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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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Happy Holidays & The Latest From Dania Denise

'Tis the Season, folks!

I'm sure you're all busy juggling shopping, work, cramming for finals (for you students out there), planning holiday travel and the list goes on.

As you could probably tell--for my loyal readers out there--2016 was my slowest year ever in terms of posting new content here on Modeling 101.

I hope I haven't let you down too terribly or given you the impression that I've retired or no longer do anything with this blog but if you have been keeping up with things, you already know that my lack of posting new stuff wasn't on purpose or to torture you.

I'm the type of person who doesn't like to do anything halfheartedly. That includes emailing, blogging, even visiting with friends/family. If I don't have the appropriate amount of time to be focused on the task at hand, I would rather put it off until I have ample time to be at my best and give my full attention.

I hate skimming through emails and rushing my responses and the same goes for blogging. I have a list of topics so rest assured that my falling behind on posting isn't because I've run out of steam or ideas. Quite the opposite! But in my typical workaholic fashion, I've taken on more projects and commitments that have stretched me pretty thin this year and I just had to get them knocked out.

What kinds of projects, you ask?

ACTOR MODE

While I love modeling I also love acting and 2016 had me really engaged in more acting projects, including commercials, short films and some feature film work (all in various forms of production). Several short films I was in are being shopped around the film festival circuit so, unfortunately, they're not allowed to be posted online so I can't view or share them just yet.

PRODUCER MODE

Apparently, being in front of the camera isn't enough for me because I've also spent some time this year being behind the camera. The main role I've been taking on these days is as producer but I've also been in charge of holding auditions, working with actors, coordinating shoot schedules, scouting locations, managing the cast and crew onsite, set design and pretty much being HBIC status, lol.

It's really given me an adrenaline rush to be even more involved in the industry behind the camera, not to mention being able to actually star in a few of the projects I'm helping to produce. Getting the momentum and funding for such projects isn't easy and it doesn't happen overnight but I will be sure to share all the latest goodness with you soon as everything is ready to go!

PAGEANT MODE

2016 was filled with amazing experiences as Ms. USA Petite. Not only did I spend my time as a titleholder participating in various events, I had the honor of hosting the 2016 Universal Petite Pageant, which took place on a cruise ship that took us to the Grand Cayman Islands and Cozumel, Mexico this summer.

Getting to spend a week with titleholders from different countries, as well as reuniting with my sister queens, was such an incredible chapter in my life and it was definitely bittersweet when I crowned my successor earlier this month in Florida. It was sad to say goodbye to my sister queens but I am thrilled with our new titleholders and know they will all make us proud as the newest members of the USA Petite Family!

Speaking of pageants...I am working on something pretty big and using all of 2017 to prep for it in 2018 so while I can't say right now what it is, I promise you it's gonna be worth the wait. :-)

STILL MODELING, TOO

I could never stray too far from modeling among all the other things I've got my hands in. Modeling for the most part was slow for me this year but that was because I hadn't put myself out there too much in terms of castings but suddenly I found myself in front of the camera and back in model mode doing a bunch of fun shoots.

I actually did two sets of editorial shoots with the mega talented hair and makeup artist/stylist Nomi Nguyen. The images have already been sent to various magazines and I was just told that they've all been selected for publication!

It was great to know that despite my shorter stature, Nomi believed in me enough as a model and the fact that I now have my first set of editorial tearsheets--including a cover!!!--continues to motivate me to seek opportunities that may not otherwise have been on my radar. All it takes it someone taking a chance on you to make things happen and get the ball rolling!

I STILL LOVE YOU, BLOG READERS!

For those of you waiting and hoping for new content, I truly apologize for not being better about making time to stay on top of my blog posts. The good news is that I've been scheduled for more work from home days with my other businesses so that means the downtime I need to focus on getting more modeling tips, tricks, info and other tidbit type of posts out to you on a more regular basis.

I don't believe in making New Year's Resolutions but my effort to be more diligent in blogging is probably the closest I'll come, hah.

Your patience will be rewarded and I am aiming to give you a new Modeling 101 blog post before the end of this month. That'll make two blog posts in one month, which hasn't happened for a long time here...baby steps, right???

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Tips for Getting to Your Modeling Castings On Time, Every Time

It goes without saying that arriving on time to castings is one of the biggest ways to make a good first impression when it comes to establishing a good reputation in the modeling world.

Those new to modeling--especially you freelance models out there--have a lot of new territory to encounter and I hope this post gives you less to stress about.

When you're not stressed, you're able to focus more on performing well during the casting and hopefully setting yourself up to get hired for that modeling job!

