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, May 16, 2017

How to Get Published in a Magazine as a Model

The wonderful thing about our technology driven world is it has completely changed the face of the modeling industry.

From modeling agencies to how clients find new faces, the industry has learned to grow and adapt to the times. This includes magazines.

Getting published in a magazine as a model is one of the most coveted goals, as it should be. In the past it was much more challenging to figure out how to get into a magazine, especially for female and male models not represented by an agency and/or didn't meet the physical requirements (aka "the height factor") to be considered for modeling jobs in the fashion category.

But that has now all changed thanks to technology and the Internet. There are more magazines out there than you can shake a stick at and that means even more opportunities to get published, both in hard copy and digitally. That being said, where do you begin your journey towards appearing in a magazine?

START SEARCHING

Facebook - If you do a search on Facebook for "Fashion Magazines," the search results will turn up a score of magazine titles/profiles. The first category that will come up in the search results is "Pages" for those magazines.

Visit each one and "Like" the page. The next step is to go through the FB page of each publication to learn more about them, what they represent, the type of photography/models they look for and what their website is to really dive into what they're all about.

Instagram - If you do a search on IG for "Fashion Magazines" or "Magazine," the profiles of various publications will also pop up for you to explore. Follow, comment and "Like" the posts of the publications you are interested in potentially appearing in.

Like FB Pages, on IG you want to see if they list their website link and visit that in addition to whatever activity you do on their Instagram profile. Because IG is visual, the magazine may not have a ton of info listed, such as how to submit your photos for publication, which is why locating the website is important.

FIND OUT WHAT THEY WANT

Do not--I repeat DO NOT--contact magazine publications and ask how to be a model for them! This is a big no-no. Why? Because they specifically put submission information/instructions/guidelines on their websites and social media pages that literally tell you how to submit.

If you've read enough of my blog posts, you already know that I'm going to say the following: good models follow directions.

It doesn't matter if you think you're going to be the next supermodel or even if you have tons of experience. Follow the rules like everyone else because magazines aren't going to chase anybody who isn't a bona fide celebrity status individual. They have plenty of people submitting to them so they're not going to go out of their way to hold your hand and explain to you what can easily be found on their site(s).

Being lazy or thinking everything will come to you is a surefire way to not get results.

The website will list in detail exactly what you need to give them, how they want the photos formatted, etc. If you don't follow it to a tee, your submission will be rejected.

PLAN IT OUT

The thing to know about magazines is that each issue has its own theme. It is very important that you pay attention to submission guidelines when it comes to what they're looking for. If one publication is planning on an issue focused on bridal fashion, you shouldn't send them photos that are haute couture, goth or some other theme. There's nothing they can do with those images so they won't be published anytime soon, if at all.

If you have a specific look you want to shoot and are committed to that, then look specifically for publications that are either actively looking for the theme you want to shoot for or that tend to be based soley on that theme (i.e. bridal magazines tend to focus only on bridal looks or variations of it).

Once you know what the publications are looking for, that will make it much easier to plan the next step, which is to...

PUT YOUR TEAM TOGETHER

The easiest way to get into a magazine is to have a photographer reach out to you with an offer to work together to get a submission to submit to a publication and go from there.

Don't have an offer on the table and are starting from square one? Then you'll want to start looking for the following people:

1) Photographer
2) Makeup Artist
3) Hair Stylist 
4) Wardrobe Stylist/Designer

Because magazines take themselves very seriously, you have to step up your game when it comes to the team you plan on working with for the submission. The odds of getting published will be high if you're working with professionals who have shot for magazines before or that do high quality work, which will be evident upon reviewing their portfolios.

This is where knowing how to network will come into play. If you have modeling experience already and have done a couple of shoots, you'll likely have a couple of people in mind to reach out to so do it. Let them know you want to submit to magazines, let them know which ones specifically and briefly tell them what you have in mind for the look/theme. Then go from there and make it happen.

