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, February 25, 2012

Why Stores Like Target, Walmart, Ross & TJ Maxx are a Model's Best Friend

The modeling world is full of fashionistas and people that wear nothing but name brands. However, I have no problem with admitting that I frequent stores like Target, Ross, TJ Maxx and Walmart all the time...I do so because it is a practical way for me to build my modeling wardrobe.

Below are some reasons why female and male models should consider these stores when it comes to putting together the right wardrobe for their modeling projects:

The Need for Supplemental Wardrobe: There will be shoots where you'll be asked to bring additional clothing options and accessories of your own. This is known as "supplemental wardrobe." Even if the shoot has a stylist with a bunch of wardrobe, bringing your own items gives them more options to choose from. If you're asked to bring your own clothes, this doesn't mean the project is "low standard" or not professional. I've done shoots for big name brand clients and was required to bring a few extra things. It's completely normal.

Keeps Your Clothing Neutral: Unless you're a hired spoksemodel, there's no need to flaunt brand names on your body like a billboard. When it comes to castings and shoots, 99.9% of the time, you'll be asked to wear clothes with no brand names, logos or other telltale images. Any wardrobe you plan on wearing to castings or shoots should be brand neutral. TJ Maxx, Target, Walmart and Ross are all stores that specialize in selling brand name clothing but without all of the advertising on it.

Easier to Mix/Match & Reuse: I'll be the first one to admit that I regularly recycle outfits for castings. If there is a casting that calls for me to wear a business type of outfit, I have two pairs of black slacks, a black skirt and about three tops that I'll mix and match and wear. What does it matter to me? I'm meeting different people each time so it's not like they're gonna know I wore that same outfit (or something similar) to another casting a few days ago, lol. Buying clothes from the stores mentioned above make it convenient to customize an outfit for a casting or shoot without worrying about going out and spending money on an entirely different look each time. That's such a costly method and not necessary by any means.

Wallet Friendly. It's no secret that shopping at any of these stores will get you more clothes and accessories in one trip compared to going to a pricey department or boutique store. There have been times when I've walked out of Ross with 3 pairs of pants, 5 tops, a new purse and shoes for $50 or less. Had I tried that same thing at a boutique or department store, I would have easily spent $100+ for 2-3 items. It pays to be practical!

Unless you're a super fashionista with a sharp eye, most people can't tell the difference when it comes to where I've purchased my clothes. Case and point: years ago I did a shoot and had to bring my own supplemental wardrobe, which included a nice dress. When I changed into the dress, one of the other models commented, "Oh, my God, I love your dress! Where did you get it? BCBG?" I smiled and answered back, "Ross for $12.99." The look on her face was priceless, especially since she was one of those types that only bought expensive designer brand stuff. That was a funny moment for sure! Is there anything wrong with wanting to spend lots of money on brand name stuff? Definitely not but I always favor the practical route when it comes to building my wardrobe for modeling purposes--mainly since I can't even wear the brand name stuff to my gigs. But hey, that's just my take on things. :-)

So remember, being a working model isn't about displaying the brands and dealing with hefty price tags...when it comes to castings and shoots, it's all about keeping it neutral and affordable. Trust me, your wallet will thank you!

Quick Tip #38

Category: Makeup
For: Female Models

You may not notice it but our complexions don't stay the same throughout the year. It is important to consider having two types of foundation for your makeup: one for the summer months and one for the winter months. If your complexion tends to stay about the same in tone, this probably won't be too much of a concern but if you notice that the foundation you typically wear in the summer looks a bit different on your skin when you apply it during the fall or winter months, that could be a sign that you'll need to be matched for a different foundation shade. Making sure your complexion looks picture perfect when attending castings, go-sees and modeling assignments where you have to arrive "camera ready"is worth investing in additional makeup products as needed, especially foundation.

Answering a Reader Question #324

Anonymous Wrote:

Hi dania i have a question. will you look at this models profile. i want to know what is so special about her look and what is so spectacular about her pictures that makes her marketable. to me her pics seem one dimensional like she's giving the same face in every picture .she was offered the modeling contract she didn't even have to struggle to get representation. which is very frustrating because i'm struggling for representation. can you tell me what she's doing that's great or what she's doing that i'm not doing so i can further my career. here's her link:

Hey, Anonymous!

After viewing the model's profile, in my opinion, I believe what makes her so marketable is that she's got the height/build for fashion but also the "look" for commercial/print. If I was her agent, that would be very appealing to me because it means she has the potential to book twice as much work as a model who could only do fashion or a model who could only do commercial/print. It's killing two birds with one stone and in a sense is a business decision.

If you look at all her pictures in her portfolio, she does have the same expression in a few but not all of them. She has photos where she's got a great smile that shows genuine expression and gives that girl-next-door feel, while other pictures show her more serious/edgy side...she even has that cute one with the dog, which shows how playful she can be. Her images show that she's super confident and comfortable in front of the camera and she's very photogenic. These are all traits that agencies look for in the models they hope to sign.

I don't know what you look like or your stats, such as height, but in such a case, it isn't a matter of trying to do what another model is doing, especially since in this case, it's simply the fact that she can be marketed towards more clients. If you have a completely different look than her, that could be a reason you're experiencing issues with getting signed...or if your look is similar, it may be that the agencies you're considering already have enough models with similar stats and physical look. It says on her profile that she's labeled as a "Pop Artist"...if that's her main thing, that also makes her even more marketable for the agency because they can submit her to even more projects and castings. Essentially, she's what agencies would call the "total package."

It's definitely not fair and I do empathize with you but the reality is that for some models that make it, it's a matter of being at the right place at the right time and catching the eye of the right person. Modeling isn't easy and to be even marginally successful, it takes a lot of pounding on the pavement and continuing to deal with challenges and rejection until the right opportunities present themselves.

Answering a Reader Question #323

Anonymous Wrote:

i was scouted and i have braces. but i don't have an agent yet because i haven't been to an event like that yet. I'm 5 foot 3 and 13 yrs old. i have a small waist, I'm thin and i have curves and the person who scouted me was looking at my face. do you think i could have potential? am i too young t do certain types of modelling? and are there certain types of modelling where you don't show your teeth that i could do? I'm having a hard time waiting :p.
thankyou :) 

Hi, Anonymous! Waiting is certainly the hardest part of the process! The fact that you were scouted shows that you have potential. You're still young, though, and have plenty of time to get into modeling, especially once your braces are removed.

