WELCOME TO MODELING 101!!!

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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Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Confident Model is...

(This applies to both female and male models)

Easy to Spot

You can always tell which people walk around with confidence versus those that don't. It's the way they carry themselves, the body language used and the way they interact with others.

Confident models walk with heads held high, maintain eye contact with others and stand tall instead of slouching. There is an air about them that can't quite be explained or expressed except to say that they walk with confidence--whether it's into a casting call, modeling assignment or just running errands on an ordinary day.

Not Deterred by Rejection

Confident models aren't immune to rejection. What makes them truly confident is still possessing the same amount of confidence in themselves even after they've been rejected for an opportunity. Instead of breaking down and feeling sorry for themselves, they know it is only a temporary setback and are further motivated to do better next time. Because they understand that there are plenty of "next times."

Not an Ego Beast

There is such a thing as being too confident. Being arrogant and egotistical is not only unbecoming, it isn't what makes for a true model. Humility is one of the most prized traits for any model to have, regardless of the amount of success they enjoy. Humble and confident models recognize their good fortune but don't use it to put others down, criticize the competition or engage in shameless and unnecessary self promotion (aka "bragging").

Approachable

A model who isn't threatened by the presence of another model is a prime example of exhibiting confidence in the industry. Confident models have no problem getting to know the other models during casting calls or shoots, are comfortable making small talk and--in many instances--even making friends. Catty divas and those who would rather cut eyes at colleagues rather than return a warm and genuine smile are anything but confident and are often the ones with the lowest self esteem.

A Positive Thinker

When you focus on putting out positive energy, positive things will come to you. Confident models know this and embrace it. They go into each go-see or casting call with the belief that they're the best candidate for the job. If they snag the opportunity, they're proud of themselves. If they don't, they still pat themselves on the back because they know they performed to the best of their ability.

Instead of griping about what they did wrong, making excuses or spending too much time on the "what ifs," they look forward to the next opportunity and believe that the missed assignment must mean they were meant for another gig that's bigger and better. Mind over matter is what confident models live by.

A Role Model

Anyone who is confident--model or not--tends to produce a great influence and affect on others. When you see somebody who is confident, it automatically makes you want to be, too. When people ask someone, "How do you stay so confident? What's your secret?" it opens up the door for the person being asked to positively influence others with their reply.

Confident models tend to be great leaders as well as role models because they serve as a living example of how life can be when you believe in yourself. And there's nowhere else this point carries more weight than in the modeling industry.

Tips for Being Confident as a Female Model

For little girls today, it is normal to grow up being surrounded by a media that is bombarded by images of beautiful, amazing, stunning and exotic faces and bodies. When such imagery is thrown in your face 24/7, it's easy to see why so many young girls strive to one day be among the chosen few to become successful in the modeling industry.

On the flip side, it's also easy to see how feelings of insecurity, low self esteem and lack of confidence end up becoming a regular part of these young ladies' lives.

As much as the truth about airbrushed images and not-so-glamorous side of the modeling industry has been brought to light over the years, it hasn't stopped aspiring female models from feeling like they have to transform themselves completely in order to have a shot.

I get countless emails from young girls not just asking for advice about becoming a model but asking for my opinion and--in many instances--validation that they are pretty. It breaks my heart. I can tell within a few sentences whether an aspiring female model has confidence in herself or not (or too much!).

I will say right now that modeling isn't easy, nor is it for everybody with these goals. However, if you're going to jump into this crazy industry, being equipped with confidence is going to get you through a lot of tough times. Whether you want to freelance, get represented by an agency, are pursuing a fashion career or want to make it in the print world, I can only hope that this post will help change negative mindsets for the better and understand how important confidence is to women of all ages, shapes, sizes and ethnicities.

Love What You See in the Mirror

I often talk about using the mirror as a tool to help with posing, facial expressions and getting comfortable with your body. However, mirrors also serve another purpose: to help improve a person's confidence. I get it, we all have flaws...I've heard every type of self complaint there is:

I'm too fat, I'm too skinny, I have pimples, I have bad skin, My nose is too big, I have flabby arms, My feet are huge...and on and on and on.

The mirror does show what we don't like but that should serve as motivation to do what is possible to turn that situation around for the better. All that negative energy you use to criticize yourself each time you look in the mirror? Take it and do something positive. Solutions to everyday beauty, skin and body issues are only a search engine away. If we all took the same pains to build ourselves up as we take to tear ourselves down, we'd all be better off.

Recognize your flaws, work on what you can and then work on embracing the flaws you can't do anything about. The day you can look in the mirror and not say one critical thing about yourself is the day you've truly embraced the person looking back at you.