Are you a complete newbie who doesn't have any kind of network established and aren't represented by an agency? Then you're going to need to step back just a bit and start doing test shoots with photographers in order to start gaining that on camera experience, build a solid portfolio and connect with people who will want to work with you on such a project since they've worked with you before. While not impossible, it will be harder to be taken seriously when you reach out to professionals if you have zero experience and no work to share for reference (duck-face selfies on IG do not count!).

What if you have an agency already? Well, chances are they're doing what they can behind the scenes to get you those opportunities. But it doesn't hurt to take things into your own hands and put together your own team to submit to publications if that's a goal you have. Your agent likely won't feel that you doing so is a threat to anything they're doing so let them know what you have planned and go for it. Chances are, they'll be cool with it and tell you to update them if you get chosen for publication.

PICK YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER WISELY

In most instances--not all--it is the photographer who will end up submitting the photos to the magazine. They're the ones who retouch the selected photos and will format everything according to the stated guidelines established by the publication. Having the photographer take care of that part of the process will be much less stressful for you as a model, especially if you're not tech savvy or good at that kind of thing.

As long as you're working with someone who is professional, does quality work, has a good reputation and has submitted to magazines (or had their work published), the fruit of your labors will be in good hands and will reach the powers that be at the publication with no issues.

NOW WHAT HAPPENS?

You wait. And wait. And wait. Hopefully, not for too long. Do NOT email/call or post on the magazine's profiles to ask if they got your submission, if they liked it, when will they make a decision, etc.

You did the hard work and now the harder part is seeing if they'll chose it for their upcoming issue. If it does get picked, believe me, you will be notified.

FOLLOW THE RULES ALL THE WAY THROUGH

Just as it's crucial to put the submission together according to what the magazine is looking for, it's just as important to follow through with what happens after the photos have been sent. I blogged previously about how vital it is to not share any photos from the shoot, including selfies and BTS flicks because if you do, magazines will consider it "published" and will automatically reject your submission.

If you're required to sign a contract or agreement of some type from the magazine if your submission gets chosen for publication, honor everything you're signing to--especially not posting images related to the shoot itself. It's okay to share that you'll be appearing in a magazine and what month the issue will come out but leave the visual aspect of photos out of it.

Keep a lid on things and be patient. The wait will be well worth the reward of then being able to share not only your selfies and BTS pictures but the actual images from the magazine itself.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Regardless of whether you have modeling experience or not, are repped by a modeling agent or not, if you want to be in a magazine, there are certain steps that need to be followed and if you do what you're supposed to, your submission will be on its way to hopefully getting selected for publication.

Because each magazine has its own set of guidelines for submission, I made sure to talk in more generalized terms for common situations. That's why you need to do your research and pick the magazine's you're interested in wisely.

FYI: magazines don't pay models to shoot for their publication. The tearsheets that you'll receive as a result are the compensation. Additionally, the team you work with to put together the submission will also be donating their time and expertise so don't get ahead of yourself and expect a photographer to pay you to be a part of the submission (there may be some cases where there is pay but not usually so don't expect it). 

Submitting to magazines are labors of love and everyone has to be on the same page in knowing that by investing their time and efforts, they are working towards an end result everyone will be proud of and benefit from greatly.

And while I'm on the subject, support the publication by purchasing a hard copy of the magazine. You may get a free copy or free digital version to download and that's great for use in an online portfolio for digital tearsheets but don't demand that the magazine gives you a free hard copy (or several) if it isn't offered as part of the deal. 

Encourage friends and family to buy the hard copies, too, if they want to show support. A magazine can only thrive if it has the money to keep things running. Put your money where your mouth is and contribute to the folks responsible for giving you the opportunity to be published. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Child Modeling: The Sometimes Harsh Reality

I believe in not beating around the bush and while you could consider me Paula Abdul on American Idol when it comes to giving reality checks with a smile, the fact of the matter is that the modeling industry as a whole can be harsh.

