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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Monday, July 28, 2014

How Do I Get My Baby Into Modeling?

How many times have you been told that your baby is so cute that he/she should be a model?

Well, if you think you're ready to dive into that adventure, then this post will point you in the right direction!

Btw: I've already written an intro blog post into this type of modeling, which you may want to check out by clicking on this link: Baby Modeling Tips.

It is important to note that "baby models" and "child models" are entirely different based on age ranges. Interested in getting your child into modeling? Then click on this link: How Do I Get My Child Into Modeling?

Let's keep things simple by breaking down where you should start and what steps are involved in this process:

Look for Local Agencies That Represent Babies

Believe it or not, not all agencies deal with babies or even kid models. Hit the Internet to find out what agencies are within a 2 hour's drive from where you live. Once you've got your search results, start browsing through the websites.

Most agency sites make it very clear what divisions/categories of models they represent so it shouldn't be hard to locate this information. Now that you've got your results narrowed down to the ones you can submit to, dig deeper into each of those agencies to find out how to submit yourself.

Read Submission Guidelines/Instructions Carefully

Any reputable and legit agency that represents babies will not require a professional portfolio or headshots of your baby. They just won't. It doesn't make sense to anyway since your baby is going to grow by leaps in bounds in a matter of no time.

Current, non professional snapshots of your baby will be more than enough to suffice. However, pay attention to any specifics listed on the agency websites about what kinds of pictures to send (i.e. closeup of baby's face smiling, full body shot of baby on his/her stomach and/or back, etc.).

The guidelines may vary on the age of your baby so prepare your submission accordingly. Parents of baby model hopefuls should know all of their baby's essential stats/measurements. While these will likely be listed on the agency website, common measurements they'll ask for include (but are not limited to):

  • Height
  • Weight
  • Chest
  • Waist
  • Low Hip
  • Inseam
  • Shoe size

Many agencies have directions on how to take these types of measurements accurately, which is super helpful so take advantage of that resource if you aren't sure.

Send In Your Submission & See What Happens

I'm not aware of any agencies that have open calls for baby models because...well...would YOU want to be in an agency were there are tons of parents with fussy, loud and maybe cranky babies all at the same time in one big group? Probably not. I say this because, far as I know, the main submission methods for baby modeling agencies is via email, electronic form on the website and regular snail mail.

Some agencies offer all methods of submission, while others may only accept snail mail or email submissions. Read those instructions carefully to find out which agencies will accept which methods so that you'll know what to do.

After you've sent off your baby's pictures and other materials/info, there isn't much you can do but play the waiting game. It could take a few weeks to hear back and agencies typically only respond to the people they are interested in so if you just never hear back, don't take it personally. Check the agency websites to see if they mention how long it usually takes to receive a response.

Do not call or email the agency to follow up and see if they've received your submission. Most websites state this explicitly. Even if they don't, it's bad form to follow up when it comes to submissions so just keep your fingers crossed and find something to occupy your time and thoughts with so you aren't driving yourself crazy.

The Agency Replied Back! Now What?

Receiving a response back from a baby modeling agency is exciting but you don't have bragging rights just yet. Should you and your baby get invited to an interview, this is the time to find out how to prepare. In most instances, you'll be given information and instructions related to how to prepare and what to expect.

If you have any questions or concerns, contact the person at the agency who responded to you. They will be your point of contact, unless they've put you in touch with someone else at the agency who will be interacting with you. If they give you a packet or email with info, read all of it from top to bottom and then read it again BEFORE contacting them with questions.

Agencies are pretty good at their jobs and chances are they've given you all the basic answers and info you'll need in the materials they've provided you with. It should cover the important stuff like the address, date and time of your interview/meeting, as well as miscellaneous topics such as what your baby should wear, additional materials they may request and/or a brief description of what will take place during the interview.

In the end, if you end up getting a contract offer from the agency, here are some tips to handle what to do next:

  • Take the contract home so you can review it on your own time. Most agencies will tell you to take the contract home without you even having to ask. It is never okay for an agency to pressure you to sign a contract right then and there. Legit agencies know it is best to have you take the paperwork home but will give you a time frame for when they'll expect an answer as to whether or not you'll sign.
  • Upfront fees are a no-no. By definition, an "upfront fee" is an expense or charge that is required before you are offered a contract. This could be for things like workshops, photoshoots, portfolios, etc. In the U.S., the only time any fees can be talked about is after you've signed the contract and are being represented by the agency...not before. Period.