Some of these tips are common sense but like I always say, "Common sense just isn't common enough." Believe me, if I didn't feel these things needed to be mentioned, I wouldn't even bother but if I can help even one person have an "AHA!" moment in realizing mistakes they may have made in the past (and can now correct moving forward), then I will have considered this post a success.

Lets get to it!

TIP #1: DESIGNATE A CONTACT PERSON

Soon as you're confirmed for a casting and have the date/time/location, make sure to identify who your "contact person" will be at the casting (if this info hasn't been provided to you already).

You'll want to know the name of the person and a number they can be reached at during business hours (8a-5p). BTW: It is extremely unprofessional to call your contact person in the evening, especially if it is a personal cell phone that they use to conduct business. The only exception is in the case of an emergency or if you cannot make it to the casting last minute.

If you haven't been told who your contact person is, just ask. Even if you're told that you don't need to worry about having a contact person, the fact that you asked reflects very well on you and is a great sign of your professionalism.

TIP #2: DON'T WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE TO CONFIRM/ASK QUESTIONS

Nothing is more nerve-wracking than sending an email inquiry or leaving a voicemail the day/night before a casting and not hearing back from someone in time.

Avoid putting yourself in this situation by confirming all the details and asking any questions you may have several days (2-3 days) before the date of your casting. This gives the client/casting director the time necessary to get back to you soon as they are available. Remember, they have busy schedules as well and may not be able to get back to you right away.

The sooner you get things clarified, the better prepared you'll be by the time the casting date comes around.

TIP #3: KNOW MORE THAN THE ADDRESS OF WHERE THE CASTING IS

We have too much technology these days to have the excuse of being late because models didn't know where to go.

Whether you're taking public transit or driving, look up the directions for how to get to your casting soon as you have the address available. Doing this in advance instead of waiting the day of will decrease the odds of any unexpected surprises. You literally have to be prepared for anything so do yourself a favor and plan ahead.

Don't just know how to get to the casting--use Google Maps to look up what the actual location looks like. Being able to recognize the building when you get there shaves minutes off your arrival time.

Go a step further and look at the parking situation if you plan on driving. Are there meters? Parking garages nearby? Free parking in a residential area? Google Maps shows the surrounding areas so take note of that and factor it into how much time you'll need to get there on time.

Anyone who's had to find parking in an area that is metered or offers free sidewalk parking knows it can take forever to find an open spot nearby and could take even longer if you have to park blocks away and walk.

TIP #4: ARRIVE EARLY & PREP YOUR GAME FACE

I purposely make it a habit to arrive to castings at least 30 minutes before my casting call time. I have no problem getting to places really early because it not only guarantees I won't be late and have plenty of time for parking, it gives me a moment to prepare my game face and go over what to expect at the casting.

Additionally, it allows me to double check that I have all the stuff I need (i.e. headshot/comp card) and to check my hair and makeup one last time before heading in.

Trust me, it's much better to find yourself with time to kill instead of rushing into the casting frantic because you came close to being late or ended up being late.

If you have the habit of being late to everything in general, chances are you won't be a favorite at castings. Implementing these tips and learning to embrace them as a part of your modeling career will produce instant results not just in building a good rep for yourself in the industry but giving you peace of mind as well that you'll have less to worry about before each casting and give you the confidence that you'll be stepping in as the best version of yourself.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Other Forms of Modeling Compensation (Other Than Money)

There is a lot to be said for how one measures "success" or defines "professional" when it comes to an industry like modeling. Most people automatically think about money.

Of course it makes sense that a professional model is one who gets paid for his/her services. Supermodels make tons of money so it's easy to see why the every day person would consider the almighty dollar as a major factor.

However, while earning income for modeling is a big perk, it isn't the only form of compensation female and male models receive for their efforts.

Sometimes models have to determine whether a gig is worth taking or not based on the form of compensation. Project type, budget, client and job duties all factor into what type of compensation will be provided to a model and as with much in the industry, the details almost always vary from project to project.

Below are a few of the most common forms of modeling compensation aside from money that models will want to be aware of when submitting to and getting booked for assignments:

TEARSHEETS

Tearsheets are the best form of compensation (some believe it's even better than money) for models because it serves as direct "proof" of publication. I've talked about tearsheest in the past but the important takeaway when it comes to this type of payment is that models should definitely seek as many opportunities to earn tearsheets as possible.

Whether it's a hard copy tearsheet from a magazine/catalog or other printed form or a digital tearsheet printed off the Internet (or bookmarked), these are the types of images that are gold for portfolios.

What better way to show people what you've accomplished than a publication that has you in it?

FREE MERCHANDISE/PRODUCT

Clients with smaller budgets or just starting out with their business don't always have the deep pockets that their larger competitors do. Giving models free merchandise (clothes, accessories, product, etc.) counts as a form of modeling compensation, although getting freebies as payment is sometimes a hot button topic for those in the industry.