Of course, you probably already knew that but it is important to really understand that getting into modeling eventually puts you in the belly of the beast. And it doesn't matter if you're young or old. In the case of child models and their parents, grasping the reality of the competitive nature that comes with this territory is essential to building the thick skin needed to get through and keep your eyes on the prize.

So I wanted to do this post to address the parents of child models--namely, newbies. I have to do these reality checks from time to time as a form of tough love. Oftentimes, it isn't just models who have stars in their eyes.

Parents want their kids to succeed in life, and if modeling is one of those goals, what I'm going to say has to be said and if you take it personal or take offense, that's not my intention but believe me, it'll be better coming from me and will ease the blow in case you don't get the results you're expecting entering your child into the modeling biz:

Your Kid May Be Cute But...There's a LOT of Cute Kids Out There

There. I said it. Are you mad? Well, if you are, you better get over it because the modeling industry isn't going to care about your feelings...much.

If you thought modeling as a teen or adult was hard, the competition is even tougher for child models. The industry contains no shortage of amazingly cute, adorable, precious, striking and (*using a Zoolander voice*) really, really, really ridiculously good looking children of all ages, sizes and ethnicities.

Does that mean your kid couldn't stand out? If he/she has what it takes and is seen by an agency as the "total package," your child will certainly stand out but it's vital to know going in that your son/daughter will be one of many cute faces in the beginning of your modeling journey.

Teach Your Child Confidence--Not Ego

Nothing is worse than a child model who KNOWS they are perfect and can do no wrong because that's what their parents grew up telling them. There is a difference between being confident and being arrogant.

Young children are so impressionable and as they grow and develop, it is important for parents to instill a sense of confidence in themselves but also the humility it takes to know that while they are special, they may not always get what they want. What is valuable to teach them is that as long as they are the best version of themselves, that is what matters most.

Egos breed brats (sorry but it has to be said) and you don't want to be the parent of "that kid" who is throwing temper tantrums or has a meltdown at a casting or job if things don't go their way. You also don't want to be that parent who has to deal with hours of pep talks and trying to drag your kid out of bed and on to the next casting every single time they don't book a job.

There will be rejection and hurt feelings (that's normal, especially for children) BUT if you explain to your son/daughter how and why these things happen as they relate to being in the industry, they will develop a sense of confidence and the thick skin needed to continue being amazing and perform well in their castings regardless of whether or not they end up getting the gig.

Rejection is a Part of All Child Models' Careers, Too

Placing your child on a pedestal will only set them up for a painful landing and a sore bottom the first time they get rejected from a modeling assignment. I've said it before but modeling is one of those rare career choices where rejection is a part of the job description.

No child model (or grown up model, for that matter) books every single job they submit to. Make sure your son/daughter knows that even if they do their best, there is a chance that they may not get chosen and that it is okay because there will be other opportunities.

Serving as a positive support system and giving tips about what could be improved on (if there were some mistakes made)--instead of a lecture critiquing everything--will help your child recover from each rejection and be better prepared for the next casting they attend.

When your child is able to grasp that they will get some jobs and not others, over time they will come to know that it is just a part of the territory and not a reflection of their talents or who they are as a person. That's where growth happens and child models truly become comfortable in their own skin if this is truly the path meant for them to continue to pursue.

Every Parent Wants the Same Thing You Want for Your Child

The competition is fierce and it won't change. When you and your child show up to castings, you'll be one of many. It'll be chaos and you might be wondering how your kid will possibly stand out. Welcome to the modeling world! The more castings you attend, this type of environment will become the norm.

Even if your child makes it to the next round and the pool of models gets smaller, the level of competition will still be high. Remember that each parent there wants the same thing you do: for their child to get the job.

