi Wrote:

Hey Dania! I wanted to ask, because I'm not so good at searching agencies and what would best suit me. My height is 5'7 and i know that's only good enough for print modeling which makes it harder for me in what agency to look for. i live in West Covina and Rancho Cucamonga, CA and I am able to drive the distance to LA if there are none around me. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you so much! 

Hi, Demi! There aren't going to be agencies in West Covina and Rancho Cucamonga so you'll want to stick to commercial/print agencies in Los Angeles and other surrounding areas. Below are agencies you can check out that have this division (it may also be titled "lifestyle"):

Ford LA
*They have a commercial/print division and according to their website, their open calls for women ages 12-25 is for the height range 5'7"-5'11")
I Model and Talent

Siona Entertainment

Action Agency

Nouveau Model & Talent

BMG Models - LA

NTA Life Models

Sports + Lifestyle Unlimited - LA

Answering a Reader Question #299

Anonymous Wrote:

What is the level of importance of having knowledge of designers when going to open calls for top agencies? Should we at least have favorite designers? Also, is it morally wrong to want to be a model but not have a strong interest in fashion? 

Hi, Anonymous! If you're trying to get signed to a top agency that represents fashion models, it is extremely helpful to have at least basic knowledge of designers and their work. You don't have to be an expert fashionista but at least recognize huge names like Dolce & Gabbana, Vera Wang, Betsey Johnson, Versace, etc. Agencies do like to ask potential models who their favorite designers are so if you need to brush up on your knowledge in this area, do this sooner than later. Don't just memorize names, make sure you know "why" you like certain designers. This doesn't require fancy terminology or anything--it can as simple as, "I really like how sleek and modern Vera Wang's dresses are. They're not too overdone but always look elegant." It helps to be able to back up why you like a certain designer's style over another. NEVER badmouth a designer's work. If the agency asks your opinion of a designer whose work you don't like, reply with something polite like, "Their style isn't usually what I go for but I think their work is really creative/unique."

In the fashion world, it is seen as very uncool to not have at least some interest in fashion. A "strong" interest isn't mandatory but like I said above, you should be able to at least have a basic conversation about the topic. If an agency knows you're familiar with fashion, it gives them peace of mind, compared to someone who knows zilch, which may negatively affect the way they perform in a photoshoot or in a fashion show. Many people that know nothing about fashion tend to be overly critical, harsh or plain uninterested in the clothes and that's a huge no-no for a working model. It's like wanting to be a writer for Time Magazine but you've never read a single issue.

You don't have to love everything you wear but being excited about trying on outfits and getting to know the designers makes for a better model to work with.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Quick Tip #34

Category: Castings
For: Male & Female Models

When it comes to attending castings for a modeling gig, if it is at all possible, do not volunteer to go first. Trust me on this one. Below are reasons why:

1) Being nervous is natural but if you volunteer to go first, that nervousness will double and could negatively impact your performance.

2) Most times you'll be able to watch other models audition, which allows you to "cheat" and already know what the client is going to ask you to do.

3) Waiting until a few other models go first gives you time to practice or at least have an idea of how you will do your casting/audition.

Case & point: I went to a casting recently for a designer and another model got there around the same time as me but she had brought her son with her. The designer asked which of us wanted to go first and I almost volunteered but decided to let the other girl go since she had her kid with her. As it turns out, I was invited by the casting director to peek in on her casting so that I could get an idea of what they'd be asking me to do. We had to put on a pair of their jeans and mimic a specific pose, while being given super tedious instructions on how to pose our lower body (only the waist down was being photographed, not our face or anything). The model was having a very hard time following what was being asked of her. However, I had a perfect idea of what to do and once I got into the jeans myself and assumed my pose, they got the shot they needed after only taking 4 photos. Had I gone first, I would have been awkward like the model before me, which would have undoubtedly affected the quality of my casting.

First Shoot of 2012: Fashion & Beauty

I did my first shoot of 2012 earlier in the month but just got my CD with the images. I was very happy to be reunited with a local designer, Danielle Busque, who I had worked with about a year ago as she was developing her portfolio for her latest collection. I also brought on board my go-to makeup artist, Sophia Musto, since I knew she would take care of me. In order to find a photographer, I posted a casting call on Model Mayhem and was very lucky to have Paolo Diavolo reply.

