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, March 31, 2012

Answering a Reader Question #346

Anonymous Wrote:

Hi Dania in regards to modeling what's more important a models weight or their measurements. I really want to know in regards to a commercial market in NYC. what's more important to clients and agencies. For the commercial market it is common for a agency to turn down a model based on her weight or measurements. Also when a agency signs a commercial model what criteria do they go by to sign someone like what does a model have to have in order to get signed to a commercial agency. Thanks so much

Hey, Anonymous! Measurements are almost always considered a higher priority than weight overall. This is mainly because of the whole sizing factor when it comes to wardrobe. Commercial/print models in general do not have to adhere to the same strict weight/measurement requirements that high fashion, runway and editorial models do. It is not as likely for an agency to tell a commercial model to lose weight or turn him/her down because of their weight--they mainly care that you're healthy in appearance and are proportional. So it is important to know that difference when it comes to commercial modeling.

Commercial models are meant to appeal to the mainstream public so that means they shouldn't be super thin/waif-ish or necessarily have to possess strong bone structure like fashion models. It's an entirely different niche of the industry so the physical requirements are not the same. Commercial/print agencies love models that are healthy, proportional, have good skin, healthy hair, nice teeth, great smiles and it helps if their features are symmetrical (when referring to symmetry in a person's face, it means how well the left side matches correspondingly with the right). However, even if a model's face isn't symmetrical, it doesn't mean an agency won't be interested.

In general, commercial models are the more attractive version of the girl/guy-next-door. They have to be able to show expression easily (both subtle and over the top), know how to emote different expressions/looks and fit into the types of "roles" clients need (i.e. the girlfriend, best friend, mother, sister, tech geek, teacher, businessperson, etc.).

Answering a Reader Question #345

Anonymous Wrote:

hi Dania i have a question about acting. how do i get an acting agent. what is the process to get started with acting. I did several plays throughout middle school and high school. however, the last play i did was when i was 18yrs old can i include those plays on my resume right now all i have are my stats from modeling my height and other measurements i was hesitant about adding previous work from high school because i wasn't sure if they were too old. I feel that since i haven't done any performing since I was 18 I figured I'm starting from square 1 brand new. So I would love a step by step approach pursuing acting seriously and hopefully finding an agent I'm a new freelance model but I want to become a freelance actress is that possible is there a M.M for actors. Oh and I would prefer to act for television and film, theater is great but I'd rather be on camera than on stage. I prefer to be on camera I'm fine with starting with small roles I would love to do commercials too is it OK to do some extra/background work or is that frowned upon. I just want guidance on how to restart my career now that I'm 24 and I live in NYC.

Hi, Anonymous! To answer your initial questions, yes, you can include that previous acting experience. However, I would only include the high school stuff instead of middle school. Although that was some time ago, those all count as experience gained for acting so feel free to add those to your resume. You can definitely do acting freelance, so no worries there. Unfortunately, there isn't an MM for actors as far as I know. But that's okay, you've still got options to work with. Seeking background/extra work is recommended and many working actors--as well as newbies or those picking it back up--do this type of work on a regular basis as part of their careers. It's definitely not frowned upon...and you get paid!

Based on the info you've given me, here is your step-by-step guide for pursuing acting freelance in the New York area:

1. Get your professional actor headshot, if you don't already have one. If you want to use your modeling headshot, that's fine, but make sure it isn't too "model-ish." I hope you get what I mean, lol. Actor headshots are less glamorous and should have you with a nice, natural smile.

2. Have a resume you can submit to gigs (don't forget to include your stats and contact info on there as well).

3. Get registered on NY casting agency sites. This is going to be your main resource for finding work. You're in the perfect market so you've got tons of casting sites to choose from and you can register with more than one if you want. You can also choose the type of projects you want to submit to.

4. Start putting together material for your "demo reel." This can be done by working with student directors or submitting yourself to castings they offer "footage for your reel." You'll need to know someone that does video editing in order to have your reel put together so that you can use that to further market yourself as an actor.

5. Take acting workshops/classes. There are plenty of affordable classes, workshops, seminars, etc. Always work on your craft, especially in the NY market where the competition is stiff.

Casting agencies are not modeling/talent agencies and there is no contract or commissions they take out. They basically allow you to register with them, create a profile with your photos, resume, etc. online and will then send you alerts (typically via email) anytime a project comes up that matches your preferences. You can submit your profile electronically to clients and they'll automatically receive your headshot, resume and other profile details. Then they'll contact you directly if they want you to audition.

Most casting sites charge a monthly or yearly fee--some more affordable than others and vice-versa. But you can tailor your profile how you see fit and pay accordingly for the services you want. There are a few that are also free. Below are just a few of the many you can check out for yourself in order to get familiar with casting sites:

Central Casting
New York Casting
Casting Networks, Inc.

I currently use SFCasting.com, which is a sister site of Casting Networks, Inc. The structure is pretty much the same, except they only target the San Francisco market (but that site also exists for the New York market). I currently pay $15/month for the following services:

* Unlimited photo uploads
* Unlimited submissions (if you don't have this, it's $0.99 to submit to each casting)
* Unlimited media clip submissions (I have my demo reel and other video samples of my acting work that clients can see) 

Having a demo reel will be your most valuable asset in getting legit work. Resumes are great but when clients can see you in action, that is what gets your foot in the door faster.

Answering a Reader Question #344

Anonymous Wrote:

hi Dania what's your criteria for accepting gigs on Craigslist? how do you actually search for jobs on the site do you search "jobs" or "gigs" in the part where you have that option. On average how much do you get paid for a gig and how long does it take to receive the money. Thanks

Hey there, Anonymous! To find out my thoughts on searching for gigs on Craigslist, you'll want to check out the following link to my blog post about this topic:

Tips for Finding Modeling Jobs on Craigslist

To find posts for modeling gigs on Craigslist, you'll want to look for the "Gigs" category and click on the link for "Talent" underneath it. The pay varies and people posting on CL aren't always operating on the largest budgets so usually the pay ranges (in my area, which is Northern California) from $150-$500 per gig. I've seen posts for $800 or more but very few of them are legit. The majority of "high paying" work on CL that has a comma in the pay rate is usually a scam or for adult/pornography work.

In most cases, modeling gigs on Craigslist pay the same day, after the shoot/show/event is over. Depending on the client, it may be cash or company check. Sometimes they'll mail the check to you instead, which could take anywhere from 3-5 business days or 1-2 weeks. That all depends on when they mail the check out or if they have to go through a payroll process. But generally, you'll get paid faster, compared to booking a paying gig through a modeling agency, which can take anywhere from 30-90 days.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Answering a Reader Question #343

Anonymous Wrote:

Is it 'unprofessional' to wear nicer shorts to an open call? Like white, denim shorts? Or is it better to always wear a skirt/jeans? And if shorts are fine to wear, should I wear heels with them too? Thanks! 