Don't be discouraged by the volume of competition out there. It is common and to be expected. Keep your confidence in your child high, their spirits up and they'll perform to the best of their ability each time. It's a numbers game so know that just because you're one of many people present, you have to attend as many castings as you can to increase the odds that your son/daughter has the opportunity to shine in front of clients and snag those handful of gigs that will keep their career on an upward trajectory.

No One Owes You an Explanation, So Don't Expect One

Time is money and agencies and clients alike don't have the time, budget or resources to address every single person that has a question, concern or complaint. If your child doesn't get chosen for a job, the casting director/client won't take the time to explain why or what your child could do differently.

Remember, the modeling industry isn't like other industries. It's a unique beast all its own and it plays by its own rules. If you want to stay in the game, you have to play by their rules, too. Sometimes you may get lucky and receive insight from somebody who is able to share a few kernels of wisdom with you but it is a business and as you go through the motions, you'll gain that "on the job" training and knowledge naturally and won't require as much hand holding.

If you plan to make a stink or tell off somebody because they won't give you answers or a breakdown of why your child didn't get the job (or some other fairly trivial issue that really isn't that big of a deal in the greater scheme of things), you'll quickly get a bad reputation for being difficult and no one will want to work with you. Don't do that to your child so take things in stride and keep it moving.

Agencies Have Other Models, Too

Getting agency representation for your child is a huge step in the right direction but just know that because you've got an agent doesn't mean it'll be easy street from that point on. They'll do the legwork and tell you where to be and when, as well as guide you, but they aren't your personal agent who will cater to your every need and whim.

Agencies will do what they can to get your child opportunities but there will be slow moments and dry spells. Totally normal and to be expected. When the work starts to pour in, it's great but there are moments when nothing may come through the pipeline for weeks.

It's good to keep open communication with your agent from time to time to check in and see where things are at but don't bombard their phone line or inbox. Don't make demands or criticize them for not doing their job. They are doing their job for your child and all the other people on their roster.

A modeling agency works with you, not for you so respect that partnership and make inquiries where appropriate. Being considerate of the things they have to be in charge of and letting them do what they do best will foster a good working relationship moving forward. If they're worth their salt as an agency, they'll keep you in the loop to the best of their ability.

Are You Still Reading This?

If you've made it to this part of the post and are still optimistic enough to move forward with getting your child into the industry, congratulations--you've already started to build that thick skin you're going to need to get the ball rolling!

Press on and with common sense, time and experience, you and your child will be able to navigate the modeling world and hopefully create a memorable and unique life experience for your son/daughter with opportunities not everyone is fortunate enough to see to fruition.

BTW: the advice/insight I've written about are for the most commonplace situations for parents trying to get their child into modeling. 

Of course there are exceptions to the rule and extreme circumstances where these things wouldn't apply but those odds are fairly low so please understand that the information in this post is to be applied to "typical" scenarios.


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Branding & Modeling Pt VI: Dos & Don'ts

I had originally put the title of this blog post as, "Branding & Modeling Pt VI: Common Sense + Tips" but decided to change the second half to "Dos & Don'ts" simply because I felt it would be easier to organize the tips I want to share and make it easier for my readers to reference...so here we go!

This is the last entry in this latest mini blog post series related to the concept of "Branding" when it comes to the modeling industry.

Chances are I'll continue to do new posts in the future related to the subject but hopefully this collection has helped some of you get a better understanding of why Branding continues to be so important, even for models.

If you've read the previous 5 posts, the dos and don'ts listed below will make much more sense to you so I encourage that you go back and read those in order first before diving right into this post if you haven't done so already.

***FYI: I'll be adding updated Dos & Don'ts to this list as they come up so don't consider this the set in stone version***

DO: Post Regularly

1-2 times a month isn't gonna cut it. Period. Think of yourself as a commodity (for lack of a better metaphor). People will always want you if they see you around. When you go away for too long, people will wonder and then quickly forget. Start off with one post every other day if you have a schedule that doesn't allow for more frequency.

