There is more to the modeling world than the media lets on. If you want to find out what it really takes and how to manage your modeling career, then you've come to the right place! This blog is dedicated to the aspiring and already established models who live to defy the standards and stereotypes in order to make a place for themselves in this crazy industry.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Say "Cheese!" Why Male Models Shouldn't Be Afraid to Smile

Male models are known for being gorgeous, hunky and rugged, with their "come hither" bedroom eyes and sly smile, any woman (and guys, too!) could easily fall for them.

But when it comes to modeling, the fellas aren't always required to smile slyly or not at all. In fact, male models who aren't afraid to show off a megawatt smile could actually be doing a lot for their own careers.

All too often male models think that being serious and sexy is the way to go. And in a sense, they are right. This is especially true for those in high fashion, editorial and runway work. However, these aren't the only categories of modeling for men to get into.

In the world of commercial/print, there are both female and male models who stay actively in demand and appear in all types of publications (i.e. billboards, magazine advertisements, catalogs, product packaging, fliers, etc., etc.). Many fashion height male models transition over into print work from time to time and those hoping to master this category of modeling will find it very much to their benefit if they aren't afraid to smile.

You'd be surprised by how many male models I've worked with or met, who were so used to sporting serious facial expressions that it almost seemed foreign to them to smile for the camera. Smiling is one of a model's greatest assets, male or female.

Regardless of what type of model you are (or the type of modeling you're hoping to get into), fellas, I gotta say that learning how to be comfortable with smiling and showing various expressions in photos will only add to your marketability.

Here are some ways that smiling can greatly help a male model's career:
  • It Shows Versatility. When clients are looking through a male model's portfolio, nothing jumps out at them better (or more effectively) than seeing a mixture of smiling and non-smiling photos. Browsing through pictures where the model has the same hard and serious look will get boring after a while and could end up making the photos start to look the same. But adding in a couple of pictures where the male model is showing different ways of smiling (i.e. close mouth smile, full on smile with teeth, candid laughing type of smile) gives off the impression that the model is comfortable doing all types of work/themes/concepts.
  • It Shows Confidence. It's one thing to be cool and calm but the most confident male models are those who are perfectly comfortable with smiling, being playful and appearing anything but "suave" in front of the camera.
  • It Usually Means They're Easy to Work With. I've noticed that male models who are quick to smile for the camera are also typically great to work with. Male models who aren't used to smiling sometimes come across as aloof or totally rigid when booked for a gig that requires them to portray a variety of different expressions, including smiling and laughing. Sometimes that means they need a bit of warming up to get comfortable with smiling genuinely but a lot of times the smiles they end up giving look very forced and fake. This could make a shoot that should have been simple and straightforward a bit more of a challenge and may not necessarily reflect very well on the model.
  •  Clients Love Personality. It is important to impress clients (obviously). Nothing accomplishes this better for male models than knowing how to cheese in front of the camera. Remember, clients not only look at models' pictures when casting for projects, they also end up meeting them in person for an interview to find out if their personality is as good as their physical appearance. Like I mentioned above, male models who have no problem showing off a megawatt smile tend to have the outgoing personality to go with it. This comes across amazingly well in interviews or other meetings where they have to interact with the client. Bringing a smile to such a meeting is one of the best ways to show clients that, if hired, you'd be ideal to work with instead of a pain in the butt. Showcase a smile in photos and in person and your chances of getting booked increases dramatically.
Male models who would rather stick to their high fashion, runway and editorial roots, that's perfectly fine. But if you're a male fashion model who wants to also get into print work or if you're an aspiring male model who isn't tall enough for fashion or runway and instead wants to break into the commercial/print niche, I'm tellin' ya, the smile should be your secret weapon that actually shouldn't be kept a secret at all!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Guide to Modeling 101 Labels/Category Section

In case you haven't noticed yet, I've created a "Labels" section on my blog, which is a nifty feature that allows me to put my posts into special categories according to topic.

It's located on the right-hand side of this blog. Simply scroll down past the Popular Post section, About Me section and the Blog Archive section and you'll see it right there: "Labels."

I don't know how many of you guys have been using it to locate posts on different subjects but I figured to help encourage more people to do so, I've included a list of the labels and a brief description of what blog posts you'll find under each category:

Addressing a Reader Comment

Sometimes people post their thoughts and opinions in the comments section of my blog posts, not just questions. This category contains my responses to those posts.

Answering a Reader Question #1-362

Anyone familiar with Modeling 101 already knows about my "Answering a Reader Question Series." It originally started on this blog but soon there got to be so many that I was afraid it would overwhelm the other posts. As a solution I created a new blog just for reader questions.