Hi, Anonymous! Because open calls are informal, it is okay to wear nice shorts, especially since that's a great way for the agency to see your body shape. ALWAYS wear heels to anything modeling/agency related so definitely pair them with your shorts (they'll make your legs look awesome, lol). Should you get invited back for an actual interview with the agency, that's when you'll want to wear something less casual.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Answering a Reader Question #342

Anonymous Wrote:

Hi! I got invited to an invitation-only open call and I have a few questions. The email they sent me about three weeks after I mailed snapshots says that there will be 10-12 other models and "it takes about an hour". Do you think they mean they will interview with 10-12 people all in one hour, or one hour each? They also said they are considering me for their fashion division, does that mean the same thing as runway? Also, do you think that I should wear heels? Does it make a better impression? Thank you for all of your help! 

Hey, Anonymous! Congrats on getting the invite to the open call!

I would think the "hour" includes the entire process from the time to you sign in, get interviewed/evaluated, etc. Casting calls are typically not long in duration. They'll more than likely have more than one person conducting the open calls (to make things go faster) or will bring people in 2-3 at a time. It's unlikely that they'll take 1 hour with each model.

Usually fashion will also include runway but that will mainly be determined by how good your walk is. Fashion modeling covers doing photoshoots for brands, products, ad campaigns, etc. So it is not the same as runway, which just involves walking in fashion shows. Almost all fashion models also do runway, however.

ALWAYS wear heels! Even if you are already super tall, heels are the main part of a model's "uniform." So make it a point to wear heels (4 inches is ideal) to anything modeling-related: casting calls, go-sees, castings, shoots, etc. I wish you the best of luck with your casting call!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Aspiring Models & Jumping the Gun: Not a Winning Combo

I can't help but be amused when I talk to/mentor aspiring models. Just in talking to them or reading their emails, I can sense the anxiety, excitement, ambition and all the other emotions that come with the thought of pursuing modeling. Of course youth has a lot to do with it...many of the aspiring models that contact me are very young (13-17 usually but sometimes even as young as 10-years-old!).

When it comes to interacting with newbies with big dreams of making it big in modeling, I notice a couple of consistent behaviors/beliefs that seem to be common with the younger age group. The most obvious one I notice is that they're busy trying to apply to agencies before they've even reached the physical requirements. Everyone grows at their own rate--I've met 13 and 14-year-olds that were already a whopping 5'10", while I've met others the same age who were barely 5'4".

When a newbie asks me if they have a shot at being a fashion model but they're nowhere near the minimum height requirements and are still very young, I'm often not sure how to answer. Actually, the only answer I can give them is literally, "I don't know." If you're young and still have a few years to grow, only TIME will be the indicator as to whether or not you'll reach the height for fashion agencies to be interested in representing you. I, nor any other professional in the industry, can make that judgment call or predict the future. But you know who can get you a much more accurate answer? Your doctor! Aspiring models that are worrying themselves silly about if they'll grow to be super tall should make an appointment for a check-up with their doctor. They've got the expertise and know-how to help you get an idea of how tall you could potentially get, especially when they evaluate your parents and immediate family members. I'm no doctor so go with a pro when trying to determine if you'll eventually reach "model height" for fashion and runway.

Another common trend I see when working with younger, aspiring models is their anxiety about not having the right look or body type. If you're a 14-year-old girl wanting to be a model, why would you compare yourself to a Victoria's Secret model? Of course you're not going to have the body of a VS model now...you're 14! And yet I get messages from super young girls, worrying that they don't have the physical requirements to pursue modeling like VS. This is the type of jumping the gun behavior that is so unnecessary and actually worries me about their perception of the world/reality. Aspiring, young models, PLEASE stop stressing yourself out about why you don't have the same body as a grown woman...such behavior serves no purpose. Plus, it will give you major stress, which isn't healthy.

Young models hear me out and forgive me if I sound like your parents: stop trying to grow up so fast! Being young only lasts for a little while...being an adult lasts FOREVER! The supermodels you idolize are all grown women...it's okay to admire them but at this point in your young life, do NOT compare yourself to them and use that to try and figure out where you fit into the modeling industry.

Want to know if you can be a model? Want to know if you'll be successful? Want to know if you have what it takes to get a big agency to represent you? Do your homework and find out what the agency requirements are. Don't meet those requirements just yet and still have some growing to do? Then your solution would be to ENJOY BEING YOUNG! Hang out with your friends, get good grades in school and live in those moments where you don't have many cares in the world, no bills to pay, etc. The modeling industry isn't going to disappear before you get a chance to put yourself out there...it will be around for a long, long time.

You can't rush Mother Nature so don't worry about the things you can't control. And if you're just dying to be a model that dang bad, work with what you have--your age. Teen/preteen modeling exists and plenty of agencies have teen modeling divisions so go about pursing that to get your foot into the door, instead of trying to strategize how to get into fashion and runway modeling before your time.

Applying to Modeling Agencies is Like Applying to Colleges

Before you start getting panic attacks about the educational requirements to pursue modeling through an agency, let me set the record straight: there are NO educational requirements, degrees, diplomas or certification needed to become a model. The purpose of this blog post is to explain the similarities between modeling agencies and colleges in regards to the way you prepare your submission materials to them (so if you were having a panic attack just now by reading the title of this post, you can take that much-needed deep breath and exhale now, lol).

Many new models have no idea where to start when it comes to finding a modeling agency for representation and that's totally normal. How can you be expected to know about something you've never dealt with before? However, the risk with being a newbie and trying to find your way in modeling is that sometimes it can lead to making innocent mistakes, such as the way you submit yourself to agencies.

Some may think that if they get professional pictures done and send them all blindly to a bunch of random agencies, they'll get results. Wrong. I like to think of submitting to modeling agencies like submitting to colleges. For those of you that are currently applying to colleges or are close to reaching this point in your life, this post will make it a lot easier for you to see the connection between the two and why I chose to write about this topic. Those of you that are far from thinking about college can still benefit from reading this post because it will give you a better understanding of the way things work so that you'll choose the right steps to get the best results.

When applying to colleges and universities, there are some important factors you need to seriously consider in order to know where you'll apply to:

- Location: Will you attend a college close to home or do you plan on going to another state?

- Major: Do you want to become a lawyer, nurse, journalist, etc.?

- Requirements: What are the materials and info the college needs from me so that I can apply?

- Submission Instructions: What steps do I need to follow so that my submission will be reviewed and accepted? Do they want me to mail my application or can I send it electronically?

It's safe to say that these four categories for deciding on colleges can be directly compared to modeling agencies:

- Location: This is important when applying for representation because you have to consider if the market you're currently in will get you the exposure and opportunities you want for your career or if you'll want to relocate to where the action is. So many newbies ask me what are the best agencies to apply to...I can't give an accurate answer because I don't know where they live. The best agencies are in places like New York, Los Angeles, Miami, etc. but if you don't live anywhere near there and you're not in the position of relocating, knowing that info will be useless. What will get you results is knowing where the best agencies are near where YOU live.

- Major: For modeling purposes, this can be translated to what type of modeling you not only want to pursue but that you realistically meet the agency standards for. Are you hoping to do high fashion, runway, commercial/print, parts modeling, etc? If you don't know what answer, you're not going to know which agencies will be the right ones to submit to.

- Requirements: Not just anybody off the street can snag an agency. There are requirements that must be met before you can even consider sending a submission to a modeling agency. Don't meet all of the requirements listed on an agency's website? Then don't apply. Simple as that. Doing otherwise would only be a waste of your time and the agency's.