Danielle and I loved his portfolio and also the fact that he had a home studio with lights and all other kinds of photography equipment to get the effect needed. After a lot of back and forth email conversations, we set up a date, time frame and got the address of Paolo's studio.

The designer had two pieces she wanted to shoot to complete her portfolio, which was a turquoise corset and a lovely dress that we simply referred to as "The Rose Dress." It was funny because The Rose Dress had been tried on by other models (who were traditional fashion height) and they could not fit into the dress properly. It appeared the dress was made just for me since no one else could get into it--guess it was meant to be, lol.

Below are the best shots from the shoot. This was a trade photoshoot, which means that no money was exchanged and everyone involved got to use the copies of the photos for their portfolios:

The shoot went off without a hitch and our crew put out some great images. Sophia hooked up the makeup as usual and Danielle had fun styling me and making sure the outfits were shown in the best way. It was our first time working with Paolo but it proved to be the perfect fit--not only was he professional, he was so sweet and had a great personality. He bought snacks and drinks for us so that we wouldn't get hungry during the shoot and everything we did was totally a collaborative effort. 

Additionally, while I had only asked for my favorite 5-6 images, he ended up mailing me a CD with every image not only retouched but properly resized for various uses (print, online, email, etc.). He definitely went above and beyond what we asked of him and I couldn't be happier with the results. I will be adding Paolo to my list of go-to photographers and can't wait to work with him in the near future.  

***Please note that these photos are copyrighted by Paolo Diavolo Photography. Any misuse, manipulation and/or use online or in print without proper credit to either the Modeling 101 blog or Paolo Diavolo Photography will result in legal action.***

Monday, January 23, 2012

Answering a Reader Question #298

Dominique Wrote:

Hi Denise! I have got to say I am absolutely OBSESSED with your blog. This was exactly what I was looking for when I was surfing the Internet for a look inside what it's really like to be a model not some sketchy shows , bad YouTube videos or  company releases. And woohoo! I found it and girl am I hooked. I check up on this blog every few days just to see if there's a new post and I end up reading all of the new ones even if they're directed at male models haha. ( I hope I'm not getting annoying at this point) so I'll just get to the point , yes I am another one of those ( for lack of any other words) wannabe victoria's secret models that knows nothing about modeling. I know you're probably thinking to yourself Oh no, not again, haven't I answered everything VS related already??? and yes actually you have.  So I have submitted my plain photos to Elite and Ford just yesterday and in waiting on pins and needles here. I know I shouldn't be getting my hopes up or falling into a some anxiety attack because boy oh boy  the chances are so darn slim. I heard that if elite honestly wants you they reply to you in like a day , I'm not sure if that's true but if it is then wow I just blew it. I do have some ( more like a bagillion) extra questions

- does VS , Ford, Elite or any other modeling agency care about shoe size because I see these 5'9" models with like size 7 feet and. Think to myself how??? Do they just shove em in there or something? I'm at 5'8" and at a 9.5 and a size 10 shoe size ,  its kinda my secret but seemingly stupid insecurity- my big feet
-when I don't get signed to ford or elite not that I don't think I could handle it but I'm being realistic, is there any other route I can take to get VS?
-why do modeling agencies take eye color so seriously if there are contacts nowadays ( I know this is totally off topic but it just came to me and I'm really curious but I'm guessing it defies the whole natural beauty look lol)
-oh when I don't get into elite or ford would it be a bad idea to wait a year or two for myself to grow and mature ( I'm only 15 so maybe some cosmic big breast genes will kick in, haha) and then send in my new photos again? Can I maybe do it sooner or is a one shot per person type of deal?
-okay last thing my body ratio is 33( stupid 34A breasts) 26 (waist) and 35 (hips) I know that this isn't anywhere near VS standards but what can I actually change here to get to the ideal ratio if there is anything oh and what type of body shape would this be , no one has ever been able to tell me so they just say plank. Not sure if that's a shape but alrighty then.

Thank you so much
- with love Dominique

Hey, Dominique! I'm glad that my blog is helping you out...that makes me very happy! :-D

Now let's get you some answers to those questions!