Realize There is Only One You

Unless you have an identical twin, chances are there is no one that looks, acts or sounds like you. And that is something amazing, believe it or not. While there is a standard type of physical look that certain modeling categories call for, such as runway and fashion, there is much more to being successful than appearance alone.

Confidence is about believing in yourself and what you have to offer an agent or a client. They see tons of models each and every day. After a while they all start to become one big blur. But the model with confidence always stands out.

You know what's great about yourself and it is up to you to sell that to agencies and clients. Not realizing your true worth and how you stand out from the crowd is the fastest way to become one in a sea of many generic model wannabes.

It Isn't Personal, It's Business

Losing out on a modeling job or being turned down by an agency sucks. I'm not even going to sugarcoat that. But you know what? Modeling is a business. Although it is a business that analyzes, judges and criticizes, the foundation for those things isn't to tear people down and make them feel terrible about themselves.

The decisions made by clients and modeling agencies are solely for the purpose of business. There is a lot of money that goes into the modeling industry and that's what it's about: who can make us the most money? Who will designers and clients fight over to work with? Who has what it takes to guarantee a long career and plenty of paychecks for all involved?

When you're being judged, it is not on the basis of who you are as a person but who you can be and what you can do for an agency or client. Sounds superficial doesn't it? But that's the good thing...it IS superficial and a big sign that it's nothing against you personally.

Aspiring female models always hear about the importance of building a thick skin and that advice will forever ring true no matter how much the industry changes (or doesn't change). Rejection is a regular part of the job and you have to learn how to adapt to this part of the business. Being turned down doesn't mean you weren't good enough, it simply means you weren't the right fit.

That's not to say you shouldn't feel bad when you do get rejected--it's a normal human emotion to feel sad, upset, angry or even cry. Express yourself however you feel comfortable but only give yourself 10 minutes to throw a pity party. Once those 10 minutes have passed, pick yourself up and stand even taller than you did before.

Focus on Your Strengths, Not Your Weaknesses

Mind over matter plays a huge role in the modeling world! There will always be someone you consider taller, thinner, curvier, prettier, blah, blah, blah. You're not them so why are you so focused on who the competition is and what they're doing? Focus on you and what you have to offer.

One of the biggest mistakes aspiring female models make is to look at the competition and automatically believe they are not good enough by pointing out all the reasons they don't make the cut. For every negative thing you think about yourself, think of TWO good things.

Make a list of your strengths if necessary. In fact, I encourage those dealing with issues of self confidence to put together a list of the things you like about yourself or that you find to be a strength. This could be personality related or something dealing with your physical appearance...whatever works.

Now take that list and memorize it. Make copies and put it in front of every mirror you own so that it stares you in the face each and every day as a reminder of why you're deserving of the utmost confidence in yourself.

Regardless of how your modeling career turns out...whether you become super successful, find that it's not something meant for you or if you don't have any real luck with it at all, maintaining a healthy level of confidence throughout is essential and a trait that will take you far in life.

You don't have to be a model to be beautiful, successful or admired by others. Confidence alone can help achieve all those things. And don't let anybody else tell you otherwise.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Modeling Advice Straight From the Source

I can't tell you how many aspiring/new models seem surprised or can't believe it when I advise them to stick to non professional, digital snapshots in order to impress modeling agencies. Sometimes I have to point them to other credible sources to prove my point.

Here is a quick tidbit of modeling advice straight from the mouth of Pamela Frank, modeling scout for Ford Models in Los Angeles:

"Every model should have at least one unfiltered headshot where they are not smiling. The light should compliment all their features, from cheekbones to nose and eye structure and lips. Little to no makeup."

It really is as simple as that, ladies.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Notice Something Different on the Modeling 101 Blog?

Newer readers may not notice certain changes I make to my Modeling 101 blog but I know my long-time readers will take note of a big change I made that was LONG overdue. Still don't see it? It's cool...I'll wait...

Hint: scroll down and keep an eye on the right hand side of the blog as you do so. Are you there yet? Almost? Okay.

See it now? Yes! I've added "Labels" to my blog. They pretty much categorize all my posts and make it much easier to find content that's relevant to whatever modeling topic you're curious about. You're probably wondering to yourself what the heck took me so long? Sometimes I'm a slow learner...I've seen the "Labels" option before as I've been creating my posts but ignored it because I wasn't sure what it was for.