DON'T: Over Do It With the Posting

Sounds contradictory to what I just wrote above, right? As the post before this one discussed in detail, think about quality of the content you put out. Don't feel pressured to post 5-10 times a day.

DO: Focus on Quality Over Quantity

You want each post to get as many likes and interactions as possible. A few likes for each post (regardless of how many you put out daily) isn't as impressive as hundreds of likes on selectively engaging and cool content published to your profiles. Plus, if you post so many times throughout the day on a daily basis you will find yourself running out of relevant content sooner than later.

DON'T: Forget to Return the Favor

Engage with your followers and people who interact with your posts across the social media platforms you're on. Like their comments, respond back with a quick, "Thank you" and let folks know you see them and appreciate that they're out there supporting you. Reply to messages and follow back, comment and like other people's stuff. It's a two-way street so make an effort.

DO: Take Advantage of Reposting Apps

Anytime someone posts a project, event or other occasion that involves you and your modeling career, repost it. There's nothing wrong with creating your own post about that same thing (as you should be doing) but reposting gives you that additional content to share with your followers.

Reposting apps not only do the work for you, it allows you to automatically give credit and exposure to the original poster, including their captions and hashtags (keeping the person's original captions and hashtags is optional when using reposting apps but I encourage including it, especially if the OP has a lot of shoutouts to people to give credit, including people you may not know or were aware of).

DON'T: Forget to Include Videos

A picture's worth a thousand words but adding video to your social media is a wonderfully effective way of engaging people with your brand and the activities happening in your modeling career in real-time. Keep it short and sweet and stay professional (no cursing or bad behavior). Keep it on target and related to your modeling and your followers will love you for it.

DO: Use Hashtags (Wisely!)

Love 'em or hate 'em, hashtags are the gateway to being found on various social media sites. If you want to be taken seriously as a model and promote your brand, you'll need to learn to love hashtags. Doing a post on Instagram or Twitter and not putting at least 1-2 hashtags will get you lost in the mix. Never post a picture without a caption, either. Always have some kind of text accompany your posts. Don't make people have to figure it out, even if it seems obvious. At the same time, don't go too crazy with listing hashtags (although it may happen from time to time). Hashtag with care.

DON'T: Forget to Give Credit Where Credit is Due

Models don't do it all by themselves. Anytime you're posting about projects, behind-the-scenes, gigs, whatever, take the time to properly credit the people involved (makeup artist, photographer, publication, etc, etc.). If you don't know their social media handle, ask them, or use a hashtag instead. Put a link to their website or profile.

Some form of acknowledgement of the team that helps make your post possible should be a priority. If it's just you posting a selfie for fun, then obviously this doesn't apply but for posts related specifically to the happenings in your modeling career, you need to give credit where credit is due. This alone goes a long way in professional courtesy and showing others that you value the time and efforts of those who helped make that experience a reality for you to share with the world.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Branding & Modeling Pt V: Quality & Content Creation

Notice the title of this latest post in the mini blog series is "Quality & Content Creation"? That's because even though it's important to post often and keep creating content, it's also vital to think about what you're posting and what you're trying to communicate to followers.
Because this mini blog post series is focused on branding and modeling, it only makes sense that I’ll be talking about creating quality content related to…yep, you guessed it: modeling! But what does that mean?

PROFESSIONAL IMAGES

Photo of one of the magazines I had an editorial feature in.
Digital tearsheet of one of the romance novel covers I've been on.


What better way to promote your brand as a model than by sharing the fruit of your labors? Posting images from your latest shoots, tearsheets of published work and other pictures related to your career are the best way to show people, including potential clients, what you’ve done and what you can do.
There’s no better proof of your success than these kinds of images, and sharing them on your social media sites and official website makes it very clear to anyone who is just learning about you for the first time who you are, what you do and what you’re about.

BTS IMAGES

BTS shot of me doing a bridal/beauty shoot in-studio.
BTS shot of me getting my makeup done during a bridal show.