Some models don't see getting free merchandise as acceptable and won't accept or submit to jobs that list this as compensation. Other models love getting free stuff and see it as a perk so they don't have any problem with it.

Free merchandise is a commonly used form of compensation when it comes to fashion shows. If you really love the designer's clothes, getting a free outfit (or maybe a gift certificate to their store/site) may sound like a great deal. If you'd rather get paid, this may be a gig to pass on.

For photoshoots where the client is giving free merchandise in lieu of monetary compensation, it's a good idea to find out beforehand if you'll also be able to get copies of the photos. If the resulting images will be published that means tearsheets so in that instance, getting tearsheets and free merchandise is a pretty sweet combo meal. But if you're not going to receive images, walking away with free clothes might not sound very appealing.

COPIES OF PHOTOS

Tearsheets and regular modeling photos are not the same. Tearsheets describe "published" work, while photos from a shoot are just that--photos. Getting copies from a professional shoot is good for adding new images to a model's portfolio and is considered a form of compensation although it is at the bottom of the ladder in terms of priority, at least for models with a lot of experience.

Newer models learning the ropes, however, can greatly benefit from getting copies from shoots they've done.

COMBINATION

Some clients may combine any or all of the above to sweeten the deal for models if they don't have a large budget to work with. A lower pay rate combined with free merchandise/product is a popular option, as well as a lower pay rate combined with copies of the resulting images.

Other clients might give models the option of choosing between monetary compensation and free merchandise or copies of images from the shoot (not talking about tearsheets here). Those aren't the best situations to be in and while it doesn't happen frequently, it happens enough that I felt it was worth mentioning.

If you find yourself in this kind of situation where you can only choose one or the other, it will be up to you to decide if you'd rather take the money or if the copies of the photos or free merchandise/product would benefit you more. In this case, it's important to look at the client you'd be working with, what's required of you as the model and where you are at in your career.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Agency Recruitment Warnings: What All Models Should Know

I'm often a broken record. I repeat a lot of the same things over and over and over.

That's usually because I find that it drills important info into people's heads and helps them remember things more easily.

Referring to modeling agency websites is one of the most common things I repeat constantly and with good reason--many questions and concerns can be answered by visiting an agency's website. Period.

These days agencies take great time and care to post content on their websites to help models with everything from how to submit themselves for representation, reference photos for snapshots and--in recent years--vital information about warnings and scams to be on the lookout for.

Modeling recruitment scams are prominent and with technology making it easier for people to stay anonymous and/or pretend to be someone they're not, agencies are very aware that there are individuals posing as model scouts and preying on unsuspecting newbies.

Because a lot of people turn to my blog for advice, I decided to recap some of that essential info here. Much of this is posted on agency sites all over but I figured it couldn't hurt to have this content here as a quick reference to avoid scams and preventing a bad situation.

LEGITIMATE MODELING AGENCIES WILL NEVER...

Ask for Models to Submit Photos of Themselves in Lingerie or Nude.

I don't care if you want to model for Victoria's Secret--they don't want to see you naked or modeling their bras and thongs. Modeling agencies do request snapshots but they want you clothed. Dark skinny jeans, heels and a fitted tank top for women and jeans and a fitted shirt for men are the norm.

Agencies that want to see the shape of a model's body better will request snapshots wearing swimwear (bikinis for women and swim shorts with no shirt for men, most times).

If you ever get a request from an "agency" for nude images or wearing lingerie, they're a fake agency. Don't respond and delete the email (better yet, report them to the proper online resource/authority/consumer website to make others aware of these creepers).

Send an Email From an Address That is Not Affiliated with the Agency.

Did you receive an email from someone claiming to be from a big agency? You better check that email address. If the extension doesn't contain the name of the agency after the "@" symbol, it's 99.9% a scam or other shady type of operation.

For example, if you get an email from a person that says they're a model scout or recruiter from Next Models in New York, their email address better have "@nextmodels.com".

Legit:  samh@nextmodels.com, sam.h@nextmodels.com

Not Legit:  samh@yahoo.com, samhnextmodels@yahoo.com, nextmodels@yahoo.com, nextmodelsrecruiter@yahoo.com

(The legit reference is not a real email address btw so please don't send an email to it, lol).

Agencies large and small have their own email addresses and don't need to use Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail or any other kind of "every day" email account.

What should you do if you get such an email? Don't reply. Instead, save the message and forward it to the agency directly. They want people to alert them of these incidents so in your email explain that you were contacted by this person and make sure you send them the body of the email message you received.