At 13, you're ideal for teen modeling and commercial/print. However, you're too young to do stuff like swimwear and lingerie modeling obviously, lol. Some 13 and 14-year-old girls get into fashion and runway but you're not tall enough so for now that type of modeling won't be a realistic possibility for you. The types of modeling I mentioned you being too young for are the types where you don't have to smile all the time...unfortunately, for teen and commercial/print models, it's all about smiling, laughing and showing other expressions that require showing your teeth.

While I know it's difficult to wait, it seems like that's your option for now unless you find an agent that is willing to sign you with your braces. But if you don't have long until they are removed, it's worth being patient so that you can increase your odds of getting signed to an agency. Good luck!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Answering a Reader Question #322

Anonymous Wrote:

Hi dania, I'm in this person's position as well. all the agencies I've applied to have said they're too full for the category I qualify for. It's so frustrating, it's hard to not occupy my thoughts with modeling but I really want this but I feel that they don't want me. I'm a new freelance model but I'm just starting out and getting TF/CD shoots is difficult because some of the photographers on MM say they have no use for my look. I'm just frustrated because I'm eager to learn and get better. It's annoying because one agency I applied for they said they like my look but they have too many people in my category. I just don't know what to do. In the mean time I am looking for a day job I have bills to pay and I'm researching getting into acting as well. What can I do to occupy my time until someone gives me my big break??? 

Hi, Anonymous! Ugh, that's the worst position to be in for sure. While it's not fair to the model, it's purely a business decision by the agency so I hope you're not taking it personally. Having a look that is too in demand can sometimes backfire because, like your comment stated, it could result in agencies signing on too many models with the same "look."

You mentioned acting, which could actually help you out. Unlike modeling, where experience isn't mandatory to be successful starting out and/or getting signed to an agency, acting does require training and at least basic acting skills. I would recommend looking into local acting workshops to test the waters and see how you like it. If you do well and are serious about pursuing it, then you can revamp your approach and submit to "talent" agencies instead of modeling agencies. Talent agencies represent both models and actors and if you can get your foot in the door as a signed actor, that could leave the opening for pursuing modeling if your agency feels they can transition you over into that type of work as well. So see what acting opportunities you can get into to get experience and go from there.

Also unlike modeling, you'll need a professional actor headshot to submit to agencies so when looking for TF shoots, mention to the photographers that you're in need of photos for acting. This could make it easier to find photographers willing to work with you. In most cases you can use your actor's headshot for modeling, too, so you'd be able to kill two birds with one stone.

I hope that helps and good luck to you!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Latest Shoot: 10 Minute Sew-In Website

A few months ago I did a bunch of shoots and some video work for a new company promoting the latest in quality sew-in hair extensions. I sent an email to my contact at the company last night to find out how things were coming along with the website. I was happy to hear back that the site is almost ready to go--it's currently in "beta testing," which is the stage where a website is tested out to identify any kinks or bugs that need to be fixed before launching live to the public.

My contact gave me a link to the test site, which is where I got this watermarked photo that is associated with this post. As an added perk, there was also a YouTube link to the demo video that I did for them, which shows how the 10 Minute Sew-In works. I even did the voice over!

I thought it would be fun to share the demo video not just so you can see me in another element other than my photoshoots but to see what goes into certain hairstyles like wearing extensions. Even though the 10 Minute Sew-In is a much more convenient method, the process of the braiding and other things is definitely anything but glamorous. Many times on set for shoots I have to go through this process of getting my hair done and let me tell ya, it makes for a very long day!

Answering a Reader Question #321

Anonymous Wrote:

Hi! I'm an aspiring model and I've just recently sent an application to a local modeling agency, but I feel like I screwed it up, I mean I sent this yesterday and I shouldn't be so anxious already. I'm new to this but have always loved fashion. I'm also not very tall (5'4''). since i don't have any experience i couldn't put much on the application. What do you think you would put if you were in my position? thanks ! :)

Hi, Anonymous! Anxiety and nerves are normal and happens to the best of us! Definitely do what you can to occupy your thoughts so that you aren't so focused on your submission...easier said than done, I know, but give it a shot. :-)

Do you mean you feel like you screwed up on the application because you didn't have a lot to put on there since you've never modeled before? If so, it is okay that you don't have any experience...as long as you stated this somewhere in your application, the agency will understand. They don't expect newbies to have any previous knowledge of modeling and won't count it against you.

If I was in your position, I would simply state that I have no previous modeling experience but am eager to learn, follow instructions very well and am very into fashion and the modeling industry. As long as they know you have personality, can follow directions and have a look they know they can successfully market, you'll be perfectly fine. So cross your fingers (and toes) and hope they reply back!

FYI: It isn't uncommon for them to take a while getting back to you. However, agencies only reply to people they're interested in working with so if they're not interested, you simply won't hear back. Give it about 4-6 weeks and if there is still no word from them, you can take that as a sign that they're probably not interested at the moment.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Answering a Reader Question #320

Jenna Wrote:

I am so glad I found your blog! Thank you for all of the helpful information. I have always wanted to be a model, and did a very small amount of it when I was 16. After I graduated High School I had thought about getting more involved with the industry but was told I was being "unrealistic" and became a chef instead. I have found over the last few years, that I am not happy in my current career, and would like to finally pursue my dream. I am 24 yrs old, 5' 7" and weigh 125 lbs. I just don't know the proper way to get started. I live in Indiana so there aren't any high end agencies near by, and have been out of touch with modeling for so long that I am not sure the best and most efficient way to get started. Thank you for your help! 

Hey, Jenna! I'm glad you found my blog, too, lol! As far as your situation, you'll want to refer to the official websites of agencies in your area in order to find out what the requirements are, how to submit your photos, etc. Not all agencies ask for the same things so prepare each submission accordingly.