However, I wasn't able to move the existing reader question posts over so instead I decided to put them all in one place for easier reference. Future reader questions are now answered on my other blog:

Modeling 101 - Answering Reader Questions with Dania Denise

Baby, Child & Teen Models

All posts in this section are related to younger models.

Body Art

Tattoos, piercings and other forms of body art as they relate to pursuing a modeling career are in this section.

Casting Calls

From agency castings calls (also referred to as "open calls") to other types of castings in the modeling industry can be found here.


Models attend castings as a regular part of their job. Find out what to expect in most casting situations.

Comp/Zed Cards

Blog posts in this section deal with comp/zed cards, one of the most widely used marketing materials for models.

Dania Denise

Posts in this section deal with news, events and other "happenings" as they relate to my own modeling career.

Did You Know?

Short posts, filled with fun facts and other interesting modeling information.

Freelance Modeling

Posts for anyone interested in becoming a freelance model and working without the assistance of a modeling agency.

Industry Speak

Posts written to help people better understand the modeling industry and the agencies that play a big role within it.


From agency interviews to interviewing with potential clients, readers will find tips and other information to help them be at their best and make a great first impression.

Male Models

It's not always about female models! This section is just for modeling topics that are relevant to male models of all experience levels.

Model Matters

This section covers a wide range of topics that affect models of all experience levels, such as self confidence issues and other concerns that typically come with pursuing a career in modeling.

Modeling Agencies

Don't know the first thing about submitting to or working with modeling agencies? You'll find everything you need to know in this section.

Modeling Contracts

You can't be an agency represented model without a contract! The posts in this section help to demystify the often intimidating subject of modeling contracts.

Modeling Portfolio

All blog posts related to putting together, maintaining and updating a modeling portfolio can be found here.

Modeling Resume

Dealing with a modeling resume but aren't sure where to start? The posts in this section can help.

Modeling Scams

One of the biggest problems with getting into modeling are the many scams out there. Find out which ones to be on the lookout for.

Modeling Tips

Who doesn't love tips? These posts offer easy to understand advice and tips for a variety of modeling related topics.

Money Matters

Need to figure out when to keep your money in your wallet? These posts will help.


It's all about who you know. Learn what networking is all about and why it's so important for models.

New & Inexperienced Models

The posts in this section deal specifically with noobs.

Parents of Models

Parents who have kids and teens that want to get into modeling will find a ton of useful information to help them understand the process and what to expect.


One of the biggest parts of a model's career are shoots. All posts in this section deal with a variety of subjects that are all about photoshoots.


A model is only as good as his/her presence in front of the camera. Tips, tricks and advice for being better at posing.

Promotional Modeling

Promotional modeling is a different niche compared to the other categories of modeling. People interested in getting into promo modeling will benefit from the posts in this section.

Quick Tip

Similar to the "Did You Know" posts, Quick Tips are just that: short and sweet but filled with vital info on a wide range of modeling subjects.

Skin Care & Grooming

Posts in this section are all about maintaining your inner and outer beauty.


Snapshots are the way to get one's foot in the door of the modeling industry, especially when seeking an agent. The posts in this section will show readers why that is.


Similar to the Body Art section but the posts in this category are just for matters dealing with tattoos.


Obtaining tearsheets is the ultimate goal for any model. The posts in this section are all about tearsheets and information related to getting published.

Types of Modeling

These posts deal with breaking down the different types of modeling so aspiring models will know where they fit within the industry.

Victoria's Secret

Becoming a model for VS has quickly grown to be one of the most talked about subjects on this blog so I decided it deserves its own category.

Video Reply

Readers have the option of getting their questions answered in a video reply format. All you have to do is ask!

Video Tips

Sometimes I like to break up all the writing with a little video for readers who are more into the visual aspect of things.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

ModelingScams.Org - A Site You Should ALL Read

(Thanks to Christie T. for sharing this link and wanting to ensure I pass it on to all my readers...Christie, you rock!)

Modeling scams have been around as long as the industry itself--and it won't go away anytime soon.

I've said a lot of the same things on this blog over and over and over about things like knowing what red flags to be on the lookout for, that new models don't need professional photos or a portfolio to get an agent, that you should never pay upfront fees, etc, etc.

Because it never hurts to reinforce the information I've been providing to readers for years, below is a link to the ModelingScams.Org website. The specific link will take you to the part of the site that talks about Modeling Photography Scams, which are the biggest ripoff that continues to go strong to this day.

