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Monday, September 17, 2012

The Top 4 Reasons Why New Models Don't Get Signed to Agencies

Mistakes, large or small, can make or break the chances new models have when trying to gain agency representation. Too often I get emails from aspiring models, wondering why they haven't heard back from the agencies they've submitted to. While I can't say they all make the same mistakes (or any mistakes at all in some cases), a good number tend to be guilty (usually unaware) of any or all of the following 4 situations...

Mistake #1: Sending Blind Submissions

Guess what? Sending random pictures to a slew of agencies isn't how you get into the industry. There is more to seeking representation than submitting pictures that you think are pretty cool. There are rules and guidelines to follow. This is important to keep in mind because agencies get flooded with submissions every day. Without those rules and guidelines, there would be no organization and these businesses wouldn't be able to run smoothly.

If your attempt at looking for agencies consists of sending camera phone pictures or not very good quality "professional" pictures to all the agencies you can think of, it's not likely that you'll hear back.

The Solution: Instead of sending blind submissions, do actual research and target the agencies that you meet the requirements for. Additionally, find the instructions for sending submissions--typically found on the agency websites themselves--and follow those rules/guidelines to a tee.

Mistake #2: Not Meeting the Requirements

I know it sucks but if you're a 5'3" female aspiring model and you submit to a high fashion agency like IMG or Elite, guess what? You're not going to get a reply from them. If you're a 5'10" female aspiring fashion model but your measurements are larger than the 34-24-34 standard (I'm not including plus size size requirements in this example) and you submit to a high fashion agency, you also will be waiting for a reply that won't come. Same goes for aspiring male models.

There are different categories of modeling and each one comes with its own significant requirements. Height is the main determining factor, size/measurements are second. A model's look of course is a major factor as well but the first two are what's going to give new models the criteria they need to figure out which agencies to submit to.

The Solution: I wish the rules could be changed but until they actually do, I would not advise submitting to agencies that you know you don't meet the requirements for...height or otherwise. Focus on the agencies that have the divisions you are eligible for and put your efforts into submitting to them. It'll be worth your time much more than hoping you can beat the odds and become that one exception to the rule.

***Update: You are allowed to submit to agencies that you don't meet the height requirements for--it's not like you absolutely can't. I personally don't recommend it, especially if you're more than 2+ inches short of the minimum height requirement. However, in the case of shorter models hoping to get signed to a fashion/runway agency, if you feel you can be that exception to the rule, what will improve your odds would mainly be having a high fashion "look" (i.e. strong bone structure with prominent cheekbones, interesting features, etc.). If you look like a print model, it's less likely that a high fashion agency will be interested.***

Mistake #3: Not Sending the Right Photos

New models that really do their homework on the industry should know off the bat that professional pictures aren't mandatory to submit to agencies. I'm so thankful that a huge majority of agencies are now stating directly on their sites that they prefer non professional, digital snapshots and that professional pictures are NOT necessary. That's coming straight from the source...so that means do not waste your time trying to contact photographers or put together a portfolio if you're new...agencies don't care about that, they want to see the snapshots.

I've done countless posts where I've talked about why snapshots are better to submit than professional ones so I won't go into that here but just know that unless an agency's websites literally says they only want professional pictures, don't send pro pictures or stress yourself out about trying to create them.

The Solution: Again, it goes back to reading the instructions/guidelines given on each agency's website. Find out if they want pro or non pro pictures. Then prepare your submission accordingly. For the websites that have photo examples of how snapshots should look, that means make your snapshots look like those. Are examples not given on the site? Google "model snapshots" and you'll find tons of examples. Still stumped? Email me (daniadenise@gmail.com) and I can give you some! 

Mistake #4: Not Taking Location Into Consideration

New models often don't even think about where an agency is located--they just submit and hope that the agency will send them plane tickets and fly them to their new destiny as a top model. Sending pictures to Elite, Wilhelmina or Ford in New York or Los Angeles when you live in Texas, Colorado or some other very far away spot won't turn up good results UNLESS you'd be willing to move to be near the agency. So while it is still possible to have an agency interested in a model that doesn't currently live within the vicinity, the deal can't be sealed if the model can't or won't move to pursue their modeling career.

If you know you're not in a position to move away from home, why would you submit to agencies in far away locations? Agencies don't front up a bunch of money to give a new model an entirely new lifestyle if they want to sign them. Actual money isn't made right away after signing with an agency so the idea that a model will be sent for by an agency and completely financed to begin their career is a super long shot (not saying it's impossible but it rarely happens).