Here are the links to Indiana agency websites...browse through them completely and follow the instructions each one gives for submitting yourself. If you don't have any professional modeling headshots to send, that's okay...agencies will be fine with receiving clear, digital snapshots of your face in a closeup, as well as any other types of shots they request. As long as you mention in your submission email or other message that you're new to the industry, they'll be okay with the fact that you don't have pro images yet. That task will be taken care of after you've been signed under the guidance of your agent.

C. Taylor Agency

A.C.T. II Model & Talent Management, Inc

Cover Shots Modeling Agency

L Modelz Model Management

If you have any other questions, feel free to shoot me an email and I can help you out: daniadenise@gmail.com.

Answering a Reader Question #319

Anonymous Wrote:

Hi Dania, in september 2011, I got into WOMEN, but I'm short so they told me that I'll be doing commercial/print, and also that they'll put me in their base and contact me when I'm needed. They still didn't call, and I'm not on their site either, but they told me that I shouldn't do any modeling outside the agency. My question is, since I didn't sign anything, and I'm not on their site(which gets regularly updated!), can I go to another agency? Sorry for my bad english,it's not my native language xx 

Hi, Anonymous! I am actually in the exact situation as you EXCEPT I have a contract and they've gotten me work. Have you been in constant communication with them to find out why they haven't been sending you out to any castings? It is important to keep in touch with your agency, especially if things are slow for you--sometimes agencies have so many models they're working with that they tend to forget about others. So sometimes you have to make them remember who you are.

However, if you have been in touch with them and they still haven't done much to promote you and send you out on castings, then I would definitely recommend looking for another agency--mainly one that will give you a physical contract. The fact that WOMEN didn't have you sign anything works to your advantage. Should you find a new agency to represent you, simply send WOMEN an email or write them a letter, letting them know that you're no longer interested in being represented by them (you don't have to say why, so leave that part out). As long as you notify them in some way of terminating your working relationship with them, they can't say that you kept them out of the loop or accuse you of leaving them for the competition.

Answering a Reader Question #318

Anonymous Wrote:

Hi! First off, I love your blog and it is so helpful. I have a question though- how can I find my measurements? I see around your blog a lot, for example, 34-26-36, and I'm not exactly sure what it means. Can I get my measurements myself? How can I do so accurately? And one more question, what is the ideal measurements for a runway model? Thank you for all of your help! :) 

Hi, Anonymous! Thanks for the kind words...you're so sweet! :-)

When I refer to measurements like 34-26-36, I am talking about the following:

34 = the bust measurement in inches
26 = the waist measurement in inches
36 = the hip measurement in inches

It is best to have someone take your measurements for you, since this will give you the most accurate numbers. Below is a link to a blog post I did about this very topic, which will give you more details as to how to go about this:

How to Measure Yourself

The ideal measurements for a runway model is 34-24-34 (bust, waist and hips in inches). It is okay to be smaller than that but models can't be any larger than one inch in any of those areas. So the maximum would be 35-25-35.

Answering a reader Question #317

Anonymous Wrote:


My daughter is with a reputable agency in Ohio but hasn't had a paying job in over a year. They keep telling her the market is bad but she learned via Facebook that other girls with same height/features have been doing jobs. Is her agent just not promoting her? Should she consider terminating her contract/is that legal? Also, she is interested in New York and her agency said they are trying to place her there but we've heard nothing for a while now. We are thinking of going to New York to visit agencies soon. If we have to go on our own & own wallet, should she terminate her mother agency prior to visiting? Thank you for your advice. 

Hi, Anonymous! It sounds like her agent is simply not putting enough effort into marketing her to clients, which is unfortunate but does happen in the industry. If the other models getting work that you mentioned are also with the same agency, it could also be the case of playing "favorites."

It is completely legal to terminate the contract--all modeling contracts state that both parties have the right to terminate the agreement at any time for any reason. It is important, however, that you go about doing this the right way. You'll want to first refer to your daughter's contract to find any instructions about an "Exit Clause," which deals with information outlining how you can effectively terminate your working relationship with the agency. In most cases, all it takes is a written letter stating that you wish to end your representation, effective immediately. You are not obligated to explain why, either. Simply state that you no longer want to be represented by them.

As far as seeking New York agencies and the status of your daughter's contract, if you feel that you've exhausted all attempts at getting her agency to do more for her career, then by all means, go ahead and end your relationship with them prior to going to NY. It isn't like they're doing a whole lot for her anyway and being free of any ties will open her up to sign right away with any agency in New York that shows interest in her. 

Hope that helps but if you have more questions, feel free to send me an email directly about your daughter's situation: daniadenise@gmail.com.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Answering a Reader Question #316

Anonymous Wrote:

Hello Dania,
I noticed that you mentioned you did some runway work despite being a shorter model (which is awesome by the way ^_^). I'm only 5'5; However, everyone constantly says I have a stunning walk and suggest runway.Considering my height, print/commercial seems to be the obvious route, but I feel as though my walk would "go to waste" if I never included any runway work. I was wondering if you had any advice on how to get runway work as a short model. 

Hi there, Anonymous! In your situation, I would recommend using freelance methods to find runway work for a model of your height. Although I have an agent for commercial/print, they never submit me for runway stuff (for obvious reasons) so I seek those opportunities on my own.

It's a matter of knowing where to look, as well as networking with the right people that are willing to take on shorter models. In this case, Facebook became a useful tool for me. I don't know what city/state you live in but here in Northern California (more specifically, the Bay Area), there is a huge group of models/photographers/makeup artists, etc. that are tight-knit. There are 2-3 Facebook "groups" that were created in order to bring all the local modeling industry folks together to not only collaborate on shoots but as a main go-to-place for people to post casting calls. I replied to one of the castings for runway models and got a reply back from the designer, who loved my look and didn't mind that I was 5'5". Before I knew it, she was using me in her shows. The same thing happened again through the use of those same Facebook groups with a handful of other designers. Now that I've tapped into that network, they know that if they're ever in need of a short model that knows how to do runway, they can contact me. 

It would be a good idea to check out Facebook and see what professionals are in your area, especially fashion designers and photographers. You can always send them a brief message to introduce yourself and inquire about possible runway opportunities they know of that have flexible or open height requirements.