- Submission Instructions: Some agencies have several different ways for you to send your submission. Other agencies will say they only allow submissions sent by regular mail. It's vital to know the correct/preferred method(s) for each agency.

You wouldn't just blindly send a bunch of stuff to colleges and hope they accept you, right? So why would you do that for modeling agencies? Sure, there are tons of colleges and universities that are in the same category but does that mean they're all exactly alike? Definitely not. Again, it's the same for modeling agencies.

Whenever I say "prepare your submissions accordingly," that means treat each agency you're considering as if they're the only people you're submitting to. Sure, agencies are all out to achieve the same goals but that doesn't mean they want generic submissions from prospective models. They have their own specific submission requirements and instructions for what to send and how for a reason.

It's understandable that you'll have misconceptions about entering the industry as a new model but when it comes to agencies, there isn't going to be much room for excuses when it comes to not preparing your submissions the way they're supposed to be done. Just as you wouldn't want to do anything to jeopardize getting accepted into a great college or university, don't be so quick to jump the gun and treat all agencies the same when preparing your pictures and information to send out.

Submitting to Modeling Agencies: No Trick Questions Involved

It can be intimidating as a new/inexperienced model to apply to agencies. However, there's no need to have anxiety attacks when it comes to submitting yourself. Agency websites state often that it's perfectly okay to NOT have professional pictures or a portfolio put together--they even state plainly on their sites that it's acceptable to send them snapshots.
That being said, when it comes to agency submissions that ask you to explain any experience you may have, tell the truth. There is nothing wrong with saying that you are new to the industry. This part of the submission process isn't a trick question--they need to know your level of experience in order to help factor in their decision to represent you. An agency isn't going to approach an experienced model seeking representation the same way they would a newbie.

Aspiring models that feel embarrassed or less worthy because they don't have previous experience are being way too hard on themselves and are seeing things from a personal perspective instead of a business one. They're asking you to provide your experience level information because it's going to factor in how they would potentially train and market you to clients. If an experienced model is looking for a new agency and he/she gets signed, the agency already knows that he/she will probably already have headshots, comp cards and a portfolio they can work with. But if a model puts on their application that they have little to no experience, then the agency knows there is going to be more effort required on their end to get that new model to break into the industry.

New faces with no experience get signed all the time so trust me when I say be honest and let agencies know that you're new. However, don't forget to throw in that you're eager to learn the ins and outs of modeling and look forward to pursing the industry seriously. Agencies love working with new models so don't feel the need to lie about your experience level or think that you shouldn't even apply because you see this question appear during the submission process. If you've got what it takes, your lack of experience won't be a hindrance.

New Dania Denise Modeling Website Relaunch for 2012

I'm really excited to relaunch my official modeling website with a new look/layout. It's important to keep modeling websites/profiles up to date and for 2012, I decided to revamp my current site. Luckily, I'm able to customize it entirely on my own and can update my pictures, add as many pages as I want, etc. without having to pay a graphic designer to do it--that's the method I've been using since I created my first modeling website back in 2007. It can get pretty expensive!

So here is the link to my new modeling website...because I can update everything myself, I'm going to be diligent about keeping my portfolio pictures on there current, as well as my resume. The URL itself is different but I plan on keeping my original DaniaDenise.com domain name and will eventually switch it over to the new company I'm using so that anyone that types in DaniaDenise.com will get my new site instead of the old one:


Answering a Reader Question #341

Anonymous Wrote:

Hi Dania! I live in Indiana and I'm looking to be a model. I'm almost 16, 123lbs and my measurements are almost the standard-im still working on slimming up hehe. I've looked at some website agencies you've posted for another lady who lives in Indiana and I have a few questions. For my headshots, should I smile or have no expression? or smize? and when I build my professional portfolio can some of my friends in college that are studying to be a photographer take my pictures? or should i hire an actual photographer? oh and will the fact that my eyes are different colors-(one is brown, one is blue/green)-work against me? I dont know if the fashion industry would be that picky. Thanks soo much! I'm addicted to your blog so i'm going to keeping reading on! :) xoxox 

Hi there, Anonymous! Thanks for being an avid reader of my blog...I appreciate it!!!

For your headshots, you should not smile if you're trying to be considered for fashion modeling. If you're trying to do commercial/print, then a nice, warm smile is ideal.

When it comes to your portfolio, you won't need one prior to submitting to agencies so you won't even get around to that subject until after you've been offered a contract. If the agency decides to cover the costs of your test shoot and putting together the images for your portfolio, then you won't have to do anything on your end as far as contacting photographers.

However, if they leave the process up to you, it's best to ask them for reference images of the quality of pictures they want you to get. Regardless of whether the photographer is a student or pro, as long as they can achieve the same look the agency wants, that's all that matters. You don't have to tell the agency that the photographer is a student, either. That would be something I would keep to myself, especially if they've got the talent to pull off agency caliber modeling portfolio photos.

I've never heard of an agency rejecting a model because of a difference in eye color or anything similar to that. I would actually think it would work in your favor because it's a unique characteristic. Even if a client had an issue with it, Photoshop would take care of it. So I think you're okay in that respect.

Answering a Reader Question #340

Anonymous Wrote:

Hey Dania! :)

I love, love, love your blog! :D It's helped me a lot. So, thanks a ton. :)

Um, here's my problem:
I live in India, in a rather small town and I have big dreams to make it in the modelling world. My dreams, though, go beyond India, since the modelling scene here isn't equally as good as America. As soon as I turn 18, I'll be allowed to move out and pursue my passion. As of now, I'm 15 and my height is 5'7". Do you think agencies like Ford will be interested in me? If so, how should I proceed?
Also, I got stretch marks when I was 14, is it too late to minimise them now? I didn't really know how to go about with them until I saw your post.

I'm sorry for all the questions. Lol. :P Thanks, again. :) 

Hi, Anonymous! I'm glad that my blog has been such a help to you...I love to hear that from my readers! :-)

In regards to your height, if you end up growing to at least 5'8" by the time you turn 18 and move to the U.S., then you'll be okay with submitting to agencies like Ford. 5'8" is the minimum height requirement for fashion agencies so that will get you in the door. However, if you're still 5'7" by the time you end up moving, you could find it difficult to sign with a fashion agency. Even though it is just one inch, in the modeling industry, agencies will scrutinize that difference a lot. Should you still be 5'7" when you get to the U.S., your other option would be to seek agencies that represent commercial/print models, since that is what your current height is ideal for.

Right now it's best to research the agency websites in the U.S. and see what specific requirements they have and what the methods of submission are. That way you'll be prepared and know what to send them or which agencies you'll visit for open casting calls when you move from India. Until then, there isn't much you can do since you said you won't be free to move out until you're 18.

As long as you treat your stretch marks now with the proper products (cocoa butter, other hydrating creams/lotions), it will prevent your current stretch marks from getting worse, as well as keep new ones from appearing. So get on top of that now because the longer you wait and the older the marks are, the more difficult/impossible they will be to treat.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Answering a Reader Question #339

Anonymous Wrote:

Am I supposed to have to pay to create my portfolio? It seems like that is what every agency is saying I need to do.. "You need to invest some money into your career." But it isn't just "some" money, it seems like $1,000 is the least I'll spend. Is this normal? It seems a bit ridiculous, especially if "A real agency won't ask you to spend any money"... I don't know what to do. What did you do to build up your portfolio? 