Well, I finally looked into it and BAM, all my problems with organizing my posts were solved! Okay, so the solution is like 6 years late, LOL, but better late than never, right? I'm sure my long-time readers who've been with me since the beginning are probably screaming at their screens right now, chastising me for making them have to search through tons of posts the hard way. I'm sorry!!!

Don't worry, I've punished myself for you: I've spent the last few hours adding labels to my posts. Remember, I have 1,000+ to do! I'm a little more than halfway through though so in another day or so, all of my posts (aside from the few I felt don't need labels) will be completely organized.

I'm still experimenting with some of the labels I've chosen. I didn't want to overlap posts under too many labels and wanted to make it as easy as possible for people to navigate. So enjoy this much cleaner and straightforward way of getting access to the modeling information you've been wanting to know!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Dania Denise Webinar Update #5: Progress!

Okay, okay, I know you're probably wondering with all these dang updates about the webinar, whether or not it's ever going to happen!

Work has been kicking my butt these past few weeks (what else is new?) but I did make significant progress by creating an outline, as well as fleshing it out more by expanding on the talking points I want to address during the webinar.

That may not sound like much progress to some of you but believe me, now that I have these pages of talking points to cover, it has helped motivate me even more to move towards completing these last steps needed to make the webinar official.

I have a few more pages of talking points to write down and once that's done, I'll be putting together some slideshow images and links to sites I plan on adding into the presentation so that webinar attendees can see what's happening on my screen in real time.

When that's taken care of, it'll just be a matter of choosing a Saturday and sending out the information for people to register for the event...slowly but surely, we're getting close, folks!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Difference Between Casting Calls/Open Calls & Agency Interviews

Ah, modeling agencies. They're awesome and scary all at the same time. Whether they're boutique or a mega operation with multiple office locations, these businesses employ the pros that know how to turn an unknown female or male model into a recognized and established professional.

There continues to be a lot of misconceptions and myths about submitting to agencies. I can only hope that my blog has helped to properly educate and inform so that anybody thinking about sending a submission to a local agency does so with successful results.

It's normal to be confused when navigating modeling agency websites and trying to figure out how to go about getting noticed. Going to casting calls (also known as "open calls") are one of the most effective ways to catch an agency's eye. After all, it's free and you get to actually meet with the staff. Getting invited to an interview at an agency is even better.

In case you thought casting calls/open calls and agency interview were the same, think again. So how do the two differ?

- Casting calls/open calls are held on a specific day and time frame each week. Agency interviews are specially scheduled and can take place anytime during the work week.

- Casting calls/open calls are open to the public--essentially, anyone with an interest in modeling can attend without an appointment. Agency interviews are only offered to select female and male models.

- Going to a casting call/open call usually means being around a bunch of other aspiring models. Agency interviews are one-on-one situations where you're the only one being interviewed during that time.

- Casting calls/open calls are typically scheduled to be 1-2 hours long. Anyone who wants to go can come in at anytime between the hours listed (i.e. 3-4pm or 2-4pm). Models chosen for an agency interview are given an exact date and time to be at the office.

- Casting calls/open calls are fairly quick. You sign in, have your info and photos reviewed and then you're done. Agency interviews can be anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour.

- Casting call/open calls attire is casual. For agency interviews, models may be given guidelines or suggestions on what to wear. Interview attire can range from casual (like what one would wear to a casting call) to dressy casual.

Castings for Modeling Gigs: Tips for Successful Results

To avoid any confusion, this blog post is referring specifically to the castings that models go on where they meet with the client in the hopes of getting hired, not "casting calls" where agencies allow models to come in without an appointment to be evaluated for free.

Actors attend "auditions" and models attend "castings." I've found this is an easy way to understand the concept of a casting. "Go-sees" fall under this category as well but I like to keep the two terms separate since go-sees are usually reserved for fashion models who go in to meet with a designer/client, try on their garments and then do a runway walk to determine whether or not they'll get hired for a fashion show or editorial shoot. Go-sees are usually really fast, in-and-out type of meetings.

For the sake of argument and to keep things simple, in this post I'll be talking about general castings that aren't as speedy as go-sees and cover a variety of modeling assignments.

The tips outlined below can apply to both agency represented and freelance models but I like to think that freelance models in particular will find this info very useful:

Always Bring a Headshot & Resume

Even if the client doesn't ask for one, bring it anyway. Clients see many models during castings and while they'll have your information on file, sometimes it helps to hand in a hard copy of your headshot or comp card (whichever one you have handy) and a resume. If they say they don't need it, save it for the next casting.