It can take agencies up to 4-6 weeks to get back to models that they are interested in so while some may get back to potential models sooner, it's more common for it to take some time. If you haven't heard back from an agency after about 2-3 months, then you can safely assume they aren't interested in your look at the moment. I know waiting is the hardest part but everyone has to go through it!

You'll be happy to know that A LOT of models have big feet. So your shoe size won't be a problem at all. On shoots and during fashion shows, it is common to have tons of different shoes of all sizes available for the models to wear. However, there are times when your specific size may not be there, and models are known for having to squeeze into whatever fits. But for the most part, your feet won't be an issue.

If you don't happen to get signed to Elite or Ford in New York, you're next best bet would be to submit to the other high fashion agencies in New York. Getting representation from any of them and working your way up in terms of the types of gigs you get, will increase your exposure and help possibly catch the eye of VS within that market. Or if the agency you sign to has worked with VS before, they'll make sure to submit you to any of their castings for new faces.

You know, I never thought about the eye color thing. I don't particularly think eye color has anything to do at all with who they pick, although I will say that having a unique eye color does contribute to that "exotic" look that many VS models have. But you have to remember that a lot of the VS models have been Brazilian or European of some kind so that's why they happen to have unique eye colors. It's not a requirement though so if your eyes aren't some alluring shade, it won't count against you.

That fact that you're 15 and have submitted to Ford and Elite, won't make you eligible for VS modeling anyway until you're 18. So if you're lucky, they'll sign you on for regular fashion/runway work or commercial/print if you aren't tall enough. So if you don't hear back from Ford or Elite right now, it only makes sense to submit to them again for VS once you turn 18. Otherwise, they're not even going to put you and lingerie modeling into the same category since you're underage.

To answer your last question, it is VERY important that you not try to alter anything about your body through extreme diet or exercise because you are still young and not done fully developing physically. Many young girls make the mistake of dieting a certain way or working out in order to get the same body as an adult woman--it's not supposed to be that way. You are a teen and it is vital that you just let nature take its course and see how your body develops naturally in the next few years. Doing otherwise could put your health in jeopardy and may even disrupt your proper growth cycle, which is never good. As far as your body shape, you sound like a rectangular body shape, which is also known as a "straight" body type. This describes a figure that isn't super curvaceous and doesn't have a defined waist.

Be happy with yourself as you are right now...you've got 3 years before you can even consider doing lingerie modeling. Right now submit to agencies for the regular categories of modeling--if you get lucky enough to find representation, you'll be well on your way to starting your career and building experience so that by the time you're legally able to submit yourself to agencies for VS, you'll already have a solid resume and portfolio to show them.

Answering a Reader Question #297

Anonymous Wrote:

Wow I am so glad I found this blog. Thank you so much for everything you're doing to help aspiring models! Here is my scenario: I am 18, 5'8 and have done some local modeling (local professional photographer - hired as a model for them, high school photography students...) and am moving to Southern California for college in August :) I definitely plan on pursuing modeling while in college. I'll be roughly the same distance from Beverly Hills & LA, and within driving distance of them. Any advice on agencies? I am hoping for Ford or Elite, but realize that some of their models' pictures are pretty risque (not just with them, but obviously with any agency) Would an unwillingness to take more "mature" pictures like these reduce my chances of being signed? I feel comfortable in a bathing suit, but there are pictures of Ford's models in their online portfolios that are topless,(you don't see anything but you can tell they're topless) I would not be willing to do that, even if nothing shows in the picture. Sorry for the long post, but again - would this reduce my chances of being signed by an agency? Do they ask you if you are willing to take these kinds of photos when being signed? Thanks! 

Hi, Anonymous! You're lucky you'll be so close to the LA market...there are plenty of agencies worth submitting to, especially since you're 5'8". You can submit to as many agencies as you want at the same time, so definitely send your photos and info to as many as you fit the requirements for. Don't forget to attend all the open casting calls as you can as well. Many agencies in the LA area have open calls and are worth going to since it increases your odds, compared to just mailing or emailing your submission.

Below are agencies in the area you'll want to check out:

Bleu Model Management

Elite Model Management - Los Angeles

Ford LA

I Model and Talent

Next Management LA

Siona Entertainment

BMG Models - LA

L.A. Models

Nous Model Management

Q Model Management - LA

Wilhelmina Los Angeles

The type of risque photos you mentioned are what is known as "implied nudity" in modeling. You don't have to show that type of skin if you don't want to. When you get signed to an agency, they will have a sit-down with you to discuss how they would like to market you and will find out what your comfort zones are by asking what you would and would not be willing to do. For example, you'll be asked if you're okay with things like nudity, implied nudity, modeling for an alcoholic brand, cigarettes, fur, etc.