Behind the scenes images are always popular because it gives people an insider look as to what goes on in things they don’t have access to. Who doesn’t want to know what happens during modeling shoots, shows and other related happenings?

Posting BTS photos in the makeup chair, shopping for wardrobe, posing with other models, candid shots of you in studio or on location is a wonderful way to let people into your world. Modeling in general is still considered mysterious by many so any insight you give them will be appreciated.

CAREER UPDATES/HIGHLIGHTS

A short snippet of my own Twitter feed, where I like to do quick updates about what's going on in my career.

Your brand can be enforced and better understood if your images are also paired with descriptive captions/text that explains to people what you are up to, what’s coming up and other projects that may be in the works.

Excited about a casting or go-see coming up in the next few days? Post about it. Booked a modeling assignment? Definitely post about it! Tired after a long shoot and just want to take a nap? Tell people about it.

Those brief and fun play-by-plays showcase your personality and the things that are important to you. In addition to the other info described above, it paints a better overall picture of you as a person and that makes it easier for followers of your brand to understand what matters to you, as well as attract new followers to your profiles who can identify with various aspects of your life and personality.

SHOUTOUTS TO OTHERS

This was a collage I posted as a shoutout, where I thanked the photographer, makeup artist and the model I was mentoring. I made sure to include each person's social media handle and tagged them as well so it popped up in their feeds

Networking plays a large part in a person’s ability to get opportunities and line up future gigs. This can’t happen without the help of others. I like to say that people work with the model, not for the model.

That being said, it’s a good practice to give shoutouts to recognize and give credit to the people you work with by mentioning them on your social media profiles (and/or reposting content they’ve posted of you). Links to their professional sites and including other relevant info is also ideal for not just spreading the love and hopefully getting them future work but to show others the kind of company you surround yourself with.

When you do shoutouts, you not only put those folks on the radar of your followers, it works the other way as well. A company or individual that is connected to someone you shoutout could easily reach out to you now based on the shoutout they’ll undoubtedly see on that person’s profile. Plus, it helps when you’re booked on a project that has mutual friends/colleagues on it. You may even get booked with the same people you’ve worked with before and that’s always fun.

SILLY, MISC THINGS

Fun candid of me and my girls during the 2016 USA Petite Pageant in Florida.
I'm terrible about snacking before, during and after photo shoots.

There’s totally nothing wrong with being candid and breaking away from the professional model mode to show a silly and playful side. Whether it’s work related or during your free time, it can be refreshing for followers to be reminded that you are a real person, too.

Both photos and video of you having a great time with friends and family can also strengthen a brand if you choose to share that part of your life with others (and depending on the audience you are trying to reach). Of course it is your choice to make. Not including things about friends and family won’t hurt your brand and there are many people who value their privacy in that respect by keeping those types of content on a separate profile.

Should you choose to include it, have fun but still be aware that you are posting on a profile that is associated with your brand. Presentation is important!

More about those dos and don’ts and tips in the final installment of this mini blog post series. Homestretch!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Branding & Modeling Pt IV: Consistency is Key

People are always in search of the next new thing. Updated content and info is what many online users crave.

The fact that smartphones have grown to become as attached to us as a body part makes it that much more crucial to stay on top of your efforts to enforce your brand.

The best way to go about this? By posting and posting often. But remember, there’s also quality of the content you’re putting out into the universe.

Let’s tackle the “posting and posting often” part first. This is one area where people who are really serious and dedicated to realizing their goals for modeling separate them from the people who want the results but aren’t willing to put forth the work it takes to get there.

Unless you’ve got money at your disposal to hire a social media manager and PR team or have a modeling agency getting you castings and bookings fairly often, chances are you’re going to be solely responsible for whatever end results get generated. And you’re going to have to hustle constantly.