Hi, Anonymous! I would recommend that you read my blog post about this subject, which explains the ways agencies operate when it comes to the process of having newly signed models put together their portfolios:

The Deal With Agencies & Test Shoots for Portfolio Building

$1,000 is really high and not an amount you need to pay to get quality images. Most models typically spend anywhere from $200-$600 ballpark but those fees include much more than just hiring the photographer that takes your picture--at least it does if you do your research and choose the right professional(s) to work with. I would go into more detail about this but the link above pretty much covers all the main points.

As for myself, I paid for shoots in order to create my modeling portfolio for my agency in the beginning of my career but now that I've got experience, including tearsheets, I don't really need to pay for shoots to build my portfolio anymore. Whenever I want to update my pictures, I'll reach out to the network of photographers I know/have worked with. Since we have an established working relationship, they'll almost always do free test shoots with me so it saves me money and we're both able to add new photos to our portfolios.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Latest Shoot: Bowling Themed Editorial Spec Ad

I've been fortunate to work with some great photographers in the years that I've been modeling and oftentimes we end up working together on more than one project. A few weeks ago, a photographer I shot with a while back, Stephanie, shot me a text to see if I was available for a shoot. She's got great skills and I had a blast working with her before so I figured, why not?

The shoot was a bowling themed editorial spec ad. The word "spec" means that it's not a real ad that's meant to be published. The purpose of this shoot was for portfolio building, which I was happy about because I've been wanting to include more samples of editorial work in my portfolio.

I showed up bright and early at a bowling alley in the beach town of Pacifica, which is about 15 minutes outside of San Francisco. Thankfully, the weather was amazingly warm and sunny. I met up with Stephanie and we headed into the bowling alley to set up the equipment and figure out what shots she wanted to get. I arrived "camera-ready," which means I did my own hair and makeup. Stephanie provided everything else: wardrobe, accessories, etc. We were a two-gal operation. :-)

We knocked out the shoot in about 2 hours, which was awesome. It gave us plenty of time to relax and enjoy a nice lunch at a nearby seafood place. Below are the fruit of our labors, lol:
What makes Stephanie so amazing is that she's a student photographer...that's right, she's still in photography school and is in the process of fine tuning her craft. Below is the first shoot I did with Stephanie, which was a Nutcracker theme (I was the Gingerbread Lady):
I don't know about you, but I believe she's got the natural talent it takes to be successful and I can't wait to see where her skills take her after graduation. In fact, my shooting experience with Stephanie has actually inspired a blog post I plan on doing soon, talking about the benefits of working with student photographers, so be on the lookout for that real soon!

The Role Modeling Plays in My Life

This blog post was inspired by a reader question...

Anonymous Wrote:

I have a few questions about you! Is modeling your main/only source of income or is it just a side thing you do? How many agencies are you signed to? How many 'gigs' do you get on average a week? Good luck with your future modeling plans :)

As I'm sure many of you know by now, modeling is more than just a hobby for me. It's a passion and something that I continue to enjoy more and more with each passing year. However, the role that it plays in my life is probably a lot different from what many of you that don't know me personally (or in the "real world) would think.

I often get asked if I model full-time. My answer is "yes and no." Yes, because it is a career that I seriously pursue and run as a business (I file my own set of taxes each year that relate to my modeling and acting work and related expenses). No, because I also have other careers that I also seriously pursue (I'm also an artist and writer/journalist). 

Modeling isn't my only/main source of income because, realistically speaking, I can't live off of what I make through that type of work. For younger models that still live at home with their parents and have no bills to pay, making money full time from modeling is more of a reality for you. But I've been out of my parents' house for almost 4 years now--I've got rent, auto insurance, a car note and other living expenses that have to be paid every month and in such a situation, depending solely on modeling income just ain't gonna cut it, lol. Plus, I'm a print model so that limits the amount of work I can get (no high paying runway shows or high fashion magazine spreads for me :-/).

What also makes relying on modeling income alone unrealistic for me is the fact that the work I book through my agent doesn't pay right away. Many new models don't realize that even the biggest paychecks for gigs won't make it to your bank account for 30-90 days. That's a long time to be without funds. But again, if you live at home and don't have a bunch of financial obligations and responsibilities, this won't be such a big concern for you.

I'm signed to one agency. I've toyed with the idea of having more than one but at this point, it would be stretching myself too thin, especially since most agencies don't want you signing with the competition in the same market. Right now one agency is more than enough for me, especially since I also do my fair share of freelance modeling, where I find work on my own in addition to what my agent gets for me.

As far as how frequently I book work, it's not a consistent thing. I would estimate that on average, I probably book a modeling gig once every other week or 2-3 times a month. Sometimes if the timing is right and the opportunities are there, I can book 2-3 gigs in a 1-2 week period but then it'll dry up for like a month. That's how it goes in the industry--and that's regardless of what kind of modeling you specialize in. If anything, the number of castings I attend outnumbers the actual gigs booked. The more castings you attend, the higher your chances are of getting hired but no model gets every single casting or go-see (I'm referring to the average, working model, not those that are "it" models or supermodel status).

Modeling is a huge part of my life but I work realistically within my expectations as far as my height, physical look, market/location, etc. So far the results I've gotten work for me. My best piece of advice for models trying to gauge how successful they could be in the industry is to work within your comfort zone and set practical, realistic goals that work with your lifestyle and not against it.

Answering a Reader Question #338

Anonymous Wrote:

Hi Dania, i have a question. after you've submitted pics to an agency via email and snail mail ( i do both i want to hit them from both angles) and haven't received a response provided you've waited the right amount of time does it make sense to still go to an open call. I'm really ambitious about this so how long again should i wait until i resubmit pics or attend an open call. waiting is getting hard, i'm on MM but haven't received a response regarding castings or photo shoots. agencies don't want me right now i'm just feeling bummed. granted i have a day job so financially i'm fine but i'm miserable and very unhappy. i just want to be a model (preferably an agency signed model). I just want to make money doing something i love instead of something i have to do it's so miserable so you see i have to follow my dreams i have to make me happy. what should i do because i feel people are not giving me a chance :( 

Hi, Anonymous! I'm sorry to hear about the current situation you're in and I definitely feel your frustration. I was in the same situation myself a few years ago, which is why I made the big leap to become self employed so that I could follow my passion for modeling and acting more seriously.

The typical time frame to wait for an agency reply is 4-6 weeks. But it isn't uncommon for it to take up to 8 weeks to hear back. If you don't receive any response after 8 weeks, it's fairly safe to say they aren't interested in you at the moment. I personally wouldn't recommend attending an open casting call if you haven't allowed the maximum amount of time to pass to hear back. However, you are allowed to resubmit after 6 months to 1 year.
It's also important that you're applying to agencies and for MM castings that you meet the requirements for (height, stats, age, etc.). If your look happens to be "overdone" or is too common, that could also play a factor into why you haven't been able to find agency representation or get hired through MM. 