While it isn't as glamorous, you can also look into the local colleges that have fashion departments. Fashion majors are constantly putting on runway shows to display their work and they always need models. Many of them have open height requirements as well. They're usually not paid but often you can get photos of yourself on the catwalk for your portfolio and it's a great networking opportunity. Additionally, those count as "experience" and are worth putting on your resume.

Model Mayhem is another great site that has been beneficial in helping me come across runway gigs. I typically do a search for local designers using the site's "Browse" function. Then I'll look through the results and contact the ones whose work I like (I've been lucky enough to find 1-2 designers that specialize in petite fashions). I'll message them, introduce myself and let them know that if they ever need a petite model for their fashion shows, that I'll be available. When using the "Casting" feature to look for gigs, I've also come across fashion shows that are looking for shorter models.

So there are a number of ways you can go about finding such opportunities. Of course it takes constant searching and results won't happen overnight. It can be daunting in the beginning but all it takes is one or two shows and passing your contact info to the right people to be included for future runway projects.

Answering a Reader Question #315

Anonymous Wrote:

Hi Dania, what websites do you use besides MM to find castings and test shoots. I have another question would you be able to take a video camera with you on test shoots so we can see how you perform in front of the camera. 

Hey, Anonymous! In addition to MM, I use Craigslist and a casting website call SF Casting (www.sfcasting.com). I'm also a part of a few model-based groups on Facebook, where members post casting calls for local shoots, shows and other related projects.

I only continue to use Craigslist because I've been using that site for years and know how to tell the legit postings from the shady/crappy ones. Unfortunately, the quality of the postings has gone down the drain in recent years, especially after they got rid of the Adult section and now people are posting for adult oriented stuff under the Talent/Gigs section where it doesn't belong. However, from time to time I do manage to find good castings on there. 

The second site is location specific to the San Francisco Bay Area and surrounding cities. I receive an email alert anytime a project comes up that fits my stats. If I decide to submit to the gig after looking over the details of the project/casting, all I have to do is log onto my profile on SF Casting and click one button and it will send the casting director my portfolio, resume, stats and contact info.

SF Casting has two "sister sites" for the New York market (www.nycasting.com) and Los Angeles market (www.lacasting.com).

It is important that the sites you use to find castings for modeling are location specific or at least designed so that you can do an advanced search for opportunities within your city/state--this is why I like using MM so much. Any site that gives you access to a ton of castings nationwide and that isn't specific to where you live, are generally useless because they have a database of hundreds upon thousands of models all looking for work. These types of setups make it much harder to stand out among the competition and lower your chances of being booked directly.

As far as your other question, I have been planning on doing just that! At this time my schedule is way too busy but I am working on putting together a shoot that will have a video aspect to it as well so you guys can see what it's like for me on-set. I don't know a specific time frame for when it'll happen but rest assured, when I get that up and running, I'll be sure to let you know! :-)

"Relax! Ways to Get More Comfortable While Modeling During Shoots"

This blog post was inspired by Kat's question:

hi Dania what tips do you have for getting comfortable in front of the camera. I had my 1st test shoot yesterday and it went well but I was nervous the whole time. I want advise on what I can do to relax and get better pictures.

(The tips shared in this post are better suited for situations where a new/semi-experienced model is doing a test shoot with a photographer and/or updating their portfolios in order to gain more experience.)

Being in front of a camera comes naturally for some models while it may take some getting used to for others. It's totally normal to be nervous during photoshoots but with time and more experience, posing for a photographer's camera will feel like second nature. Of course many of you newbies may not want to wait that long. If you're concerned about how to relax and feel more comfortable during photoshoots, there are a few things you can try out:


You'd be surprised by how something as simple as taking deep breaths can help you still any nerves while modeling. There have been times when I've been on shoots and realized I was holding my breath the entire time, lol (it's really something you end up not being aware of doing until you literally focus on it). Even now when I attend go sees or do shoots, I make it a point to remind myself to take a couple of deep breaths and relax my body.

Have Music Playing

Nothing is more awkward than posing in silence. Don't be afraid to ask the photographer if he/she has any music to play during the shoot. It's not a radio station and they're not the DJ so don't be super picky and start making requests for certain songs, however.

If they happen to ask you if there is anything in particular you like to listen to, then you can let them know your preference. Pandora is a great feature to use during shoots since you don't have to worry about changing tracks or anything. Music is ideal for setting a good tone for how you'll be posing, as well as give you something to focus on instead of your nervousness.

Talk to the Photographer

By this, I don't mean hold a conversation while the photographer is shooting you the entire time. When I work with a new photographer, I typically get to know him/her before we start shooting by having small talk while we're setting up. I like to ask them how they got into photography, what their favorite shoots have been, etc. And they'll usually ask me questions about myself.

Getting to know a bit about the person you're working with tends to remove the intimidation factor. Once I see that the photographer is regular person like myself, it's less intimidating once they pick up the camera and point it at me.

Dance/Shake It Out

Nervousness tends to make our muscles really stiff/tense and I find that a fun way to get my muscles to relax is to dance to whatever music is playing during the shoot. Some of my modeling students I teach one-on-one are on the younger side (10, 11, etc.) and I've since learned through my teaching methods that having them "shake it out" by literally wiggling, jumping around and flexing their fingers and toes, helps them calm down if they start to get nervous or can't concentrate.

And it works for adults, too! It sounds silly and you'll feel silly doing it but afterwards you'll also notice that you're not as tense as you were before. I would recommend doing this in between the photographer shooting of course, lol.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Digital Tearsheets: The New Kid on the Modeling Block

By now, most of you already know how valuable tearsheets are to any model's portfolio. Nothing impresses clients and agencies more than a model that has proof of being published. However, times change and sometimes this requires taking on new territory. In this "Age of the Internet," a new version of the tearsheet has started to become more commonplace in the industry: digital tearsheets.

What is a Digital Tearsheet?

As the name suggests, a digital tearsheet is the same as a regular tearsheet, except that the source of the publication is from a digital form of media, such as a website, online catalog, PDF file, etc.

Do Digital Tearsheets Count?

Yes! Although having a tearsheet from a hard copy magazine, catalog, brochure, etc. is a great thing to have, being published online is also an accomplishment worth adding to your resume and portfolio. These days, there are tons of online lookbooks, catalogs, web banner advertisements and other forms of digital media that clients are always looking to hire models for. Should you snag such a gig, the digital tearsheets you'll get as a result will be a great addition to your portfolio.