  • Reflect back on the interview. The agency you sign your baby with is going to be a business you'll be working with closely. So it only makes sense to join an agency you feel comfortable with. Take some time at home to reflect on the overall experience with the interview. Did you feel welcomed by the staff and treated with respect and courtesy? Was the office professional in appearance? Was the person that interviewed you knowledgeable about the industry and presented a good introduction to their agency and what it would be like to work with them? First impressions and gut instincts are important when it comes to things like this. If there are any red flags or a nagging feeling of doubt, chances are it's for a reason and you should listen.
  • Don't sign if you've got questions or don't understand something! This is the biggest mistakes many parents of models and even models themselves make. Don't be so eager to get things going that you sign a contract without fully understanding what you're agreeing to. It is perfectly fine to ask the agency questions and to clarify ANYTHING in the contract you aren't sure about. This is the time to be inquisitive...there isn't much that can be done after your signature has gone onto the contract.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Runway Walk: Make It Your Own--Don't Be a Clone!

Nothing makes aspiring models want to be in the industry more than the idea of strutting down a catwalk.

I've had my fair share of messages and inquiries from people asking for tips, resources, tutorials, advice, etc. related to how to do this type of walk.

In answering all these inquiries, I realized that it is important for me to point out that when it comes to practicing and developing a solid runway walk, it isn't about imitating exactly what is seen on television and YouTube videos.

Male models and female models alike, take note of the title of this blog post. When learning how to do your runway walk, it isn't about copying other people. I often tell newbie models to refer to videos of fashion shows in order to study the models and the different styles of walks there are. These resources are more for inspiration--not to be copied exactly.

Truth be told, there are many runway models in those videos whose walks aren't that good. If you've watched enough of them, you can easily tell which ones have a great strut (male and female) and which ones are eh, so-so but were good enough to make the cut.

Because no two models walk exactly the same way, it doesn't make sense to try and copy any of them. Below are some quick reminders as to what should be kept in mind when it comes to developing your own strut:

Use Videos for Inspiration Only

It's fine to watch fashion show videos and experiment with your walk based on what you see. This is a great way to figure out which styles of walking you feel comfortable doing and which ones you'd rather not attempt (or know you need to work on to master).

The goal when watching these videos isn't just about learning the actual walk but observing how each model in the fashion shows commands the room with their presence. Check out their facial expressions, posture, how they pose at the end and top of the catwalk, how they work with the clothes and incorporate certain aspects of the wardrobe into their walk (i.e. dresses with pockets, jackets, capes, scarves, etc.).

When you think you're ready, start off by trying to copy what you've watched but start branching off and adding your own spin to things. That's how you form a signature walk all your own.

Don't Take That Last Sentence Too Literally

Modeling isn't an exact science. It's about going with the flow, being in the moment and adapting. Developing your own style of walking doesn't mean coming up with a way to walk in a fashion show that's never been seen before. No need for that level of creativity (so if you're thinking that blowing a kiss and kicking up your heel each time you get to the end of the runway is a great idea, don't do it!).

For the love of all things modeling: keep it simple. You'd be surprised how much more of an impact subtlety will get you when it comes to this topic.

The more you practice your walk, the more you'll start doing little things that make you feel at your best whenever you're strutting. This could be anything from adding a touch more sway to your hips (for women) to shooting a sexy smirk when you pose at the end of the runway (for men or women).

Those don't sound like the most original ideas, right? That's because there's not meant to be completely original. However, great models are able to take those subtle movements and incorporate their own brand of body language into their walks that makes them memorable. And you can do it, too.

The Bottom Line: Practice

The quickest path towards developing your own style of walking is to practice. A lot. Not till your feet break out into blisters but you should be working on your walk at least a few times a week. For how long? That's up to you. Squeeze it into your schedule as best you can--it's not a hard exercise to accommodate. Even 10-15 minutes a day would be ideal.

The more you practice, the more at ease you'll feel about adding things and/or experimenting with the way you walk. To get the best results, have a full length mirror to practice with. Set it up to be as upright against the wall as possible (if you're not able to mount it to the wall) and work on walking towards it and away from it. Observe yourself from head to toe and tweak things as needed.

Over time you'll find yourself walking in a whole new way and, hopefully, in a way that makes people remember you, whether you're working it in a local fashion show or the big leagues at Fashion Week.