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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.
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Those who've been in the industry for a long time certainly have the thick skin needed to get through but it's only natural that newbies may have a tougher time getting used to such an uncommon learning curve.
I think what is important for newer models starting out to keep in mind is to put everything in perspective. As I've mentioned in previous blog posts, any feedback--positive or negative--isn't a direct reflection of who the model is as a person. It's just business.
Piggybacking off that concept, it is vital for new female and male models alike to understand the difference between criticism and constructive criticism.
CRITICISM: Pointing out certain faults, flaws, mistakes or shortcomings in a disapproving manner.
Example: "Your runway walk is sloppy and your posture is terrible."
CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM: Pointing out certain faults, flaws, mistakes or shortcomings but in a more positive manner by providing well-reasoned opinions and feedback to back up those criticisms.
Example: "Your runway walk could use more work. Definitely practice more to get familiar with the way your body moves and focus on better posture. Walk with your chest out and shoulders back, not hunched over."
Clearly what all models want to receive is constructive criticism. It's not a matter of trying to sugarcoat feedback but what I appreciate about the use of constructive criticism is the fact that it serves as a teaching moment.
By providing the "why" behind the feedback, this ultimately serves models much better compared to simply telling them what's wrong or what they did wrong and offering nothing else.
Unfortunately, not everyone in the modeling industry (from clients and photographers to modeling agencies) will use constructive criticism so be prepared for that. There are those in the industry who feel that if you want to make it in modeling, you just have to "deal with it" and learn how to take negative feedback.
However, there are many others who don't look at things in that manner and who do recognize the importance of how useful constructive criticism is.
Where this type of criticism comes into play a lot is when working with photographers. Doing photoshoots is the primary way models gain hands-on experience when it comes to posing, camera presence, facial expressions, etc. The more shoots you do, the more you can gain that valuable constructive criticism from photographers who can offer their insight as to what could be improved (if anything) and tips for performing at your best.
Meeting with modeling agencies during open calls or in a formal sit-down interview is another situation where the opportunity for constructive criticism could come up--namely when it comes to asking aspiring fashion models to do a runway walk. While doing this kind of walk in front of agency staff can be nerve wracking, it is very important to absorb the feedback you're given afterwards.
If they point out certain things you did wrong or say that you need to work on something, don't take that to mean it's totally negative criticism. Agencies tend to get right to the point, which could at first be seen as regular criticism but in most cases, they will offer advice or tips for how to correct the issues they've pointed out. This is where the "constructive" part comes in.
Of course there will be times when you'll just run into straight up criticism. It is difficult to handle at first and could throw you off your game but instead of reacting or getting defensive, take a moment to think about what's been said and simply ask what you can do to improve. People who don't understand the difference between criticism and constructive criticism usually never even think to provide a reason as to why they said what they did or have the common sense to make suggestions so by politely and professionally requesting feedback or instruction, it could turn a potentially negative situation into a better one.
Will there be people in the industry who could care less about offering constructive criticism and will just say what they want to say to a model and put him/her down? Yes, but thankfully, those types of folks aren't abundant in modeling. There are many more who do practice constructive criticism and use it to make the industry a much more properly functioning business.
The bottom line: don't be too sensitive when it comes to getting feedback about your modeling skills. Take it in stride, absorb, reflect, ask questions and apply what you've been told. With constructive criticism, this is much easier to do but even with negative criticism, do what you can to turn it into a learning lesson that you will ultimately benefit from rather than allowing harsh words to set you back.
Remember, the keyword in constructive criticism is the word "constructive." This of this word and its purpose like the word "construction": it's about building you up, not knocking you down.