How Do I Get Digital Tearsheets From My Projects?

This all depends on the client and who your contact person is for the shoot. In most cases, if you know the name of the website where the images will appear, all you have to do is go to the website and that's where you'll gain access to your digital tearsheets--this won't involve having to contact anyone.

But if you don't know that information or if the images aren't going to be published online right away, the best method would be to send a follow up email to your contact person for the shoot (casting person, photographer, etc.) and ask them when they think the pictures will be posted online. Most times they'll email you with the links once things are up and running on the site.

That's the beauty of digital tearsheets--if it's going to be published online for everyone to see, this gives you the convenience of accessing those images anytime you want--there's no one to bug about this or waiting around on a photographer to get you photos.

You may find yourself in a situation where the images aren't going to be on a website that's easily accessible, but could instead be used for a brochure, digital textbook or other similar project. So what then? This is where you can email your contact person and ask them if it would be possible to get a copy of the pages where your images will be used. For example, I've received digital tearsheets of myself from an online textbook shoot in a PDF format, which I simply downloaded to my laptop and can access and print anytime I need it.

How Do I Add Digital Tearsheets to My Portfolio?

Here is where a bit of effort needs to come from your end--but don't worry, it's not too much work. While it is nice to have links to show clients where your images appear on the Internet, it is important to remember that online images won't stay there forever. Websites constantly update their content, including their pictures. This is why it's important for models to have a hard copy version of their digital tearsheets printed out to add to their portfolios. So how do you go about doing this?

Depending on how web/tech savvy you are, there are a few ways to handle this. The easiest method is to print the actual web page. However, you never want to print digital tearsheets onto regular printer paper. Always use photo paper that is semi-gloss. Make sure you set the print quality to "Best"...failing to make this change in the "Properties" box before printing will result in those ugly lines running through the entire image horizontally.

For those of you that know Photoshop, you can copy the web image using the "Print Screen" function on your computer and "paste" the digital tearsheet into a new document (8"x10"). Resize the image to be larger or smaller, as long as it fills up as much of the document as possible. Save the digital tearsheet as a hi-resolution jpeg and set the DPI to 300, which is ideal for printing purposes (always check the DPI setting before printing...if it's set to 72 or some other number other than 300, it will affect the quality of the printed photo). You may find that changing the DPI could cause your digital tearsheet to appear even larger in Photoshop. Don't panic--simply zoom out and make sure the image is centered properly and then print like you normally would. You may have to tweak some things to get a final image that is suitable for printing.

Below are examples of digital tearsheets I've printed out for my own portfolio:
This digital tearsheet is from an online magazine that I appeared in. I got this image using the "Print Screen" method I mentioned above.
This is a page from a digital textbook shoot that I did. The client sent me the book as a PDF file and I simply saved the pages that had my photo in it as jpegs so that they were in the right format for printing.

Like any other business, the modeling industry is one of the many that has learned how to adapt to the changing times and new technologies. The great thing about digital tearsheets is that this gives models even more opportunities to acquire published work to enhance their portfolios and boost credibility.

Modeling Scam Alert Update #2: Reporting the Scam

(Please refer to my other post "Modeling Scam Alert Update: They're Getting Smarter" to get caught up on what this latest update is all about.)

For the past two months I've been playing along with a modeling scam that has been a bit more "sophisticated" (I'm using that word VERY loosely) compared to the modeling scams I've come across in the past.

I realized that since these scammers are getting a bit smarter, it was even more important that I string them along to see what their operation was all about and hopefully get them shut down.

After a lot of back and forth emails and a supposed "Model Release Form," claiming they'll be hiring me for a photoshoot for a well known designer, a money order containing my "upfront/advanced payment" for my services arrived in the mail. I have no banking experience but I could tell right away that the money order from Citibank was a fake--heck, even a monkey could tell!

Not only did the money order itself look anything but official, the amount was wrong. According to the email the scammer sent, I was supposed to be paid $2,000 and the money order was in the amount of $4,000.

I'll say this again, my dear readers: NO LEGIT CLIENT IN THE MODELING INDUSTRY WOULD EVER SEND THIS AMOUNT OF MONEY UPFRONT TO ANY MODEL THEY HAVEN'T EVEN MET BEFORE!!! (Sorry for the yelling...I couldn't help myself.)

The first thing I did was go to the nearest Citibank in my area and asked to speak with the manager. I showed her the money order and the brief letter from the scammer that come with it. I also filled her in on the scam and how it operates. After speaking with her other supervisors, I was told they would be submitting the fake money order and letter to their investigations department so that an official inquiry could be made.

They thanked me profusely for reporting it and for being smart enough to not actually try and cash the money order. We sat around and laughed at the money order itself for a few minutes because of how ridiculous it was that anyone would think the piece of paper they sent me could be passed off as authentic.

The scammers have been emailing and calling me to find out whether or not I got the money because--and I quote: "We want to make sure the funds got to you safely and aren't in the wrong hands." Can you believe that garbage? These people have no conscience! I ignored the emails and sent them to voicemail. I thought about telling them that the money order was certified as being fake by the bank but I decided against it.

Now that an investigation is underway, the last thing I want to do is scare them off and make it more difficult for the authorities to locate these creeps. They've since stopped contacting me for now...I hope that they're under the impression that I'm no longer interested and will leave me alone and resume their operations using the same names and contact info so that the authorities will be able to track them down.

So I did my part and I hope the end results are that these guys get shut down and get the proper punishment they deserve. It may be a long shot but one can hope.

The Power of Exfoliation: A Skin Care Must for All Models

In order to look picture perfect or appear flawless on the runway, it is crucial that male and female models make it a point to develop and maintain a good, daily skin care routine.

One of the most important aspects that some of you may not know about or could be failing to include in your routine is the act of exfoliating.

Believe it or not, this seemingly little thing can make a big difference in the appearance and health of your skin--both on your face and the rest of your body. Below is a crash course into what exfoliation is all about, how it can promote model skin and the other benefits that come with it.