You'll see many direct quotes from reputable people within the industry, including established models (Cindy Crawford has a quote on one of the other pages on the site) and even the owners of reputable modeling agencies.

If I can't convince people that jumping up and paying for professional pictures is a huge no-no when you're new and starting out, then maybe the information from the ModelingScams.Org website will:

Modeling Photography Scams - ModelingScams.Org Website

But don't just stop with reading this part of the site. On the left-hand side there are a ton of links to additional articles, information and industry quotes on a variety of modeling industry related subjects that all serve to empower and inform the average consumer, including newbie models and--most important--the parents.

So read, learn and embrace the knowledge this site has to offer. I read over a lot of the articles already and nearly everything mentioned (aside from the legal topics) is stuff I've either covered on this blog, mentioned briefly or at least made sure to establish my personal and professional opinions on.

This is one site I recommend you all bookmark if a career in modeling is a part of your future goals!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Supermodel, The Power Model and the It Model

I'm a huge believer of calling things like they are so I can't help but be super aggravated at how carelessly people toss the word "supermodel" around these days.

It's like a model gets discovered, appears in a few campaigns and runways and suddenly she's dubbed a "supermodel." Pfffft. Not even close!

The fashion and modeling world has a rich history behind it and only those who have studied it--or are somewhat familiar with it--will likely agree with my POV on this subject or at least understand where I'm coming from on this subject.

It's not about "hating" on certain models, it's simply about setting the record straight and if there's anything we should strive for within the modeling industry, is accuracy of some kind, lol.

In a 2007 magazine interview, Claudia Schiffer was quoted as saying, "The supermodel is dead." And you know what? I believe her. But I'm not saying that to be dramatic. It's the truth. The models many idolize today aren't supermodels--at least not when it comes to the true definition of what a supermodel is.

To help get my point across, below is my definition/understanding of what each of the following terms (Supermodel, Power Model, It Model) mean and where they belong in the industry by today's standards:

The Supermodel

It's been said many times and I'll also jump onto the bandwagon that there are 5 "original supermodels": Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista and Claudia Schiffer. Yes, there were other heavy hitting models of the 80s and 90s, such as Helena Christensen, Tyra Banks and Elle Macpherson, but it is the "Original 5" that remain the iconic symbols of what embodied a supermodel and that era of the industry.

(Unfortunately, I couldn't find a good photo with the Original 5 to go with this post. The image I ended up choosing is missing Claudia Schiffer.)

What helped to skyrocket these models into supermodel stardom was the fact that their faces and names were recognized by people inside and outside of the fashion industry. This seemingly small fact is actually quite huge as it applies to the concept of a supermodel. What allowed these women to become known by everyone from fashionistas to the average family? Magazine covers.

Back in the 80s and 90s, models were the go-to-people for gracing all of the major magazine covers, both fashion and non-fashion alike. This was how the average person who wasn't a fashion guru knew who the most famous faces in modeling were. It wasn't uncommon for someone like Cindy Crawford to appear on the cover of a magazine like Good Housekeeping and then pop up on the latest Vogue cover next.

These supermodels knew no boundaries and weren't restricted when it came to publications. They appeared in all of them. Because of the publicity that magazine covers offered, it raised the level of familiarity the average consumer had. Keep in mind, there was no social media back then so this was the main way people knew who was who.

What brought the era of the original supermodel to an end? Celebrities. Singers and actresses became the popular face to have, not just on the cover of all the magazines but the advertisements for clothes, accessories, fragrances, cosmetics, etc. Models were meant for covers and when celebrities took over that scene, it turned the tides for models and made their roles more limited, especially when it came to reaching the average, non-fashion obsessed consumer.

Look at any newsstand these days--9 times out of 10 it's going to be a celebrity (who was not originally a model) on the cover. The models who do find themselves on the covers are now mainly limited to fashion magazines (not always but most times). Remember: the original supermodels were on all of the magazine covers and not just those related to fashion.

When the celebrities took over the covers and the spokesmodeling/brand contracts, it resulted in setting up future models for a spotlight regulated to the catwalks, editorial pages inside the magazines and the occasional ad campaign.

Some would argue that many models in recent years are highly recognizable and that they could name them all. But 9 times out of 10, those people making such claims are avid fans and followers of the fashion industry so it would make sense that they would know who those models are instantly. What about the next door neighbor? Your teacher? Your parents?