I know waiting is difficult but you do more harm to your cause by sending in multiple submissions to an agency and then showing up to their open call. It's like you're stalking them, lol. In their eyes, if you're this "in-your-face" about submitting, you'll probably be the same way with contacting them non-stop about castings, go-sees, etc, which would seriously irritate them. So for now do what you can to keep yourself occupied and allow for the right amount of time to go by. Only then should you go to an open call to see if that will improve your chances if you want to resubmit.

Prepping Your Snapshots for Modeling Agencies

This blog post was inspired by a reader question...

Anonymous wrote:

When submitting snapshots to agencies through email, should I send separate files or edit the all onto one "page"? Like the one example you gave of Doutzen Kroes? Or does it not really matter? Thank you for all of your wonderful help! 

If you've been a reader of my Modeling 101 blog, chances are you've seen me mention non-professional digital snapshots for agency submission quite a few times. Those of you that are familiar with my posts may also have seen photo examples of what other models' snapshots look like--namely, the ones of Doutzen Kroes, where her images are arranged as six pictures all put into one collage.

While Doutzen's snapshots are perfect to use for creating your own snapshots to submit to agencies, I do realize that some of you may be confused about the type of layout you should do. So to clarify things once and for all on this subject to save any newbie models grief and frustration: you do NOT need to layout your snapshot images in a fancy way like the ones for Doutzen Kroes. This type of layout is used by agencies so there's no need to be a Photoshop whiz or worry about how to achieve this look for your own pictures.

When prepping your images to email to modeling agencies, only upload one photo file at a time. That means if you've taken four digital snapshots of yourself, you should be attaching four separate files to your email. The same thing applies if you are mailing hard copies of your photos. Hard copy snapshots should be 5"x 7", unless otherwise instructed by the agency's website submission guidelines.

Answering a Reader Question Video Reply #4

Anonymous Wrote:

Hey Dania,
I am an aspiring model and basically here is my position. I am turning 18 in April and have been preparing for a trip to New York in June. I have zero modeling experience besides my own "photoshoots" of family members taking pictures of me. I am 5'8 117 lbs. hips 32 waist 26 bust 29. I live in Indiana and don't have time or money for local agents. I work 50 hours a week and study modeling all the time. I want to go to New York and go to open calls and castings for top agencies and see what happens. I have a great personality and a lot of modeling knowledge from the internet and such, but like I said no experience. I would love to sign to ford, elite, or IMG and of course do runway. I know this industry is competitive but i think other qualities I have will make up for my height. I am not cocky just confident and being positive towards reaching my goals and I was wondering what you thought about my random trip to New York and if it is realistic or what my chances were? Do I just bring polaroids to open calls? Do you know the process after being signed with a top agency from NYC is like? I know if I can get signed I will network my way to bigger things, but I want to be as prepared as possible for this trip so I don't screw up. lol Do you know what the open calls are like in NYC, or questions they might ask me? Especially being a "newbie" will they try and trick me? Anything you can think of that will help me I would really appreciate! I am glad I found this blog because you have experience and internet only provides so much. lol 

Thanks for the questions, Anonymous! Below is your video reply answer! :-)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Quick Tip #41

Category: Wardrobe
For: Male & Female Models

When doing a photoshoot and wearing wardrobe that has been given to you by the wardrobe stylist DO NOT RIP OFF/REMOVE THE PRICE TAGS!

Oftentimes, stylists end up returning the merchandise after the shoot since they know the outfits won't be used again so it's important that the garments go back to the store the same way they came out. If a tag is bothering you, ask permission first to see if it's okay to remove it. If not, just deal with it for the time-being. You might get lucky and work with a stylist that has a device that can reattach the tags after they've been removed...in that situation, then it's okay to take them off BUT still ask permission first! This will make the stylist's job much easier and keep you on their good side.

Answering a Reader Question #337

Anonymous Wrote:

Hi Dania, I just had one quick question- if a reputable agency really wanted me, would they pay for me to get to shoots? This is what my mother thinks any agency should do and I'm not too sure if that's how it works/if it's completely out of line for her to mention that to any agency. The last thing I want to do is come off as rude. Thank you! 

Hi, Anonymous! Great question, thank you for asking it here on my blog so other readers can also benefit!

When it comes to castings/go-sees, where you're "auditioning" for a project, then, no, agencies will not pay for your expenses related to travel (gas money, plane ticket, parking) and/or lodging (hotel). If it is for an actual project that you've officially booked, this part is negotiable and totally dependent on the client, budget and nature of the assignment. The client is the one that would cover such expenses, not the agency so that's important for you and your mother to know. The agency itself has no obligation/responsibilities to the model in that respect. Their job is to negotiate the terms and arrangements necessary for getting you from point A to point B.

Agencies will negotiate to have your travel expenses included in the pay rate/covered by the client. That's typically if you're required to travel outside the city limits so you can trust your agency to talk to the client and work those details out.

I would recommend that your mother not make a huge deal out of the topic. It's okay to ask about this subject (each agency handles situations differently) but the key is to know how to ask the question the right way. Instead of saying something like, "You're going to pay for her travel to shoots, right?" Make sure she approaches the subject more along the lines of, "When it comes to traveling for shoots, how does it work for travel expenses? Does the client pay for that or do we?" Then see what the agency says and take it from there.

As long as such concerns are brought up to an agency in a more inquisitive/curious way and not in a demanding, "I think this is what you should do for me," type of manner, you can get your answers without rubbing the agency the wrong way.

Answering a Reader Question #336

Anonymous Wrote:

Hi thanks for all the wonderful advice! My question is, is it a good idea to sign with a small agency in a big market like L.A.? Will this lead to bigger opportunities and bigger agencies? Or is it a dead end? Will the get me good gigs? If you've already written an article about this could direct me there? :) Thanks! 

Hi there, Anonymous! You're quite welcome! I do have posts related to this topic but figured it would be more useful if I just answer you directly (it also reminds me that I want to do a "refresher" posts of sorts related to this subject, so thank you for reminding me, lol).

Any agency large or small in a big market like Los Angeles is a good bet. Many people discount boutique agencies but in reality, they have just as much pull/influence as the bigger competition. The only difference is they're more selective and limit the number of models they represent. This makes for a more intimate/one-on-one working relationship. When I was with Ford, I was lost in the sea of all the people they represented--they sometimes had to jog their memories to remember who I was. I'm now with a boutique agency and it is SO refreshing! The communication is better, they're more receptive to my feedback and questions about the direction of my career and are able to send me to castings that I have a good chance of getting (as opposed to previous experiences where the agency simply sent me on a huge cattle call with a ton of other models).

Getting signed to a boutique agency is great, in my opinion, because they pay a lot more attention to you, keep you updated about stuff and have the same great, well known and high paying clients. So either way you go, it's a good situation to be in. Plus, you can always make the decision to move up to bigger agencies later on down the line if you feel you've outgrown your boutique agency.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Answering a Reader Question #335

Anonymous Wrote:

Hi I am 34 year old asian male, well skinny, I have been told I don't look older than 26 years old. I wanted to go for modelling but life got into it's ways, hence now I am thinking about it again. 1) do u think it's to late 2) what is the best way forward if age is not an obstacle 

Hi, Anonymous! To answer your first question, no, it's not too late. :-) To answer your second question, you'll want to look into agencies that represent commercial/print and/or lifestyle models, which is the category you fall under because of your age. Should you end up getting signed, it'll be up to your agency to decide whether they'll consider representing you for other types of modeling.