The Definition of Exfoliation

Exfoliation is the practice of removing layers of dead skin from your face and body. While that may sound painful, it really isn't. If you currently have a facial or body scrub as part of your collection of toiletry items, guess what? You're exfoliating!

What It Matters

The human body is a wondrous thing, especially when it comes to how our skin functions. In case you haven't noticed, every day our skin sheds (i.e. dry flakes of skin on the face and body). When the skin isn't properly exfoliated, the layers of those dead skin cells builds up, resulting in a dull and dry/ashy appearance. Not a pretty sight.

Exfoliation successfully sloughs off those layers of dead skin buildup, which not only means a more radiant complexion but the promotion of healthier, newer skin cells. When you kick out the older skin cells to make way for younger ones, this process is called "skin cell turnover." And it is those new skin cells, among other factors, that are responsible for model skin.

How to Exfoliate

If you've yet to add exfoliation into your skin care routine, it is best to get a jump on it sooner than later. Most facial exfoliating products require you to apply the scrub to your complexion using your fingertips and gently massage it onto your skin using circular motions. There are also foaming products and others that may come with a special applicator to use. Body scrubs are pretty straight forward and can be applied to your body using your hands, washcloth or other similar item (see below for more info on this).

However, there are some important dos and don'ts to take note of to get the best results:

DO: Purchase a facial scrub that is made for your skin type.

DON'T: Use facial scrub on skin that has open sores, scars or breakouts. Wait for those areas to heal first. Acne prone skin should ONLY use facial scrubs that are labeled as being formulated for "Acne Prone Skin." There are medicated versions, as well as others made with ingredients that exfoliate while being gentle enough for this skin type.

DO: Make it a routine but only use it as needed. Once to twice a week is the general frequency most people use their facial scrub. Oily skin types may need to exfoliate more often.

DON'T: Just use facial scrub alone. This product is not meant to replace your cleanser.

DO: Purchase a body scrub so you can get a full body exfoliation experience in the shower or bath.

DON'T: Use body scrub on your face and vice-versa. Your complexion is much more sensitive compared to the skin on the rest of your body. Only use "facial" scrub on your "face" and "body" scrub on your...you get it, I don't even have to finish the sentence. :-)

DO: Use a loofah or other type of body scrub brush to get the best results while exfoliating in the shower or bath.

DON'T: Go overboard on the scrubbing. There's no need to rub your skin raw or until it's red and irritated. Only use a bit of pressure while using your loofah or scrub brush. The same goes for exfoliating your face...be gentle or you could cause your complexion to get irritated and even develop mini scarring and/or abrasions.

Answering a Reader Question #314

Anonymous Wrote:

Hi, I am 16 years old and I know that I am at least 5'8 (I haven't gotten measured in awhile and that's where I was at last time) and I weigh around 120lbs. I have always wanted to start modeling and I think now is a good time to start. Can you please give me any tips on good agencies to contact in Pennsylvania? Thank you! 

Hi, Anonymous! Below are the names and websites of agencies in the Pennsylvania area that you can check out. Make sure to browse through the entire website and follow the instructions each one gives for submissions. If any of them have open casting calls, mark those as a priority and make sure to attend as many as you can.

Greer Lange Talent Agency

MMA - Model Management Agency Inc.

Expressions Modeling and Talent Agency, Inc.

Reinhard Model & Talent Agency

Docherty Model & Talent Agency

The Talent Group

Click Models of Philadelphia Inc.

Answering a Reader Question #313

Anyssa Wrote:

Hi! This is a little embarrassing because its about weight, but do you know how us girls can loose our gut? i mean meaning as, I'm skinny, just i can't seem to get rid of my pooch no matter what i do! so do you have any tips on excersizes of foods we can eat to get rid of our "muffin top" LOL that seems to be my biggest insecurites since when i wear tight clothing it sticks out like a sore thumb :/

Hey, Anyssa! Never be embarrassed about such a question...we all deal with it and it's totally normal, so no worries. :-)

I did some research and below are links to two articles I think will help you out. For the second article, item #10 mentions surgery--obviously ignore that one, LOL. When it comes to anything related to health and weight loss/management, combining regular exercise with proper eating habits always makes for the best results:

 Exercises to Lose Your Muffin Top

 10 Great Tips on How to Get Rid of a Muffin Top

Friday, February 10, 2012

Answering a Reader Question #312

Kelsey Wrote:

Hello there, I read this article (Inexperienced Models) and found it really helpful. I've been thinking about possibly getting into modeling, and have an upcoming (as the company called it) "on the spot test shoot interview" that I'll be making an appointment for. I was just wondering what to expect and what ways other than practicing in front of a mirror can help? Modeling is something I've been really getting interested in and am wanting to get off on the right foot. Thanks for your help!
Kelsey from California 

Hey, Kelsey! Spot test shoots are very informal and are designed to give the agency an idea of how you are in front of the camera, as well as a chance to interview you to see what your personality is like. Not all test shoots are the same, so you'll want to make sure to find out what outfits they want you to bring (it may be just 1 or 2) and if you'll need to be responsible for your makeup and hair or if they'll provide those services for you. I would guess that it'll be a casual type of shoot since it is just a test. But again, not all agencies set up their test shoots the same way so I can't tell you for sure exactly what they'll have you do. But think of it as a mini photoshoot.

Aside from practicing full body poses in the mirror, you'll also want to use the mirror to practice your facial expressions. There is more to this aspect than pouting. A lot of mistakes I see with newer models is that they have great, dynamic poses but they have the same expression on their face the entire time. Learn how to be comfortable with not just a serious, smoldering stare but also portraying emotions, such as happiness, laughing, etc.

Since you're doing a spot test shoot, it won't last too long like a full photoshoot. Make sure you listen to the photographer and follow any instruction/direction he/she may provide. That is first and foremost. Chances are they won't leave everything up to you so if they give you an idea or pose to start with, go with it and take things from there.

It's also helpful to memorize what I like to call "signature poses." These are basically poses that you know flatter your figure and will photograph well. Memorizing about 10 of these and knowing how to do it without using a mirror for reference is a great starting point for when you get to your test shoot. Think of them as "warm up" poses. The last thing you want is to get stuck trying to think of how to pose during the shoot itself. Don't be afraid to pose naturally, where it doesn't feel like you're posing at all. Not every pose you strike in front of the camera has to be some high fashion, couture type of dramatic pose.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Answering a Reader Question #311

Anonymous Wrote:

Hi Dania!