I must remind you that the supermodels of the original era in the 80s and 90s could be recognized by housewives, businesspeople and even the baby boomers. In all honesty, you can't really say the same for the many models that have been labeled "supermodels" in recent years. I must admit that even I can't name a lot of the mislabeled "supermodels" these days...in fact, a lot of them look so similar I get them confused!

None of the "Original 5" could be confused or mistaken for one another. I miss that about the models of today.

The Power Model

The Power Model category is where I believe the majority of the models who have remained strong in the industry belong--not in the category of supermodel. This isn't a lesser title to covet and it doesn't mean someone labeled a "Power Model" isn't as successful as the supermodels of old.

It's quite the opposite as you can see by the name itself. A Power Model is one who isn't just paid a lot of money for the work they do, they've managed one of the greatest feats of all: staying power. It's one thing to be a successful model but to be one that continues to stay employed for 5+ years is an accomplishment that deserves to be recognized.

There are plenty of Power Models who belong in this category: Heidi Klum, many of the VS models, Gemma Ward, Kate Moss, Gisele, Iman, Tyson Beckford, etc., etc.

Some of these Power Models have remained relevant in the industry through their name and reputation alone but also because many have stepped into the role of an entrepreneur by coming out with their own product lines, moving on to become television/media personalities, running their own corporations, etc.

Not all Power Models are instantly as recognizable by people outside of the fashion world but most are certainly familiar with who they are, depending on the Power Model and what he/she has done. For example, Tyra Banks has been around forever but these days the latest generation of consumers and the average Joe/Jane don't associate her with her original career as a model but because of America's Next Top Model.

Stepping outside of the modeling category for many Power Models is what has allowed them to be reintroduced to the next generation of fans in a new way.

The It Model

Sadly, all too many "It Models" are the ones who get called supermodels and that really grinds my gears. I'd say 80% (dare I say 90%?) of the models today who obtain some amount of measurable success in their careers should be automatically put under the "It Model" category.

Similar to what I said about the Power Models, It Models aren't any less successful or inferior than the other two categories I talked about above. But it is important to label these models properly and understand that the reasons that led to the category they belong in do differ.

Not all It Models go on to become Power Models. It's hard to reach the top of the modeling game--it's even harder to stay there. It's easy to spot an It Model: seemingly overnight they start appearing everywhere...advertisements, in the biggest runway shows and the social media monster can't stop talking about them.

These are the new kids on the block who were discovered and put out into the spotlight at the right time. They're fresh, they're hot and everybody wants a piece of them. This is totally normal for models who are basking in their time to shine. However, more often than not, the It Model finds their flame extinguished after a few years. They eventually get replaced by the new It Models who are younger, fresher and more in demand.

Have you ever wondered, "What ever happened to so-and-so? I hardly see them in anything anymore." Chances are, that's because--for whatever reason and that isn't necessarily anyone's fault--they didn't have the staying power to move on into the Power Model category.

Keep in mind that modeling isn't a career that's known for its longevity. It isn't a joke when people offhandedly comment that most models, namely runway and fashion models, are "retired" by the time they're 25. As many young and aspiring male and female models as there are out there ripe for the taking, the industry can be picky, kick out whoever they want and welcome whoever they want in because It Models are always replaceable. It's sad but true.

So next time you start to call someone a "supermodel" think about whether or not that individual really deserves the title and if they'll even still be around in a year or two. It kinda makes you think once you start putting things into that perspective.

Monday, September 2, 2013

The 411 on Modeling Agency Interviews

I could've sworn I've done a post about modeling agency interviews but I searched and searched throughout my blog and couldn't find it so I figured why not cover all my bases and do one just in case? You can never have too much info about modeling agencies, right? :-)

If you read my post, "The Difference Between Casting Calls & Agency Interviews," then you already know what makes the interview a whole 'nother ballgame.

Interviews are more important than casting calls because this is a special one-on-one between a model and the agency that is arranged by appointment. Before I go into further detail, it is important to point out that any questions about what to wear and bring should be directed to whoever contacted you from the agency to set up the interview.

Sometimes models will receive an email with basic instructions on how to prepare and what to expect, while others may simply state the day, time and address of the interview in the email.

If you are given instructions on what to bring and wear, then follow that. If not, it is okay to email or call your contact person at the agency to find out.

Now that we've clarified that, I'll move on to what could be expected in most cases (not all agencies operate the same way and I can't speak for what you may experience exactly...this info is very general so keep that in mind):

Dress Wisely

Unlike casting calls this is a somewhat more formal type of meeting but by "formal," I don't mean you should arrive in a business suit. Business casual or dressy casual is more than acceptable for male and female models.