Do an online search for modeling agencies that are within a 2 hour's drive from where you live. Each agency website will have info/directions stating how to send them a submission and what types of photos they want to see. Wait to find out what each agency wants in terms of photos before going out and trying to put together a portfolio. In most cases, new models just need non professional, digital snapshots when it comes to submitting themselves for possible representation.

Answering a Reader Question #334

Deanna Wrote:

Hi Dania! :)

I just applied to be a ford model the other day (through their website) and they replied to me the next day! (which was super exciting haha)
now they're asking me to send in more pictures wearing a bikini and more profile shots, as well as my runway walk
I really want to make a good impression so do you have any tips for me? :)
thank you so much! 

Hey, Deanna! Kudos on hearing back from Ford right away...that's awesome! :-)

In regards to the additional photos you'll be sending, here are some quick tips:

- Wear little to no makeup...whatever look you had in your first set of pictures you sent them, stick with that.
- Choose an age appropriate swimsuit style that is one solid color that flatters your skin tone (no logos, brand names, images or other distracting patterns on it)
- Don't wear heels/shoes or socks. You'll want to be barefoot.
- Don't pose in these pictures...at the most you can put one hand on your hip.

For the runway walk, do you mean they're requesting video of you doing your runway walk or are they inviting you to an interview to do your walk for them? Either way, make sure that you're practicing as much as possible. The more you do your walk at home, the more comfortable you'll be in the way your body moves. You'll also be more confident doing it in front of them or in front of a video camera. You'll want to make sure you're wearing dark skinny jeans, heels (4 inches is ideal) and a form fitting, solid colored t-shirt or tank top...also have your hair pulled back into a low ponytail with little to no makeup.

Here are some links to my blog posts that will help you with the runway walk:

The Runway Walk

Helpful Tutorial for Learning the Runway Walk

A Few Words About the Runway Walk

I hope that helps and I wish you the best of luck!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Answering a Reader Question #333

Anonymous Wrote:

Thank you for your post but I must ask-how does one become a fit model? 

Hey, Anonymous! There are two ways to get into fit modeling: through an agent or on your own, which is known as freelance modeling.

Once a model gets signed to an agency, they'll take the model's complete measurements and if their stats match the requirements of any clients looking for fit models, they'll submit them for the gig.

Clients in need of fit models also post on sites like Craigslist, casting agency sites and other online resources, which allows freelance models to submit themselves for consideration. 

Because this type of modeling simply involves trying on the garments, you do not need to have modeling or fit modeling experience so even a person that's new to the industry could get hired for this type of work as long as their measurements are a match. You don't need professional photos, either. Snapshots that clearly show your body shape in fitted clothing will do. If hired or being considered, the client will invite you to a casting where they'll have you try on various clothing items. From there they'll decide whether or not to hire you officially.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Quick Tip #40

Category: Communications
For: Male & Female Models

When submitting yourself to castings for modeling assignments, follow the instructions listed in the post. If no specific instructions are given, send the client a message to ask about the details and how you can be considered for their project. Never tell a client that they should contact you and leave it at that. If a client posts that they are looking for models, that means you need to contact them, not the other way around.

On sites like Facebook and Model Mayhem, where you're allowed to post a public reply, I'll often see models telling clients who have posted gigs to "message me" or "contact me." Models that are truly serious will initiate the business relationship by messaging/contacting the client directly with their inquiry. Telling a client to contact you gives the impression that you're too busy/important to drop them a line. To me, it comes off as being pretentious/self-important--even if that was not the intention.

Unless you're a supermodel or very well known otherwise, why would you require a potential client to chase you down? If you didn't need the work, you wouldn't be looking for modeling gigs on casting sites, right? Humble yourself and take the first step.

Model Submissions: Navigating Modeling Agency Websites

Having a hard time trying to find info about how to submit yourself through an agency's website? Most sites for modeling agencies make it easy to find this information, while others seem to make this difficult, resulting in a "hide-n-seek" of sorts.
Here are a few places you can look on an agency website if you're having trouble getting the details you need to know in order to prepare your modeling submission:

Contact Page: This is the first place you should check if you can't locate submission info on an agency website right away. Oftentimes, they'll list the requirements and ways to submit on the contact page, or provide the email addresses of the specific person/people you need to email your photos and information to. Open call details are also posted on the Contact Page for some agencies.

About: Sometimes agencies will sneak a link into their agency bio that will take you to the page where you'll find the details about model submissions.

The Website Menu: If an agency website has a drop-down menu, start hovering your mouse on all the tabs until you see something that refers to a model submission.

Scroll Down on the Homepage: I've visited agency websites where you have to scroll down to the very bottom of the homepage and in tiny font it will say something about model submissions.

There are also different names/terms that agency websites use. Common terms you'll want to be on the lookout for include but are not limited to:
  •  Casting
  • Model Submissions
  • What We Look For
  • Want to Join [Name of Agency]?
  • Become a Model
  • Want to Become a Model?
Still can't find what you're looking for? Or do you only see a random email address/addresses listed? Then you'll more than likely have to send your photos and a brief message of introduction with your stats/measurements and contact info to the email address provided. Unless it says otherwise, make sure the subject line of your email has your name and "New Model Inquiry" or "Model Submission" in it so that your email doesn't get sent to their junk/spam folder.

I think in some cases, agencies make it hard on purpose for prospective models to find the instructions for submitting themselves. Why would they do such a thing? I don't know the answer for sure but a few reasons that automatically pop into my head have to do with preventing mass overload of submissions. Agencies already get bombarded with tons of submissions and by making it difficult for new people to find out how to send in their info, it keeps the volume at a more manageable level.

Another reason might be because they want to see who is really serious about wanting to sign with them. A potential model that really wants representation will search the website until they find what they're looking for, while others that are serious but might be on the lazy side would get discouraged if they don't get results right away. It may sound silly but when it comes to agencies, they want individuals that will go above and beyond to get results and those are the types of people they want on their team.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Answering a Reader Question #332

Anonymous Wrote:

Hi dania, do you know what website agencies go to for finding castings for their models and actors. Also I have another question. I want to make time for my acting and modeling but I'm under pressure to move out of the place I'm living within 6months to a year. How do I balance following my dreams with moving out it also doesn't help that I'm a new actress and model (so far I've done two test shoots and I've submitted to agencies over 6wks ago without a positive response well actually two agencies said they like me but are too full for my category so that still leaves me struggling for representation and money). I thought about taking acting classes at a community college but most of the classes are offered during the day. I don't have a day job yet but when I find one I'm pretty sure it'll be during the day, I'm still looking for a job but I have to remember that I have to move out soon. I've thought about doing the typical 9-5 just to earn income and if I can find acting workshops in the evening preferably on weekends. Or maybe my day job can be in the evenings but when I'm not submitting myself to castings during the day I still want to make money since I'm under pressure to move out. I don't know what to do I need to find away to do both. please help :) 

Hi, Anonymous! The majority of agencies have direct contacts to the clients themselves and whenever castings come up, the clients typically come to the agency. Aside from that method, agencies will also check out local casting websites and also have business relationships with those companies so they're given notifications whenever a new project is coming up that's in need of models and/or actors. I wouldn't know what specific casting sites/resources all agencies use because that is something unique to each agency but location has a lot to do with it. For example, I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and know that one of the casting sites, SF Casting, is a popular one that many agencies utilize. So if you're trying to find that type of info, it'll basically be determined by where you live.