To make yourself visible to followers and potential clients, you’ll want to post at least once a day at a minimum. For those of you that do this anyway, implementing such a practice will be like second nature. But if you aren’t a huge fan of technology and social media or just don’t like the idea of having to post so often, you’re going to need to come out of your comfort zone to truly have a shot at making your brand recognizable enough to create opportunities for yourself over time.

Can’t commit to posting at least one thing every day? Then start off slow with 2-3 times a week if you don’t include weekends (although you should). That basically breaks down to every other day. Even the busiest person could manage this.

One trick I’ve turned to in order to make my life easier when it comes to posting content is to set it up so that when I post on one social media site, it automatically posts to my other sites at the same time.

I have an Android and basically what I do is post on Instagram, which automatically posts to my Dania Denise FB Page and to Twitter. I have my Twitter set up so that it automatically posts to my regular Facebook profile.

Because all my friends and family know about my entertainment career and are very supportive of my projects, I have no problem posting that content to my regular profile but for my FB Page I stick to only posts dealing with my modeling/acting career (I always send people to my FB Page and not my regular profile when networking).

I also have a FB Pages Manager app on my phone that I use when I want to post straight to my FB Page. Sometimes I have quick status updates not involving an image that are best for my page and not Instagram. I also post separately to my LinkedIn profile.

When I’m tagged or featured in someone else’s social media post, I use a repost app that simply copies the image and caption so all I need to do is copy and paste the content wherever I want to share it to. I don’t have to retype the caption or try to remember the hashtags and it includes the social media handle for the person who did the original post. Sometimes I’ll even use this shortcut for my own posts and I love that anyone who isn’t already following me can easily look up my info because the repost app displays it.

Remember, when you take a break and don’t post for a while, people lose interest and it doesn’t take much for them to find other things to capture their attention. I’ve even lost subscribers of this blog because I allowed entirely too much time to pass in between writing posts. So even I’m not immune to the consequences, which I’m finally in a position to correct and try to get those people back, as well as attract new subscribers/readers.

While technology has made branding more convenient in terms of setup and execution, the constant demand for new content from the world does make the process of staying fresh in people’s minds exhausting.

With time, practice and the new knowledge gained through creating, promoting and enforcing your brand, it is possible to find a balance but it takes time, patience and dedication. Not to mention the trials, tribulations and mistakes that will be made along the way.

Not sure how to craft your posts to work with your brand and attract people online? Well, that’s what we’ll dive into for Part 5!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Branding & Modeling Pt III: Know the Basics

You've got a name and you know what you want to do with your modeling career. You've got the ball rolling on this whole "branding" thing.

Now what?

In Part 2 of this mini blog series, I briefly mentioned applying your brand name across your social media platforms.

Unless you hate technology or have been living under a rock somewhere, chances are you have a few or all of the most current social media profiles. But there is method to the madness and it involves a bit more strategy than just posting a bunch of selfies randomly.

First off, let's talk about specific social media sites. There's so many out there but I'm only going to touch on the basic ones to start you out, especially if you're diving into all this for the first time:

Twitter: it's short and sweet and easy to update followers with on a regular basis with little effort.

Instagram: it's a visual-based site, which makes it perfect for models to showcase their day-to-day happenings.

Facebook Page: notice I said "Page." Again, it's about branding and you'll want to have a page that is dedicated to your modeling career that isn't distracted by non-modeling related friends and family events.

Snapchat: it's quirky, it's fun and even though posts are only on there for a short time, it's a very candid way of letting people into your world in a unique way.

LinkedIn: it's a more formal business networking site but if you plan on pursuing modeling seriously, having a profile set up on this platform is great for adding yet another way for people to find you online and can serve as an additional resource for networking, as well as linking visitors back to your other social media sites/profiles.

Modeling Website: it's easier than ever these days to have a website up and running without any need for learning how to do programming or graphic design. Your website should be your home base for establishing everything that has to do with your modeling career.