Examples of ideal outfits include a nice dress and heels, skinny jeans and a dressy top with heels or a skirt with a nice blouse and heels for female models. Always wear heels unless you're a child model or a teen model who isn't tall enough for fashion and runway.

Male models can wear jeans, nice shoes and a button up shirt, slacks and a button up shirt and dress shoes or jeans, nice shoes and a collared shirt.

The "model uniform" that I mostly talk about for snapshots and things should be limited for attending open calls, not agency interviews unless the agency says that type of attire is okay.

Bring Photos

New/inexperienced models do NOT--I repeat, DO NOT--need professional photos, comp/zed cards, headshots or a portfolio, nor will they be expected to bring professional grade materials into the interview.

It is best to bring your digital snapshots with your name, full stats and contact information written on the back of each one. If you've already submitted snapshots before, bring copies of those same ones. The agency may want to see them again or may no longer have the ones you originally gave. So be prepared to leave your snapshots with the agency after the interview if asked (if they don't ask to keep them, that's okay and not necessarily a bad sign).

Print your snapshots on decent photo paper (available at any office supply store). The photos shouldn't be larger than 5"x7" but no smaller than 4"x6", unless the agency tells you otherwise.

Get There Early

To make a good first impression and to avoid any stress, plan to arrive to your agency interview at least 30 minutes early. This gives you wiggle room for things like finding parking, checking yourself in the mirror and other small tasks. You'll have to sign in at the front desk and will be directed to a lobby or waiting room. It's much better to arrive early and wait instead of running late or getting there just in the nick of time and being frazzled.

Don't Bring an Entourage

Getting invited to interview with a modeling agency is a big deal but don't bring the whole family. Aspiring models who are under the age of 18 must have one parent/guardian with them (the parent/guardian will be able to sit in during the interview).

Parents/guardians, let the agency lead the interview. Hold off on your own questions or concerns until they give you the chance to speak and if they direct questions to your child, let him/her speak--don't answer for them. Speaking for them when it isn't necessary is known as "helicoptering" and it's super annoying and not a good impression to make on an agency.

Parents, make sure you've got a babysitter if you have younger kids to worry about. It isn't a good idea to bring them to the interview since they'll end up becoming a distraction.

Models that are of age should arrive alone to the interview. Any friends or significant others should stay in the lobby/waiting room or outside of the office. Do NOT ask to bring them into the interview with you.

Expect Conversation

Aside from stuff like doing a runway walk (for fashion and runway models) and taking polaroids (for the agency's records and to match your name with a face), the interview will mainly consist of a sit-down conversation between you and the agency. There may be one person or several--it all depends on the agency.

Modeling agencies have a lot of factors to consider when it comes to potentially offering a model representation. It isn't just about the physical look/appearance but personality as well. Since you'll be working closely with the agency, it is important that they like and feel comfortable around you.

It will be a Q&A session but they won't be acting like drill sergeants or a detective questioning you during an interrogation. It will be like a casual conversation so relax, be outgoing, engaged and maintain good eye contact. But always make sure you have good posture. No slouching and no fidgeting.

No Trick Questions

I can't tell you exactly what types of questions agencies would ask during an interview but there are some common ones that might come up, such as:

- What are your hobbies/interests?
- Are you in school? What are you studying?
- Are you working?
- What are your goals for the future?
- Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
- What got you interested in modeling?
- What are your strengths/weaknesses?
- Are you willing to travel?
- What modeling experience do you have, if any? (If you have none, then say that--it won't count against you but be honest)
- What is your schedule of availability like?
- How do you handle rejection? 
- Who is your favorite designer? (For aspiring fashion and runway models)

What You Shouldn't Say

When answering questions, keep it brief. Don't ramble but don't just give one-word answers, either. One very important thing that all aspiring models should keep in mind when interviewing with an agency is to not come off as arrogant and/or demanding.

There is a difference between telling an agency about yourself and telling them what you will or will not do. For example, going into an agency interview and stating that you want all your travel expenses covered, won't work holidays or weekends and only want to deal with big name designers will not win any points. Nor will telling them that you plan on being the next supermodel who will take over Gisele's place. Not only is this off-putting (to anybody, no less an agency), it is very naive and a big sign that you don't understand the industry at all.

The whole purpose of the interview is so the modeling agency can get to know you. They aren't going to quiz you about off the wall subjects--it isn't a trivia game. It is a one-on-one conversation about you that will help them determine whether or not you'd be a good fit for their agency. It's as simple as that.

Go in confident, with a great smile and energy and the rest will take care of itself.