This will allow the agency to take whatever action is needed on their end to hopefully put a stop to the activity. Does that mean they'll be so thankful that they'll sign you? Probably not, haha, but they will greatly appreciate your efforts to get rid of one less scumbag.

Conduct Interviews via Skype

Social media, especially Instagram, has changed the ways agencies scout, contact and recruit models but according to several fashion agency websites I've reviewed, they all say that they do NOT conduct interviews for new models through Skype and that those who are offered this opportunity should be wary.

Even though Skype is great for connecting people across distances and is used for business communications as well as for fun, the more established and reputable agencies will not use it for interviewing new models. Why? Because even though Skype allows them to "see" you, they NEED to see you in front of them with their own eyes.

You can't properly evaluate a model's potential via webcam. The heavy hitter agencies know this and they also know that if a model really wants the opportunity, they'll make the effort to come to the agency office and have the interview in person.

If you're not sure whether an interview via Skype with an agency is legit, do your research by calling/emailing the agency directly and asking if they do Skype interviews. Remember, the scammers don't work at the agency so calling or emailing directly will help you verify whether or not that individual actually does work there and if the offer is genuine.

What happens if the person does work there? Then there's no harm and it isn't a bad reflection on you. If anything, it shows the agency that you're not a pushover who will fall for anything.

Ask for Money Upfront to Attend a Casting or Interview.

Legitimate agencies will never ask you to send them money to attend a casting or interview before they will meet with you. If anyone contacts you and asks you to send them money via wire transfer, through PayPal or another online payment method, that's a huge sign that it's a scam.

Money only comes into the equation after you've met with the agency in person, have a contract offer on the table, etc. Not in the early stages when they've never even met you or reviewed your photos and info.

Models don't pay to attend castings or interviews and legitimate agencies won't allow them to, either.
___________________________

When in doubt about someone contacting you claiming to be from a particular agency, visit that agency's site to see if you can locate that person's name/contact info to verify his/her identity.

Can't find it? Then call the agency directly and ask to verify whether that person actually does work there. Make sure you know the person's name before you call. If the agency says no one by that name works there, then you'll know you dodged a major bullet.

Not all agencies are identical and not all of them operate the same way but when it comes to the safety of the models that submit to them, as well as their reputations, taking the above information to heart could save you a lot of stress, grief and an unfortunate experience/encounter.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Models, Learn How to "Sell Yourself"

I know the phrase, “Sell Yourself,” sounds suspect but when I was 15-years-old, this is what I was taught when I first got into the industry as a model/actor.

Over the years, I’ve come to know how important this concept is and have made it a point to implement it when I mentor, coach and consult models.

The idea of “selling yourself” is quite simple: in order to convince agencies, clients, casting directors, etc. to work with you is to know how to pitch yourself to them. Essentially, learning how to talk about yourself in a confident and conversational way is one of the greatest secrets to booking gigs and building/maintaining a solid networking environment.

Aside from the many castings I’ve been to over the years, I’ve also had the opportunity to be a part of the casting process and experience things from the other side. It never ceases to amaze me how many models have a hard time talking about themselves. If you’re new and/or inexperienced, that’s one thing but I’ve seen models with experience and solid portfolios/resumes stumble or struggle with introducing themselves in a few sentences.

Hopefully, the following tips can help anyone struggling with this concept become more comfortable with talking about themselves so that this part of the casting process will become one less thing for them to worry about:

ASSUME YOU’LL BE ASKED TO TALK ABOUT YOURSELF

You are the person being interview, right? So it only makes sense that the majority of the time, a client/agent/casting director is going to ask you to tell them about yourself in your own words. Sure, they can get this info from your resume/portfolio but oftentimes, it is much better to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth—plus, it gives them the chance to see how you speak and present yourself in person.

I can’t count how many times I’ve seen models get the “deer in headlights” look when asked to talk about themselves. The best way to avoid this initial panic is to go in assuming that you’re going to have to talk about yourself. This means you’ll be properly prepared and even if you don’t get asked, at least you’ll know that you would have been ready.

It’s always better to err on the side of caution and prepare for the unexpected, including talking about yourself.

DEVELOP YOUR “PITCH”

In addition to expecting to be asked to talk about yourself at a casting/interview, it also helps if you actually have an idea of what you’re going to say. Prepare 2-3 very brief talking points beforehand and practice saying it out loud. This doesn’t mean you should have a completely rehearsed answer, however. The last thing you want to do is sound robotic.

Practice at home by having a friend or family member ask you, “Tell us about yourself” and jump straight into what you want to say. Be open to their feedback and tweak your answer as needed. Over time and with practice, you’ll be able to answer that question without giving it a second thought.