Do you already have a place to move to or are you in need of the funds to make that move? If it is money that's the issue and you don't have enough to move or to find a new place to move into, my best recommendation would be to get a 9-5 and get some steady income first. While I know you're eager to get your modeling/acting career off the ground, financial security should be your priority. If you're not financially independent or in a good living situation, it will affect your results, not to mention your frame of mind. You want to prevent any type of struggle if at all possible.

Based on the info you've given me so far, I would suggest you find a day job and focus on getting the funds needed to make the move and settle into a new place. Once you do that and have a steady source of income established, then your next step should be to look into acting classes on the weekends/evenings. It would be best to do acting workshops, which are often held in the evenings to accommodate people's day jobs. Workshops are ideal compared to taking them through a community college because there is more flexibility in the types of acting classes you can take, as well as the schedule/duration. Some workshops are one time events, while others may be spread across a few weeks.

Trust me, I know you want to start the modeling/acting professionally right now but it takes time to develop a career that makes a significant amount of income. Since you've been told by a few agencies that your "category" is full at this time, you likely won't be getting representation anytime soon until that changes so use this downtime to focus on your living situation until a future agency opportunity to come along. Getting a 9-5 to help you get by in the meantime will relieve a LOT of stress on your end and at least give you the chance to make moves in your acting/modeling career behind the scenes. Once you find an agency to represent you, then you can look into changing your job situation to something that is more favorable for a full time entertainment career (like an evening job). The entertainment industry isn't going anywhere and the you'll get better results in reaching your goals with the proper financial backing.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

When to Start Charging for Your Modeling Services

(This post is mainly for freelance models dealing with clients asking you what your rate is, not for gigs where the budget/pay has already been set.)

Although the modeling industry is a business and operates like one, it isn't quite the same as a traditional 9-5 job. Working as a freelance model means being self employed and what might come as a surprise to many is the fact that when it comes to charging for services, there aren't any hard and fast rules or some ultimate guidebook that has all the answers.

A common question I get from many freelance models deals with the subject of not just charging for modeling services but figuring out when in their careers it is appropriate to begin doing so. As I just stated above, there are no hard and fast rules regarding this topic. However, there is some basic criteria that I believe would qualify a male or female model to begin charging clients wanting to hire them for assignments/gigs.

A Strong Portfolio: This is a freelance model's main way to "prove" their skills in the industry. If you've got a good collection of images from shoots you've done that are impressive and showcase you in the best light, it's enough to justify getting paid. Based on reviewing your portfolio, clients will see that you photograph well, are capable of getting those "money shots" and clearly know what you're doing in front of the camera.

Tearsheets: In addition to having great images in your portfolio, if you've gotten lucky enough to obtain tearsheets from work you've been published in, you're definitely within your right to charge if someone wants to hire you. Being published is the most surefire way to prove to anyone that you're worth being paid. However, don't be discouraged if you don't have any tearsheets to show yet...it doesn't mean you're any less talented or worthy of hiring. It's just additional leverage.

Your Attitude/Reputation: It's typically easy for clients to know when they're dealing with someone that is professional because they'll carry themselves as such (please note: acting like a diva doesn't count!). Whether you've been modeling for a few months or a few years, the way you interact/correspond with potential clients is oftentimes enough for them to decide if they'll hire you and pay your rate. For those that have a good reputation, it's much easier to charge for your services because all clients have to do is contact anyone you've worked with, do an online search about you, etc. in order to see that you not only can talk the talk but walk the walk. A solid and documented reputation--especially online--shows clients that if they pay, you'll deliver and are widely known for doing so.

Your Comfort Level with Your Skills: Confidence in yourself goes a very long way in being successful in modeling. Are you still unsure of your skills, feel a bit uncomfortable in front of the camera or think you still need a bit more practice with doing shoots? Then chances are you probably shouldn't start charging for your services just yet. Any doubt or major hesitation on your part likely won't translate well into your shoots and other modeling assignments. Remember, when clients pay their models, they expect 100% quality for the final results. Don't put that unnecessary pressure on yourself if you're not ready. That's a personal judgment call on your part that only you can make.

Unlike traditional career options, there is no required number of years that a person has to spend modeling before they can begin charging. If a male model or female model has what it takes and develops a natural talent for it, they can start establishing a pay rate with less than one year of experience. Others may need more time to establish their skills and portfolio before feeling comfortable enough to charge, and might decide to wait until they've got a year of modeling or more under their belt. It's a case-by-case basis. All models with the talent and know-how to get the job done are worth being paid for their services and expertise. That's the bottom line. As for when you should mark this period in your career with a paycheck, that's entirely up to you, which is a good thing. :-)

Answering a Reader Question #331

MinnieS Wrote:

My son is absolutely gorgeous. We hear this all the time. He has a killer smile and the small body frame which will never get much bigger. I would like to get his face out there but dont know where to start. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance for the help 

Hi MinnieS! The best way to jump start your son's modeling career professionally would be to find local agencies that represent male models. You'll want to look for agencies that are within a 2 hour's drive from where you live. These days agencies have official websites that list all you'll need to know in order to send in a submission. Because not all agencies ask for the same materials, you'll have to prepare each submission accordingly.

At this point, don't worry about getting professional photos or putting together a portfolio--this isn't necessary. Agencies prefer to receive non-professional, digital snapshots, which you can easily take yourself in your home. Here is a link that explains why snapshots are ideal and also has reference images of a top male model's snapshots:

Why I Love Doutzen Kroes

If you need further assistance with finding agencies for your son, you can send me an email directly at: daniadenise@gmail.com and I can help you out.

Quick Tip #39

Category: Emailing Photos
For: Male & Female Models

When emailing me your modeling photos for critique/feedback/evaluation, PLEASE don't send me monstrously huge files. They take forever to upload/display. Sometimes it takes so long I give up, lol.

So before sending your photos, resize them to be the appropriate size that won't take long to open.

Minimum file size: 100 KB (or close to it)
Maximum file size: 1 MB (or close to it)


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Answering a Reader Question #330

Anonymous Wrote:

Hi Dania!
I was just wondering how long it took you to find an agency/get started. What was your first paycheck amount? Was it more or less than you expected? And with an agency did you get a lot of work, like how many jobs did you get in one month? I'm just wondering so I can learn about someone's past experience, even though I'll be sure to expect less because you're so much more talented! Keep up the great work and good luck with your future! 

Hey, Anonymous! Thank you SO much for the compliments and kind words...it means a lot! Hey, we've all gotta start somewhere and I know that with time, experience, luck and dedication, you'll establish yourself!