Love the blog! I hope this isn't s too awkward of a question for you.

Recently I just got my first period, and as you know, irregular periods can happen. Well say like I am in a pretty dress/outfit for a fashion show and my surprise period stains the dress? Then what do I do?

It would be really helpful if you could answer this, thanks in advance. 

Hi, Anonymous! Don't worry, it's not an awkward question for me at all--I've seen the gamut in my years as a model so not much surprises me anymore, lol. If you find yourself in that type of situation, the first thing to do is take the dress off immediately--there's no way they're going to let you on stage to show off the dress if it is stained. Notify one of the backstage dressers of the issue and they'll help you do damage control (the dressers will be female so they'll be okay with handling this type of situation).

They'll end up either finding you a new outfit to go out in or if there isn't anything available, you'll just have to skip your turn on the runway and the other models will be bumped up.

Since you know your periods will be irregular, the key is to prevent this from happening in the first place if at all possible. To err on the side of caution, always carry tampons and/or pads with you whenever you head to a fashion show or photoshoot. I personally prefer tampons because you don't have to worry about the outline of the pad showing through, possible leakage or feeling awkward because of the extra padding. I don't know if you're comfortable with tampons yet but they are great for preventing such accidents from occurring. But if you aren't cool with those or don't have much practice, having pads handy will still get the job done.

Hope that helps!

Answering a Reader Question #310

Anonymous Wrote:

When sending pictures to an agency, Can hair be in and style involving weave, like microbraids for example? 

Hi, Anonymous! It is important that the hairstyle you choose to use in your snapshots to send to an agency is one that you wear on a regular basis. They want to see how you look in your everyday state. So if you always wear a weave hairstyle or microbraids, then that is fine. But if you only wear those styles once in a while, it's probably better to choose a style that you're comfortable with wearing more often, since that's likely how the agencies are going to want you to wear your hair to castings.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Wanna See What a Modeling Contract Looks Like? Have a Peek!

The almighty modeling contract is what just about every model entering the industry hopes to obtain. This document is one that can make or break the direction a model's career goes in. Because it is a legally binding document, there is a lot of confidentiality that comes with modeling contracts and what they say, which is why you'll be hard pressed to find an authentic contract from a well known agency like IMG, Ford, Elite, DNA or even a boutique agency, for that matter.

Of course for those of you that have never had representation before, you're probably super curious to know exactly what a modeling contract looks like, what it says and what terms you'd be agreeing to, should you be offered one. I actually still have a copy of my contract from when I was with Ford but due to confidentiality, I can't publish any of those contents here, even though I'm no longer signed with them.

But what I can do is share with you what a sample modeling contract looks like. Below are pages of a generic contract that contains basic clauses/guidelines that most agencies and models would agree to as part of their working relationship. However, please note the following when reviewing this contract:
  • As I stated, it is a SAMPLE...and not the real thing. Any potential agency using this as a template would alter it however they see fit to suit their needs so the wording and clauses contained in the pages below are not absolute/set in stone or what a modeling contract would say exactly if you happen to be offered one.
  • The agency commission listed reflects the current rate, which is set at 20% (very few agencies charge 25%).
  • Most agencies have their contracts drawn up from scratch by their legal team/department.
  • The length and contents of modeling contracts vary from agency to agency. Some contracts are 2-4 pages, while others may be longer. How long a model is signed for also varies.
  • You'll notice that this sample uses the word "exclusive" in its wording, which means it is an "exclusive" modeling contract. Before signing, make sure to know whether what you're committing is exclusive or non exclusive. For those that don't know the difference, read my post, "Modeling Contracts."

I thought about doing a post to decipher what all the clauses mean but that would make for entirely too many lengthy posts. However, if there is anything in this sample contract that you need clarification on, don't hesitate to post your question in the form of a comment on this blog post and I'll answer it in the "Answering a Reader Question" series.

Translating "Agency Speak" in Modeling

Oftentimes the things agencies tell models doesn't always make sense, especially if the model is a newbie to the industry. However, there are common phrases, which I like to call "agency speak," that pop up fairly often. I've listed them below, along with what their meaning translates to. I'll update this info over time as I come across more phrases but feel free to comment on this blog post with any "agency speak" that isn't already on here that you want to know the translation to.

(I don't claim to know exactly what all agencies mean but my translations below are based on my own years of experience, as well as what other represented models have told me):

Agency Speak: "Thank you for coming in."
What It Means: "We're not interested."

Agency Speak: "We'll get back to you in a few days."
What It Means: "There is some interest but I've got to consult with other people before telling you whether or not you'll be getting a modeling contract. We'll get back to you when we get back to you."

***When an agency gives you a loose time frame like "a few days," don't take this literally. Agencies get busy and they get distracted. This type of response could mean hearing from them in a day or so or a week or more. NEVER ask an agency to clarify exactly when they'll get back to you. It's in poor taste.***

Agency Speak: "We already have someone with your look."
What It Means: "We already have a model that has similar stats and measurements as you."

***This doesn't mean you have an identical twin. If a model is the same height as you and has the same or similar measurements and also has the same hair color and eye color as you, agencies consider your "look" to be the same. Some agencies will have a small handful of models with similar "looks" if they happen to be in demand and to make sure they always have somebody to send to castings but in general, it doesn't make sense to continue signing on models that already match the statistics of other models on the roster.***

Agency Speak: "You'll need to tone up your [insert body part here]."
What It Means: "Lose your love handles, lose the mini gut, etc."

Agency Speak: "You'll need to slim down."
What It Means: "You need to lose weight before we can sign you because at your current size, you won't fit into the sample sizes."

Cell Phone Etiqutte in Modeling

Years ago no one was concerned about being on their cell, texting, Tweeting, uploading photos--heck, no one would have known what any of those things were back in the day! Alas, cell phones and all their nifty features and apps are here to stay...and it doesn't look like they're going anywhere, anytime soon.

While these handy devices have made life a lot more fun, it has also created very bad habits for people in the workplace--modeling matters included. It isn't unusual to see models on their cell phones, texting people, updating their "statuses" on social networking sites, etc. However, this type of behavior does tend to interfere with business.