KEEP IT BRIEF
It’s easy to get caught up rambling and trying to include every single fact about yourself. Remember, most castings and interviews don’t have that much time to dedicate to each model so knowing how to keep your answer brief and to the point is essential. 2-3 sentences about yourself should be more than enough to fill people in on who you are.

After you’re done speaking, there will be other questions asked so make sure you aren’t taking too long with your answer in order to allow for ample time for other questions/topics to be brought up.

KEEP IT SIMPLE

“Tell us a bit about yourself” isn’t a trick question. Keep it simple. Talking about how long you’ve been modeling, what you do for work, favorite hobbies and/or where you go to school are all ideal subjects to cover in an answer. If you’re a student, throwing in what you’re studying is also a great topic to touch on.

The key is to tell them just enough so that they’ll be able to ask you any follow up questions related to anything you’ve mentioned. This is how you create “momentum” in a casting/interview situation. You want people to know who you are, be interested in you and make yourself memorable. The more engaging you are, the more your personality will shine and that’s what will sell you as the person a client should hire or the model an agency should sign.

BE HUMBLE

One of the best ways to make a good first impression is to know how to talk about yourself that comes across as natural, conversational and informative but not arrogant. Just because you’re asked to say a few words about who you are doesn’t mean that it’s time to drone on about every single aspect of your life or—even worse—use that time to brag about everything that’s so wonderful about you.
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The sooner you learn how to successfully answer the question: “Tell us a bit about yourself,” the better you’ll perform at any casting, open call or other related modeling opportunity where you’re being interviewed.

It isn’t rocket science, it’s simply a matter of being confident and comfortable enough in your own skin to showcase to others who you are and why you’re the right choice.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

New Website Launch: DaniaDee.com is Live!

I blogged about my next business venture earlier this year and after a lot of tweaking and planning, I'm happy to announce the official launch of DaniaDee.com!

WHAT IS DANIADEE.COM?

Being able to help others pursue their goals for the modeling industry over the years has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. People have shared their stories, dreams and aspirations with me and to be able to get them closer to making those dreams a reality inspired me to take things up a notch.

I've been mentoring/coaching/consulting for a while now but mainly via email and word-of-mouth. However, I feel the time is right to take my services to the next level by officially marketing myself as a mentor/coach/consultant!

DaniaDee.com is specifically for the purpose of marking those services to those with a serious interest in having one-on-one assistance with their entertainment careers.

IS IT JUST FOR MODELS?

No, DaniaDee.com is designed to offer one-on-one services for models, actors, pageant contestants and those "behind the scenes" (i.e. photographers, clients/casting directors looking for talent, etc.).

IS IT FREE?

No. Unlike my blog, the services offered through DaniaDee.com are paid services. For rate inquiries, you'll have to visit the site and fill out the form to get more details.

However, that does not mean people can't still ask me questions or get help via my blogs (Modeling 101 - A Model's Diary and Modeling 101 - Answering Reader Questions with Dania Denise) because you still can--that will always be free. Sending me emails is also going to continue to be free so all of that will continue as it always has.

DO YOU TRAVEL?

Yes! That is the best thing about this new business venture--I want to make myself available to work in-person with those who have a vested interest in using my services to help them reach their career goals (travel & accommodations must be covered for work out of city limits and out-of-state).

However, I do have an office space for in-person sessions located in Roseville, California (just outside of Sacramento) so anyone in that area is more than welcome to come to the office for services if coming to your home or other designated location is not possible.
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I'm excited to launch this new business and can't wait to get started! I'll be sure to keep you posted on how things are going so stay tuned!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Anatomy of a Modeling Website Pt VII: Social Media

I'm sure you can't believe it but this is the last post in this mini-blog series!

Haven't read the other six before this one? Well, lucky for you, they're listed below with links you can click on to go directly to the post you want to read:

"The Anatomy of a Modeling Website Pt I: Welcome Page"

"The Anatomy of a Modeling Website Pt II: Photo Gallery"

“The Anatomy of a Modeling Website Pt III: About Me”

"The Anatomy of a Modeling Website Pt IV: Resume Page"

"The Anatomy of a Modeling Website Pt V: Services Page"

"The Anatomy of a Modeling Website Pt VI: Contact Page"

This last post is going to focus on social media. Sure, we all know what it is and use it frequently--in fact, social media is now a regular part of our daily lives, regardless of your background and lifestyle.

But when it comes to using this feature on your official modeling website, there are a few rules of thumb you'll want to take note of and implement.

KEEP IT SIMPLE

Nothing looks worse on a modeling website than a list of crazy long links/URLs to social media profiles. Stay away from having those on your site.

Using the icons (like the ones in the image associated with this post) is a more visually appealing way to let visitors to your site know that you have additional profiles they can check out.