Implied nudity or nudity in general in modeling is never something forced onto a model so you shouldn't worry about that and it shouldn't heavily impact whether or not you'd get signed. Not all modeling gigs demand implied nudity so it wouldn't be like they couldn't get you anything if you decided to not do it. So you're good to go! :-)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Answering a Reader Question #296

Chenoa Wrote:

Hey Dania to piggy back of this post. Do you know if having acrylic and designs on nails is frowned upon? 

Hey, Chenoa! :-)

Having fancy acrylic nails and designs are typically frowned upon by agencies and clients because they are super distracting. This doesn't mean models can never have these on their nails but it is important to know that you'll be asked to arrive to castings and gigs with clean, natural nails. I've come across many modeling casting calls where the client will specifically state that models chosen must have clean, natural nails. Sometimes they allow for clear or light colored polish or a French manicure.

If you model part-time or once in a while, this won't be as much of a concern but if you're heavily into modeling and are regularly attending castings and shoots, it's in your best interest to keep your nails more natural. If you do acrylics, opt for a cleaner look instead of a fancy one with designs, glitter or gems.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Answering a Reader Question #295

Enovy Wrote:

Hello Dania! I LOVE your blog! I've been reading all your posts so far and I learned many many things, thank you so much!
So here is my question:
How do you actually get to walk for well known brands like Versace, Chanel, Armani ect.. I mean there are SO many models which are with a good Modelling agency like IMG, Elite ect, but only very few girls of them get to walk for those brands. What do they actually do to get noticed by them? Connections? Luck? 

Hello, Enovy! I LOVE that you LOVE my blog...and you are so welcome! :-D

When it comes to situations like the ones you mentioned, the following are some of the main factors that allow some models to get these types of opportunities over others:

- Agency: A model's agency is their direct "connection" to such brands. If the agency a model is signed with regularly works with those brands as a client there is already an established working relationship. This means they usually get first dibs on notifications anytime a particular big brand is looking for new catwalk models for their shows. Additionally, if an agency has a new model and they feel a certain brand would love him/her, they'll use their connections to contact the brand/designer and let them know of the "new kid" that they should check out.

- The Designer: A common "tale" in the modeling industry is one where a designer will fall in love with a particular model's look. Oftentimes, what gets some models at huge agencies to participate in huge shows for designers over the other models from the same agency is the "love connection" that happens when a designer sees something in a certain model that they really like. It's that "IT" factor for them, which could be their face and/or build/body type. In that sense, it does take a bit of "luck" to draw a designer to you so much that they are eager to use you in their shows because they know you'll showcase the clothing well.

- Reputation/Track Record: It's a lot easier for established models at big agencies to draw designers/brands to them because their face has been plastered everywhere, like major magazines, editorials, billboards, etc. Because these models have experience, it makes the brands/designers confident that they'll know how to represent their brand well in a show and won't have to worry about holding their hand through the entire process.

- A Good Performance at the Casting: While some brands already know which models they want to use in their shows, they will still hold castings to find new faces. The agencies send their girls/guys and like anyone else, they "audition" for the brands/designers by doing a runway walk for them. Models that have a strong walk, the right body type for that particular brand/designer, great personality and overall physical "look" are the ones that get hired.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Quick Tip #33

Category: Email/Communications
For: Male & Female Models

When submitting to a casting, sometimes a person's specific name isn't available for you to use. For example, the casting may only contain the name of the company instead of their first and/or last name. Or they may reply back to your email and not end their message with their name. The email address itself may not even contain a person's name. But if it does, do not assume that is the name of the person sending you the email. Oftentimes, clients (including photographers) have assistants or other people using their account to correspond with models, which is not uncommon.