The Solution: Keep your agency search local--within a 2 hour's drive from where you live. You'll have a much better shot at snagging an agency if they know you're close enough to be reliable. Castings, go-sees and other modeling assignments come on short-notice and if you live hours away, chances are you're not going to be willing and/or able to hop on a plane and fly to a casting at the last minute. Submit to as many agencies within that 2 hour driving radius and see what happens. Remember, don't send pictures to an agency far away unless you won't hesitate to move if they want to sign you.

At the end of the day, if you haven't committed any of these common mistakes and are STILL without any reply from agencies you've submitted to, it's more than likely a matter of your look not being what they need right now or they may have too many models with your current look, to the point where they can't accommodate signing on new models at that time.

Should you find yourself in either of those situations, the best you can do is wait at least 6 months to 1 year before resubmitting yourself again, which is totally acceptable. So don't feel that the doors are closed to you forever if agencies pass on you the first time around.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

But some models who were signed with IMG and Elite are even shorter than the requirement, especially when they have the right look and charm. Sometimes height won't matter.

Dania Denise said...

Those are known as "exceptions to the rule"...what is important to remember is that those instances are "exceptions" and not the "rule." While some agencies do take on shorter models, it doesn't mean that they'll consider all short models that apply.

I'm specifically referring to the many new models that submit who don't fit the requirements because they are far too short to even be an exception--being 1 or even 2 inches shorter is one thing but many of these girls/young ladies are 3+ inches shorter than what's required for fashion and runway.

In those instances, rarely does exceptions to the rule apply...not everyone can be like the Kate Moss exception example unfortunately.

Anonymous said...

What is the salary for models who consitantly book high fashion ads and shows , and are signed to an elite agency? Also if you sign to an agency which requires you to move across thee country, will the agency help you find an apartment to rent, etc. Or are you on your own?


-Thompson

Anonymous said...

Hi Dania,
Since I'm 5'7.5 do you think I should still apply to agencies like next models, ford, and so on? I know a girl who models with next models and she is my height but on her profile it shows her as 5'9. So should I apply as 5'8 instead or stick to 5'7.5? Also would they notice the difference in height? Sorry so many questions! Thank you so much

Anonymous said...

Ms.Dania:) I heard that Fords has a commercial division (for girls around 5'6 and 5'7). Is this true? And how do I apply for it?

Dania Denise said...

Hi, Thompson! You'll find the answer to your questions in its own post, titled "Answering a Reader Question #479," which can be found on my new blog: "Modeling 101 - Answering Readers Questions."

Please visit this link: http://amodelsdiary-readerquestions.blogspot.com/ and you can view your post there. Thanks for reading!

Dania Denise said...

Hi, Anonymous! You'll find the answer to your questions in its own post, titled "Answering a Reader Question #480," which can be found on my new blog: "Modeling 101 - Answering Readers Questions."

Please visit this link: http://amodelsdiary-readerquestions.blogspot.com/ and you can view your post there. Thanks for reading!

Dania Denise said...

Hi, Anonymous! You'll find the answer to your questions in its own post, titled "Answering a Reader Question #481," which can be found on my new blog: "Modeling 101 - Answering Readers Questions."

Please visit this link: http://amodelsdiary-readerquestions.blogspot.com/ and you can view your post there. Thanks for reading!

Anonymous said...

Hi Dania, I am recently 'working' with a huge agency in NY. They met with me and said they wanted to do a test shoot. Two months later I did the shoot. I didn't get the pictures back until a month. My supposed agent said she loved my look. Then the owner of the agency emailed my father and said that they were just going to put me on the website and send my pictures to bookers, but to not come in for a while. Is this yet another hoop I have to jump through? Don't you think I should be signed with them already!!!! Urgh I just hate waiting.

Dania Denise said...

Hi, Anonymous! You'll find the answer to your questions in its own post, titled "Answering a Reader Question #508," which can be found on my new blog: "Modeling 101 - Answering Readers Questions."

Please visit this link: http://amodelsdiary-readerquestions.blogspot.com/ and you can view your post there. Thanks for reading!

Leslie R said...

Hi.! My Name Is Leslie And I Have Always Dreamed Of Being A Model. I Am 13 and 5'4 And I Was Wondering If I Can Still Make It? Since Im New To Modeling I Want To Start Off In A Normal Agency Nothing Like Elite. Please I Want To Know Before I Go To A Casting Call and Get Sent Home Because Of My Height;(.. Thank You!

Dania Denise said...

Hi, Leslie R! You'll find the answer to your questions in its own post, titled "Answering a Reader Question #529," which can be found on my new blog: "Modeling 101 - Answering Readers Questions."

Please visit this link: http://amodelsdiary-readerquestions.blogspot.com/ and you can view your post there. Thanks for reading!