Whether you use a self-publishing website platform or have someone else maintain your modeling website for you, a great way to incorporate social media in an easy way is to make the icons active links so that whenever someone clicks on each one, it will direct them to that specific social media profile.

An online image search for social media icons will present you with tons of options to choose from. Save the image to your computer and then you'll be able to use it.

It's also a good idea to adjust the settings on your site so that when the social media icons are clicked, the info opens up in a separate window. This will prevent visitors from having to click the back button if they want to go back to your modeling site.

DON'T OVERANALYZE 

By that, I mean you don't have to fuss over whether to use colored social media icons or black and white. It really doesn't matter and there is no right or wrong way when it comes to how the icons appear. As long as they are easily visible and aren't pixelated in appearance, they'll serve their purpose just fine.

SIZE DOES MATTER

You don't want your social media icons to be so tiny that it gets missed but you also don't want it to be so large that it becomes a huge distraction on the page. Exercise good judgment when it comes to the size of the icons you use--you'll know when it's the right size.

PLACEMENT IS KEY

Social media icons often appear at the bottom of a website in the footer area but can technically be placed anywhere (although I would stay away from placing them as part of the navigation menu bar).

I've seen the icons used just on the Contact Page of a site or are set so that they appear in the same place on every page of the website so no matter which page you're looking at, you have instant access to those icons if you wanted to click on them.

DOUBLE-CHECK YOUR LINKS

Nothing is worse than sending visitors to your website to a social media profile that doesn't work. Take advantage of the "copy/paste" shortcut when linking the icons to your profiles. Doing so eliminates the possibility of messing up the hyperlink itself.

Make sure it's possible to "preview" your site so that you can check if everything works properly before making the website live and visible to the public.

KEEP IT PROFESSIONAL

I've already blogged about the importance of being professional and having a polished online presence when it comes to social media profiles so I won't go into depth on this subject again but I do want to say that if you haven't updated your profiles in a while, you may want to do so--especially your modeling images/portfolio on those sites.

The goal is to make sure that anyone clicking the social media icons on your site won't come across something you don't want them to see or that will make you look bad.

QUALITY OVER QUANTITY

There are dozens of social media sites out there but that does not mean you need to create a profile for every single one to include on your modeling website. Pick social media profiles/accounts that you use and update on a regular basis. If you sign up for a ton of profiles on various social media sites, chances are you'll be sharing info and photos that are repetitive.

Having a strong social media presence is great but having more of the same for each profile isn't very impressive. Focus on the substance of your existing social media profiles and that will cover all your bases each time a visitor to your site decides to learn more by checking you out on other sites.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Anatomy of a Modeling Website Pt VI: Contact Page

We're almost there, folks! This mini-blog post series is almost at its end.

I've got five blog posts so far and there's two more to go, including this one.

To recap the posts already in this series for those that haven't had a chance to check them out yet, they are listed below:


This blog post is much more straightforward and to the point compared to the other topics I've covered but nonetheless, the Contact Page is yet another crucial component of any model's official website.

THE CONTACT PAGE IS EXACTLY WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE

The goal for the contact page is to encourage those visiting your modeling website to send you a message or give you a call--hopefully for the purpose of hiring you for a modeling gig. 

This page should be fairly minimal and not cluttered with too much info. In this day and age of the Internet, people are no stranger to what the Contact Page is for so you don't need to worry about breaking down the concept for them.

The use of a contact form is a popular way to engage people with the Contact Page and since you can forward it to your own email address, it will keep that part of your information from being public. Some models also include their direct email address in addition to the form on the page but it's your preference as to whether or not to include it or just stick to the form itself.

IT'S THE INTERNET--THINK SAFETY WITH PERSONAL INFO

Remember, if you put your cell phone on the modeling website, anyone can call you. It isn't necessary to get a second number for your modeling website but if you want to go the extra mile and do that, it doesn't hurt, especially if you wish to keep your modeling career separate from your personal life. Not having a number on the Contact Page won't kill your site, however, so opt for what makes you feel most comfortable (and secure--this is the Internet we're talking about, after all).

On the Contact Page for many companies there is often an address also associated, some with that cool Google Maps feature that pinpoints where the location is, but for models I wouldn't recommend putting an address, especially if it's your home address for obvious reasons. The only exception I can think of would be if you had a P.O. Box.  

DON'T BE AFRAID TO ADD A LITTLE TEXT

It's okay to add some text/content to the Contact Page but keep it brief. We visit websites and use contact pages all the time so feel free to use others for reference when trying to come up with what text to include on the page.

On my own modeling website I have a contact page, a list of the types of modeling I do (for easy reference so visitors don't have to click around on the site to be reminded) and social media icons. Clicking on each icon will take visitors to that particular profile in a new window.