What you want to avoid is using the wrong person's name when writing your reply message. When submitting to a casting via email, if you don't have a name to refer to, simply start your message with a salutation and then move on with writing the rest of your email (i.e. Hello, my name is ....). It isn't necessary to address your submission email using the name of the company (i.e. Hello, Amazing Photography, Inc.). It is their email after all so they know you're writing directly to them. While "To Whom It May Concern" is formal, it really isn't necessary but if it makes you feel better, feel free to use this salutation in your email...it won't count against you or anything.

Wait for their reply back and then if you see a name mentioned, you'll know that it's okay to address your follow-up email using that person's name.

Answering a Reader Question #294

Anonymous Wrote:

Hello! :) Well I'm 16 years old, Native American, and was thinking about doing "modelscouts.com" have you heard of it? but I'm not sure yet. I've had people tell me that I should be a model, but I just always thought I couldn't do it. I can also get insecure sometimes, but people tell me otherwise, so maybe this could be a confidence booster. Any tips? I always thought it would be amazing to model though. :) They are asking for photos and stuff and I'm not sure on what type of poses, do you have any suggestions? By the way, I don't have any experience with modeling yet, so any tips for starters?
Sorry for all the questions! Lol 

Hi, Anonymous! I personally and professionally would not recommend doing ModelScouts simply because there is a more direct and free way of breaking into modeling, which would be to submit yourself directly to agencies--you don't need to pay a "middleman." ModelScouts is not a modeling agency, they are a casting agency, which basically collects photos/portfolios and info about models and actors and puts them into a huge database, where you pay fees in the hopes that an agency sees your profile, likes you and signs you.

Since you are a new/inexperienced model, it is not necessary to invest in a professional portfolio or get headshots done. Agencies would prefer to review non-professional, digital snapshots, which really tell a person's true potential to model. Once you get offered a contract, the agency will then guide you in arranging your first test shoot. It is from this test shoot that the agency gets the images they need to put together your professional portfolio, headshots and comp/zed cards.

I don't know your height, measurements or city/state you live in so I can't really offer you advice that is tailored to your situation. But if you are between 5'5"-5'7" you can submit to agencies that represent commercial/print/teen models. If you're between 5'8"-6'0" then you can submit to agencies that represent fashion/runway/editorial models. It is best to go online and look up the official websites of the agencies that are within a 2 hour's drive from where you live. Their websites will tell you what types of pictures they want, how to submit your info and if they have open casting calls, where you can go in and be evaluated by the agency staff without the need for an appointment. All of this is free to do and puts you in direct contact with the agency themselves. Companies like ModelScouts mean well and they do have some success stories but again, they are middlemen who make a profit by accepting anybody that is willing to pay their fees. It's better to hear what your chances are straight from an agency themselves.

Should you need assistance with finding legit agencies in your area you can always post more questions to this post or email me directly at: daniadenise@gmail.com.

Answering a Reader Question #293

FionaAlanna Wrote:

This might be a bit of an odd question, but do they usually play music or something at photo-shoots? :] 

Hi there, FionaAlanna! It's definitely not an odd question at all! :-)

It is not uncommon for music to be playing during photoshoots. Oftentimes the photographer will have his/her iPod hooked up or will use Pandora. Or the model may bring their own music to play. It all depends but in general, music during shoots is welcome, especially since it prevents working in complete silence, which can be awkward and uncomfortable.

Whenever I'm at a shoot and there isn't music, I'll politely ask the photographer/client if it's possible to get some music to play. They're usually more than happy to accommodate this. I actually create my own mix CDs of songs that get me into the right mood, depending on what the theme is. Posing to music is an awesome way of creating dynamic and great poses, as well as help models really let loose.

Answering a Reader Question #292

Jackie Wrote:

Hi! I'm interested in being a model but i have absolutely no experience and I feel like I may not be tall enough... I'm 18 years old, I'm almost 5'7'' and my measurements are 35-26-35. Am I too short or too old? If not, how would i start? Thanks! 

Hey, Jackie! It's okay that you don't have experience--in fact, agencies prefer this because it makes you easier to train and mold into someone they can effectively market. For new/inexperienced models, having previous experience, pro headshots, comp/zed cards and a portfolio already in place is not mandatory or required by modeling agencies in order to be signed. So no worries there.

At 18 you are definitely not too old. But you are shy of the minimum height requirement for fashion, runway and editorial modeling, which is 5'8". If you're not actually 5'7", this will make it even more difficult for fashion agencies to want to sign you. However, you are the ideal height for commercial/print and lifestyle modeling. If you pursue commercial/print and lifestyle modeling you won't have to worry about losing weight or anything, either, because your measurements are fine and proportional.