It is extremely important that all models of all experience levels know and understand what the proper "cell phone etiquette" is during modeling assignments. Below are some scenarios where it is and is not okay to be distracted with your cell phone:

When It is OKAY to Use Your Cell

1) While waiting for hair and makeup. If you're at a shoot or fashion show where there are several models, it's okay to be on your phone--just make sure you're paying attention to what's going on around you. Don't be so engrossed in what you're doing on your cell that you don't hear someone calling your name or miss your chance to get into the hair and makeup chair.

2) During lunch breaks. This one is pretty obvious so no need for additional detail.

3) After the shoot. Your work is done so now you can play with your phone all you want.

When It is NOT OKAY to Use Your Cell

1) While getting your hair and makeup done. It is very rude to keep checking your phone while someone is doing your hair and makeup. Chances are you'll be looking down and it's awfully hard to put makeup on someone's face when it isn't in the proper direction/angle. Same for hair. Don't make the hair/makeup artist's job difficult.

2) During rehearsal. This applies to fashion shows. Your full attention is required during rehearsals so that you'll know what you're supposed to do once you get on the runway. Being too focused on your cell phone activity is a surefire way to miss info that will leave you clueless when it's showtime.

3) During a shoot or fashion show. Duh.

4) While in the presence of the client. This is for shoots where the actual client is there observing what's going on. It's okay to check your phone once in a while but don't have it glued to your hands the entire time you're not in front of the camera. Clients like models that are engaged in what they're doing and who care about being there. If you're glued to your cell phone screen every time the client looks over at you, he/she will be wondering if you have better things to do. Don't let being off camera give you the green light to make other things a priority. Work is your priority. Period.

Don't let other models' actions influence you, either. Just because other models are doing stuff on their phones the whole time, doesn't mean you need to or that it's acceptable. Let them take the risk of getting in trouble. Even if the clients break these rules, they're the client--they can do whatever they want. This is definitely not a case of "monkey see, monkey do," especially when that "monkey" is writing your paycheck. ;-)

Trust me, I know how painful it can be to not have your cell on you every minute of the day. Because I work from home, my cell is my lifeline to all my clients, who often text or email me about business, both related to modeling and non-related. BUT it's not worth getting in trouble over or giving someone a negative impression of me.

The best way to keep your phone from tempting you: put it away in your purse, bag, wherever it'll be safe but out of your view. Even putting it in your pocket will be too much temptation to whip it out. Anytime you set foot in studio, on location or at the fashion show venue, leave all cell phone related activity at the door, set it aside and forget about it. Focus on the task at hand and performing to the best of your ability. When you're done you can indulge in your cell phone obsession to your heart's content.

And one last thing, put your cell on vibrate so that everyone doesn't have to hear your ring tone or alerts. I can't tell you how many irritating sound effects I've heard other people's phones make throughout the day or the songs used for their ring tones (many of which were super raunchy or crude...it's funny when it's among your friends but SO not cute when in an environment where it's about business).

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Photos From My Visa Signature Collection Shoot

Back in December, I did a really fun lifestyle shoot for Visa. It was for their "signature collection," which is basically their own private set of stock images, which are used for their various marketing/advertising campaigns. You can read about the details of that shoot here:

Latest Shoot: Visa Signature Collection

I was happy to get an email from the casting director earlier today, with copies of the images from the shoot. I wasn't sure if I would get to see any of them because usually big companies like Visa aren't too keen about sharing pictures from their projects unless they're already published somewhere...and when they do allow models to get copies, it'll be of images they don't plan on using. But even so, it was very nice of the casting director to take time out to email myself and the other models with two of the photos.

That being said, below are the images from the Visa shoot I got for my portfolio (we were playing the role of socialites relaxing poolside at a resort):

Quick Tip #37

Category: Castings
For: Male & Female Models

When going in for a casting or go-see, put your cell phone on SILENT--NOT VIBRATE. Sure, "vibrate" doesn't cause your phone to ring but it does still make a sound, especially when it's pressed up against a surface or certain material. The room where the castings and go-sees take place is usually fairly quiet so any noise will be amplified. Do yourself a favor and make it a habit to silence your cell to avoid the possibility of it going off while in front of the client.

While on that same note, do not have your cell phone on you in the middle of your casting/go-see. Ladies, stick your cell in your purse and fellas put it down on the floor, on a table or chair--not your front or back pocket. When the client takes snapshots of you, the last thing they want to see is the outline of your phone pressing through your jeans.

Trust me, you'll survive the short few minutes that castings and go-sees take without having your cell in your hand or pocket. The client should be your priority and you're there to impress them so that you'll get booked. So remember: silence, silence, silence when it comes to cell phones!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Answering a Reader Question #309

DII_18 Wrote:

I'm a guy so hopefully you can answer my question.I'm 17 turing 18 in a week. I'm 5ft10.5 or 5ft11. My waist is 29" and my chest last measured at 37" which may have changed slightly and broad shoulders(will that be a problem like with suits). I'm not actually sure if I have model potential despite what people say and also I have some acne on my face and back but not noticable from a distance but I do have a strong intrest I'm the industry. .What do you think? How are my chances?

Hi, DII_18! The best way for you to find out if you have modeling potential is to start submitting yourself to local agencies, as well as attending open casting calls. You're the ideal age and most agencies set their minimum height requirement for male models at 5'11". As far as your size/measurements, the ideal clothing size is standard around a 40regular - 42long.

As far as your acne, you'll want to get that under control as soon as possible. Even though your acne is not as noticeable from a distance, the photos you'll be taking as a model will be close ups and you'll also be center stage when on the runway. Agencies don't expect you to have "perfect" skin but you should have "good" skin that is healthy and fairly even in color.

A good starting point for you would be to go online and look up the official websites for modeling agencies that are within a 2 hour's drive from where you live. The websites will give you all the info you need to know, including what pictures to send and if they have open casting calls where you can go in without an appointment. Additionally, you'll also be able to view the models those agencies currently represent, which will give you an idea of what physical looks they want and are interested in.

If you need help with finding legit agencies to check out, feel free to email me: daniadenise@gmail.com.