Speaking of social media, that's going to be the final post in this mini-series of blog posts so check back soon because as we all know, it's all about social media these days!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Anatomy of a Modeling Website Pt V: Services Page

After a long break from actively blogging, it's a new year and I've recharged my batteries and am ready to pick up where I've left off in this mini-series of blog posts.

As I'm sure you already know, I've written four posts in this series so far:

"The Anatomy of a Modeling Website Pt I: Welcome Page"

"The Anatomy of a Modeling Website Pt II: Photo Gallery"

“The Anatomy of a Modeling Website Pt III: About Me”

"The Anatomy of a Modeling Website Pt IV: Resume Page"

If you haven't had a chance to check them out yet, those links will take you right to it and get you up to speed.

All right, let's get to the fifth installment in this series: The Services Page!

WHAT IS THE SERVICES PAGE?

Simply put, the Services page of a modeling website states what type of modeling is being offered. Like the other pages of a website, Services should be clear and to the point. No need for long, rambling paragraphs or unnecessary information. Remember, you want people--especially potential clients--to stick around and be engaged in what they're looking at. Don't give them too much info to absorb.

The main thing you want to showcase on the Services page is what modeling you specialize in. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Fashion/Runway/Editorial
  • Commercial/Print/Lifestyle
  • Glamour/Fine Art/Boudoir
  • Sports/Fitness/Swimwear
  • Alternative/Goth/Steampunk

IT'S NOT MANDATORY

The Services page is actually an optional one to have, which means you don't need to include it on your site if you don't want to. However, it doesn't hurt to have one. For those of you that choose to, this post will be beneficial to helping you craft your version.

Speaking of versions, I always suggest writing a draft of what you want to say and then putting it away until the next day. Go back and re-read what you've written and start editing where it's needed. Delete things that aren't important and rewrite parts you think require more clarification. When you feel there aren't any more changes to be made, that's a sign that it's ready to be published to your site.

I don't have a Services page on my own modeling website, mainly because I've been in the industry long enough with a body of work and resume that makes it clear to people viewing it what I do and the types of modeling I can be hired for. Newer models, especially freelance models, could find this page useful for giving more content to their site if they don't have much work to showcase and to also help them determine what kind of modeling they want to focus on.

THE DETAILS

In another post in this mini-blog series, I mentioned briefly listing the types of modeling being offered on the Welcome/Home Page. While this is still a good place to have that information listed, the Services page is where you can expand on that list.

You can opt to keep it simple by listing each category, followed by more detailed examples in sentence form:

Commercial/Print: catalogs, stock photography, magazine & online ads

Or followed by a bulleted list:

Commercial/Print

  • Catalog
  • Stock Photography
  • Magazine & online ads
Some of the descriptions may apply to more than one modeling category and that's totally okay.


Want to make the content for your Services page more personal? Then you can simply write a brief paragraph describing the type of work you want to book. If you go with this option, I would recommend also talking about what you would bring to the table.

Below is an example (for this example I'm using first-person but you can also choose third-person. It's a matter of personal preference):

I'm currently interested in booking paid work related to photo shoots for magazine publication, high fashion shoots, runway shows, bridal themed shoots and tasteful boudoir photography. Depending on the project, I can arrive camera ready and have a range of wardrobe options I can bring.

This is obviously pretty short, considering that I totally made it up, lol but the point is that you can be a bit more personal with stating what your modeling services are, if you want to use that approach. I would say make it no longer than one decent paragraph or broken up into 2-3 shorter paragraphs. Include an image or graphic on the page as well if you want to use more space on the page itself.

WHAT ABOUT RATES?

The beauty of having your own modeling website is that you can have whatever you want on it. That includes rates. If you've read enough of my blog posts, you already know that I don't include rates on my website or other social media profiles because I like to keep the nature of that subject between myself and whatever client is inquiring about hiring me. Not all modeling projects are the same so I don't apply the same rate to everything I get booked for.

However, if you want to list your rates (which is totally fine!) then the Services page is exactly where that belongs on your website. The way your rate appears on the page will depend on the format/layout you choose and the content. You can have a specific rate applied to each type of modeling category you offer or you can make it its own text on the page that is separate from the content related to listing/describing your services.

For example, you may list your hourly rate and/or flat rate at the top of the page before the content of the modeling categories/services or after. It's all up to you and what you like. But don't get pulled into listing a bunch of different rates for too many different things. That will overwhelm you (and the people viewing your site). As with everything else, keep it simple and straightforward. 


You don't need to explain every nook and cranny on the page as it relates to your rates. List the rates that are relevant and then include a line of text that is a "Call to Action," such as:

Click on the Contact Page for more information about rates and booking inquiries.

For more information about rates and booking inquiries, visit the Contact Page.