To begin the path towards modeling, you'll first want to go online and do a search for modeling agencies according to the city/state you live in. You don't want to submit to anyone farther than a 2 hour's drive unless you're willing to relocate. The official websites for the agencies will contain everything you need to know, including what methods of submissions they accept, if they hold open casting calls and what types of pictures they want you to send. Not all agencies ask for the same thing so make sure to prepare each submission for each agency accordingly.

Hope that helps and good luck to you!

Quick Tip #32

Category: Email/Communications
For: Male & Female Models

The spam folder in your email account doesn't always contain spam and junk messages. Learn how to check your spam folder before deleting/emptying its contents. Sometimes messages from clients, photographers and other industry professionals will get mistakenly sorted and sent to the Spam folder when it is supposed to go to your inbox.

You don't want to risk missing a vital piece of info about a gig or other business matter so make sure to scan the subject headlines of messages in your Spam folder before hitting that "Delete" button.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Models, Do Your Homework on Clients!

(This post is mainly intended for freelance models.)

Being a freelance model isn't easy. Without the protection and pampering of a modeling agency, freelancers are responsible for every aspect of their career. Unfortunately, this increases their odds for running into shady individuals and scammers.

It is vital that anyone hoping to pursue a freelance modeling career learn the importance of doing their homework on anyone they plan on working with. This includes photographers, casting directors, makeup artists, etc. There are different ways to go about this.

If you come across a post for a modeling gig and there really isn't a lot of information available, this is the time to go into detective mode. Submit yourself according to the instructions (if there are any specific ones given) and in your submission, don't be afraid to ask basic questions that the post itself didn't answer for you. This could include questions such as:

"Is there a link to the photographer's portfolio that I could look at?"

"What is the name of the company/brand/client that the project is being cast for?"

Sometimes the person in charge of the casting will be able to provide you with this info and sometimes they may not. I've submitted to gigs where they weren't allowed to release the name of the company/brand/client unless you were officially hired for the project, due to confidentiality matters. So don't be too suspicious if the person you submit to tells you they can't volunteer that kind of information unless you get booked. BUT at a minimum, they should be able to tell you the name of the photographer and/or give you a link where you can check out their portfolio.

Below are some ways that I currently do my homework on potential clients, which helps me decide whether or not I am interested in working with them: 
  • Google. I mainly do Google searches whenever I submit to a casting on Craigslist that mentions the name of the company or a person associated with the project. Sometimes results come up and sometimes they don't. Obviously, depending on what results pop up, I may or may not decide to send a submission email. If the Craigslist post contains a non-CL email address, I'll Google that and see what comes up. This has allowed me to find out which projects are likely scams--a few times the email address I've researched will show online results where the person that posted the project on CL will have also posted on various other casting sites and/or on Craigslist in other cities and even other states. Most times, that's a sign that the project being cast probably isn't legit.
  • Check The Website. Anytime a website URL is included in a modeling gig post, definitely use it! Unless it's for a well known client or photographer that you're already familiar with, it's in all freelance models' best interest to visit the website for a glimpse as to who they could potentially be working with. There have been many times when I went to a website that was in a casting and I would change my mind about sending in my pictures and info because I didn't care for the quality of the photographer's work or based on the product/clothing, I knew I wouldn't be the right fit.
  • Read Their Profile. This method applies to models looking for work on sites like Model Mayhem. Unlike Craigslist, these social networking sites aren't buried in anonymity. Use that to your advantage. For example, when I see a casting on Model Mayhem that is posted by a photographer, not only will I look at his/her profile to see his/her portfolio of work, I'll also read the "About Me" stuff on the page, if there is anything written there. Sometimes I'll be impressed by what they write and other times I'll be turned off by the way they come across through their words (cocky, snobbish, foul-mouthed, etc.). Social networking sites are all about learning who other people are so don't be afraid to see what a member is all about, especially if that's who you'll be working with if you're hired.
Right now I use a combination of Craigslist, SF Casting (this is a casting site that is only for talent working within the San Francisco Bay Area/Northern California) and Model Mayhem. So the methods above are as they relate to those sites.