For more detailed information about a modeling resume, check out the link below to a blog post I wrote about the subject:

The Importance of a Modeling Resume

The resume can be printed on regular office paper but only use quality photo paper for the headshot (these days most people have a printer that is also a photo printer so it shouldn't be a problem to print your own headshots as needed. I do this and it is super convenient!).

It's a good idea to tuck the headshot and resume in your modeling portfolio, that way you don't forget it or worry that it'll get creased or damaged. Are you a newbie with little to no experience? Obviously, you won't have a resume but don't worry, it isn't mandatory to submit one. As long as you bring a headshot or comp card, you'll be fine.

Be Prepared to Answer Questions

Models don't just go in and get their photos taken during castings anymore. These days, clients want to make sure the person they end up choosing for the assignment not only has the physical look they want but a great personality as well.

Don't be surprised if you go to a casting and end up in an "interview" type of situation with the client. This is very informal and meant to showcase how well a model is able to communicate, whether he/she has a good personality and generally "vibes well" with them. If an individual is boring, talks too much, is a snob or acts like a diva, it certainly won't encourage a client to want to spend a whole working day (or more) with them. The brief Q&A portion is an effective way for clients to see who they're automatically drawn to, energy-wise.

They're not going to drill you about politics or ask how you would achieve world peace--it's not a beauty pageant. The questions will be super casual and simple. The most common questions I've been asked during castings include (but are not limited to):

- "Tell us a bit about yourself."
- "What's the biggest project you've worked on?"
- "What do you do aside from modeling?"
- "What has been your favorite shoot?"

Use Your Resume as a "Cheat Sheet"

Bringing along a copy of your modeling resume isn't just to show clients you're prepared--it's to help you out in case they end up asking questions about your experience. The last question in the list above used to always throw me off guard--mainly because I've done so many shoots I can't readily recall which one would be considered my favorite. As a result, I usually get that deer in headlights look and stammer a bit until I can jog my memory. Not a very good first impression, right?

What I learned to do now--and what I highly recommend even if you haven't done a lot of shoots--is to quickly skim over your resume before going into the casting. Because this information will be fresh in your mind, you'll be able to hit the ground running with a good answer, should you be asked to describe your favorite shoot/gig.

Drawing a blank during an interview happens to everybody. If you notice yourself tending to panic or go blank when asked something off the cuff, make it a habit to refer to your resume cheat sheet. It works every time!

Relax & Give Off Positive Body Language

General castings last longer than go-sees but it's still a short time frame to make enough of an impression to get hired. Going in with a quiet and nervous demeanor, not to mention standing/sitting stiffly gives off all kinds of negative body language. Clients can see it a mile away.

It might be hard to relax, especially if you're still getting the hang of things with modeling, but the more relaxed and comfortable you come across during the casting, the more confident you'll feel and appear to the client. Remember, clients end up having to spend time (sometimes hours) with whoever they hire and it makes sense that they would want to spend those work days with someone that is pleasant to be around.

Don't be afraid to laugh and add a touch of humor during the conversation but only if you can do it naturally and not look like it's amateur night at the local comedy club. Feel free to talk with your hands (not to the point where it's distracting of course) and really engage with whoever you're speaking with. Maintain good eye contact (not a stare down) and don't feel the need to stay rooted to one spot if you're standing. It's okay to shift your weight from one leg to the other.

When you demonstrate open and positive body language, it signals the client that you're not only confident, you feel at ease with them. It's like a sneak peek at how it would be to work with you.

Gone are the days when models were seen and not heard. More and more agencies, as well as clients, are realizing and appreciating the ability for models to be personable. Consider it a winning combination you'll want to master, embrace and show off at each casting.

Helpful Article About Posing

I've done a fair share of blog posts dealing with tips and techniques to help models with posing. The downside is that I always have a tough time finding photo examples that clearly illustrate some of the points I try to make.

Luckily, a colleague of mine passed along this link to an online article written by another working, professional model. Not only does she provide really relevant and useful posing tips, the article comes with the very photo examples that show what she's talking about. These are the photos I've been looking for!

I mentioned a while back that I would love to do the photos myself to go hand-in-hand with the posing tips I write about but with my busy schedule I just don't have the time or ability to really put them together the way I want so I'm very grateful that Jen Brook took the time to do so.

Here is the link to the online article...it'll help all models regardless of experience level, although I will admit that these poses are particularly targeted towards female models. I do plan on creating blog posts in the near future that examines posing tips and techniques specifically for male models so stick around for that!

Dear Model: Posing Tips for How to Look Your Best in Photographs

Even though this is from a female model's perspective, I still recommend that male models read it, too. There is much to be learned and you can pick out what is relevant for your modeling needs.