Click here to submit an inquiry and/or questions. (The "here" would be an active link that would take the user straight to the Contact Page or compose an email directly to you)

These are all statements that will lead viewers to take the next step, which is to contact you. It is at that point in the process where they can ask you questions about your rate, their budget, project needs, etc. and you can respond in more detail. 

Saturday, January 9, 2016

2016 - A New Year & The Latest on Dania Denise

Happy New Year! Okay, it's been the new year for a few days now but this is the first post I've written for 2016 so I wanted to keep the festive feeling going.

I've gotta say that 2015 was quite a year for me and I'm sure you've noticed that I've been MIA from regularly posting. There really aren't just enough hours in the day and I apologize if you've felt abandoned or wanting for new information. I haven't forgotten you!

There is always method to my madness, however. I basically devoted myself to being a workaholic in overdrive for 2015 so that I could position myself to make 2016 the kind of year where I could pick and choose how much I wanted to work (or not work) without worrying about making ends meet. You know, grown up stuff, lol.

That being said, below is a quick recap of what 2015 held for me. Hopefully it will show you why I was absent as much as I was from my Modeling 101 blog and other related projects:

Being interviewed live during a TV news morning show about my
chalk art business, The Chalk Chica.
THE CHALK CHICA 
CONTINUED TO FLOURISH 

As some of you may or may not know, when I'm not in front of a camera or on a stage, I own and operate my own art business. Chalk art, to be specific. It is because of this business I run that I am able to make my own schedule, call the shots and be secure enough financially to pursue my other passions in life.

Being a shorter model, I knew I couldn't rely on modeling income alone to maintain my lifestyle, pay my bills, etc. so it was important to me that I pay attention to The Chalk Chica and continue to ensure that my clients were happy and that the opportunities that came my way got bigger and better. Thankfully, they have.

I not only had the chance to travel out of state for work, I also secured a client who is partnered with Kevin Hart and I will be working with them throughout the year as a chalk artist at their community events nationwide. That includes several trips this year.

I WON MS. USA PETITE 2015! 

If you follow me on social media (IG, Facebook, Twitter) then you probably already know this but if you don't, in October of 2015 I was crowned the new Ms. USA Petite in Florida. I hadn't competed in a pageant since 2008 so in a sense I was coming out of retirement. The pageant bug never left me but it took some time to find a pageant system with a division that allowed women in their 30s to compete.

I was fortunate to find the USA Petite system. By "petite" they mean height, not size. Contestants had to be 5'6" or shorter in order to participate. I went to Florida for the competition, where I represented my home state of California. After making many new friends and having such an amazing time, I got to experience what it was like to be crowned and realize all the hard work and preparation I went through being rewarded.

As Ms. USA Petite 2015, I plan on spending my time as a titleholder for 2016 traveling, making appearances and promoting my platform, Citizen Schools, which focuses on creating apprenticeship after school programs in middle schools to help students identify what career path they want to pursue later on in life. I'm also an avid supporter of promoting the arts and arts education programs in K-12 schools throughout the country.

Additionally, I get the pleasure to take a free cruise to support my sister queens in the Teen and Miss divisions, who will go on to compete at the Universal Petite Pageant (the Ms. and Mrs. divisions do not have any further levels to compete at). Then I'll crown my successor at the 2016 USA Petite pageant in Florida in October.

NEW DANIA DENISE BUSINESS ENDEAVOR 

I think I'm too entrepreneurial for my own good. I'm always looking for ways to expand and reach others and after 2015, I think the timing is right to add another branch to my Dania Denise brand by making my mentoring, coaching and consultation services official with a new website.

I've always mentored, coached and consulted over the past few years but it was more a word of mouth type of thing. After coaching my protege, Jennifer Smith, to two pageant titles, taking on a new pageant student and helping many aspiring models embark upon their modeling journeys, I realized that I have the power to really connect with others and give them the opportunity to realize their dreams.

So I'm launching DaniaDee.com, which will be my new business venture of offering in-person mentoring, coaching and consultation services for not just modeling but acting and pageants. Please note, this is a paid service and while I'm not out to break anyone's bank account, I do require being compensated for my time, efforts and any travel involved. This is an opportunity for those who really want one-on-one assistance with whatever their career goals are in the fields of modeling, acting and pageantry. My online/email services will still be free so you can still email me your questions or leave questions in comments on my blog posts and I'll reply back so none of that will change.

The website is close to being finished and I'll make sure to make an official announcement once it's ready to go.

As you can see, 2015 has been a whirlwind and with 2016 already shaping up to be even better (acting work has picked up, including my first national commercial, set to shoot this week!), I can't wait to bring Modeling 101 back to life with even more information and insight for you all to enjoy!