Before I answer your questions, please keep in mind that when I started it was over 13 years ago...the Internet was nowhere NEAR as used by the masses as it is now, there was no ANTM or anything modeling related on TV and online submissions to modeling agencies all but didn't exist. So keep that perspective in mind. The industry's changed a lot since I started, lol. :-)

The very first time I got into the industry it was through an open call that was advertised in the mail. I attended with my parents, gave them a candid snapshot and got a callback about 5 days later. Then I signed to my first talent agency about a week later.

My first paycheck was about $450 for a print job I did. Being 15 at the time, that was a small fortune to me, lol, so I was very happy with that payout. As far as how much work I got, it was a decent amount for me only because I act as well as model so that increased the amount of work my agent was able to submit and book for me. Since it was so long ago, I really couldn't tell you exactly how many gigs I worked in the first month. But I do know that much of it was spanned out over the year so it wasn't like I had a bunch of gigs in one month...it was something more or less like 1-2 gigs every month or every other month but I was going to a bunch of castings in between.

Fast forward to my most recent years and I can also answer your same questions for the industry as I've dealt with it till now. Let's see...I left my previous agent last year in late October and got signed to my new/current agent about 2 weeks later in early November. Of course I had a considerable amount of experience and a strong portfolio, which allowed me to get representation a lot faster. Within my first month I booked a print job, which paid $700. Because my agency focuses on quality and not quantity, they don't send me out on a ton of castings (which I prefer)--only the ones that they know have good pay rates and that I stand a good chance at booking. So through my agent, it isn't like I'm booking gigs left and right (but having representation period gives a model leverage and shows clients he/she has what it takes to work in the industry). However, I pursue my freelance career very aggressively and it is with those efforts combined with my agency representation that I'm able to book fairly consistent work.

Answering a Reader Question #329

Anonymous Wrote:

Hello Dania,
Is there a link that contains a compiled list of the questions and answers for the "answering a readers questions". 

Hi, Anonymous! Unfortunately, I've yet to find a feature on Blogspot that allows me to compile all of my "Answering a Reader Question Series" into one list that I can link to. However, if you use the "Search" box on my blog (it is a white box with the Google logo on it) and enter the following keywords: answering a reader question, it will bring up all of the posts in the series. They're not in numerical order, however.

When you use the search box on my blog, make sure you select the option for it to search "Amodelsdiary.blogspot.com" and not "Web." Hope that helps!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

More Bridal Fashion Show Fun!!!

We only have two shows left for the Brocade Wedding Fair Spring Season--I can't believe it's gone by so fast! Thankfully we have some amazing photographers that have really put in work in capturing some fun moments of us on stage. This is the first season where we've gotten the pictures so soon after finishing a show and since I always enjoy sharing them with my readers...here you go!

My favorite "Vogue" scene, where I go into diva mode and represent for my ladies!

Being the finale bride at the end of the second show...my "father" is very emotional in giving me away to my "groom" lol.
This is the "Vogue" scene during the second show (we do two fashion shows and alternate outfits). When I come out as the last model, I do a 3-count to the other models on stage, which signals them to do their last "Vogue pose" before exiting the stage.

Me and my "groom," Sam in our opening scene for the second show.

It's hard not to smile/laugh when working with Sam on stage...he's such a character!


I love this dress and so does the crowd!

Working the Greek goddess look with a destination bridal gown from Blessed Brides By Sarah.

Another image from the same scene above.

Me and Sam making our entrance.

Posing at the end of the catwalk during the finale scene in the first show with my "boss," Porsha, who is the coordinator and choreographer for the shows.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Answering a Reader Question #328

Anonymous Wrote:

Question for Dania:

Hey girl,

I'm wondering what my options are for modeling. I've been told my whole life it's something I should look into and I'm finally starting to consider it! I am 20 years old, 5'11'' and about 140 lbs. Just last summer I started counting calories and exercising (already lost between 25-30 lbs!) and I am expecting to continue with this routine and probably lose a little more weight. The only thing I am SUPER self-conscious about are my stretch marks. They're only on my hips but I've had them since my growth spurt at 12. What do you think my options are?

Also, how would I go about submitting photos to agencies? I don't have any professional pictured and can't afford to hire someone right now to take some for me. In this case, would I just take my own photos on a self-timer? What type of poses/how what I go about doing this?

Thanks so much! 

Hey there, Anonymous! At your height you are ideal for fashion and runway. Although 20 is late to start it doesn't mean you can't still be considered by an agency...many set the age limit at 21 or 22 so you're still eligible in that sense. The main factor that will determine whether or not a fashion agency would be interested in signing you would be your measurements, which you didn't list. However, you did mention that you're in the process of slimming down so that's a good thing (as long as you are doing so in a healthy way!).

The industry standard for its fashion models is 34-24-34 (bust, waist and hips in inches). You can be smaller but no larger than one inch in any of those areas so the largest you could technically be is 35-25-35.

Your stretch marks won't be an issue if they can easily be covered up with body makeup. If they are minimal and not excessive, that will also work in your favor.

New models like yourself do not need professional photos or a portfolio to submit to agencies. They will ask you to send in non-professional, digital snapshots. These should always be taken by another person (no self taken pics). These pictures should be indoors against a plain white or other light colored wall that is free from any distractions (picture frames, etc.) and that has good lighting. Do not pose in these snapshots...simply have your arms resting comfortably at your sides...the most you can do is put one hand on your hip. Do not wear socks or shoes in your photos. You can choose to wear dark skinny jeans and a solid colored, form fitting tank top or t-shirt or an age-appropriate swimsuit.

Most agency websites will tell you what types of snapshots to send them and many also include photo examples to use for reference. Only send the snapshots each agency asks for specifically and follow any instructions given. Not all agencies ask for the same thing so prepare each submission accordingly.

Below are links to blog posts that go into more detail about sending snapshots to agencies:

Sending Pictures to a Modeling Agency: Professional, Non-Professional, Which Is It?

Why I Love Doutzen Kroes

Answering a Reader Question #327

Ashley Wrote:


I know my days as VS model are about as likely as seeing an elephant fly (dumbo does not count) seeing as how I stand at a whooping 5'3...But I've been a working free lance model in Canada for about 3 years now. However I am moving to Washington in a couple of weeks and am wondering how I should start things out there.
How do I start to get established out in the big city?? 

Hi, Ashley! I don't know if you're talking about Washington State or Washington, D.C., but in either case, your best bet would be to look into social networking sites to see what photographers are in the area you'll be moving to and networking to see what opportunities are available. You can use Facebook to look up the business profiles of photographers and other modeling pros (makeup artists, wardrobe and hair stylists, local designers, etc.) that are based out of the area you plan on moving to. Send them a friend request and a brief message, introducing yourself and letting them know that you would love to network with them and be considered for any castings where they may be in need of models.

The same goes for other social networking sites like Model Mayhem and One Model Place--these types of sites also have Castings sections where you can look for paying work according to city and state, which can help you find opportunities to submit to in order to begin working officially in your new location. 

It's all about researching who is doing what in the area as it relates to modeling and connecting with those individuals so that they know who you are and what services you have to offer as a model.