Why are all these sites essential for branding? The only way for people to know who you are is to have exposure that allows you to be found easily. There is so much on the internet that not putting forth the right content in the right places will park you in the abyss of search engines on page 10 or 20 or farther (when have you ever gone past the 2nd page of an online search result?).

When you have profiles set up across the board on the most popular platforms it increases your chances of popping up on someone's radar. Having an online presence on these sites is also effective for attracting visitors regardless of which sites they use and have a profile on.

Because these are a lot of sites to keep track of, organization is going to be key. It's important to set up a routine of sorts for what days and time frames you'll plan on posting.

So where do you even begin with creating content, posting and organizing such a schedule of branding domination? You'll have to stick around for Part 4!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Branding & Modeling Pt II: Where Do You Start?

“What's in a name? That which we call a rose / by any other name would smell as sweet.”

One of the many famous quotes from Shakespeares's play, "Romeo & Juliet" is not only beautifully poetic, it also relates to the subject of this second installment in my mini blog series about branding as it relates to modeling.

When trying to figure out where to start, deciding what name you'll use for your modeling career is a great jumping off point. The name you choose as a model to brand yourself with is important but not to the point where you should over analyze.

Each person will have his/her own reasons for the name they choose to brand themselves with. In my case, I use "Dania Denise." "Denise" is my middle name. I own and operate several businesses that are unrelated to the entertainment field and don't want to "cross-brand" or overlap so I use my legal last name for those businesses and my middle name in association with my modeling, acting, pageantry and so on.

Some models want to keep their real name completely anonymous when it comes to their modeling career and will choose a totally made up name or something similar to their legal name.

Others get a bit more "theatrical" with their names by using some kind of title (i.e. Queen Jasmine or Model Jasmine--I totally made that up for the purpose of having an example, btw) or they try to have the supermodel effect by just using one name.

Modeling agencies have even been known to change a model's name that they've signed to the roster to make it more appealing to potential clients and for marketing purposes. So the concept of coming up with a name for a model to use isn't uncommon.

There really isn't a magical formula for what your branded name should be. If you want to just keep it as your legal first and last name, go for it. If you want to be more unique and create a name/persona for your branding, have at it.

The main thing to keep in mind is that whatever name you go with, you better love it because it will tie directly into your brand as a model. One of the biggest things that makes branding work effectively is consistency. Even the biggest company brands had trouble when the decision was made to change their name. Remember Kinko's? It became FedEx Office years ago but I can't tell you how many times I--and many others--still say, "I need to go to Kinko's."

That doesn't mean you have to live with your model name forever and can't change it because you can but it will save you a lot of grief in the long run if you at least choose a name that you know you'll stick with for a while.

Having a catchy or memorable model name to brand yourself with is helpful but doesn't always mean it will guarantee you success in your career. Make sure it speaks to who you are and what you want to represent as a model, that it is memorable and can be easily applied to your website, social media profiles, comp cards, business cards, etc. And remember to use it consistently across the board in all your projects, marketing materials and when promoting yourself.

Don't forget to do your due diligence and find out if anyone else is using the name you want. If so, the easier path would be to choose something else or a different variation of that name. If the person who already has your top pick is already established and/or has been using it for a while, it really won't do much good to share the name. Even if the person isn't a model, the last thing you want is for people to get pointed to the wrong person. Confusion can lead to disinterest and a potential loss for an opportunity or networking connection.

Once you've got your model name set, you can quickly start applying it, which is the best part so get those creative juices flowing and see what name (if you aren't going to use your legal name) would be the best fit.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Branding & Modeling Part I: What Is It?

An article from the site Entrepreneur.com defines the word "Branding" as follows:

The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products.

It goes on further to break down this concept:

Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from that of your competitors. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.

I agree 100% with the statement/definition above. Of course we normally think of branding when it comes to actual companies and products but you may be surprised to know that this concept also applies to modeling.

How so?

The definition of branding doesn't apply literally in all aspects when it comes to modeling. For example, you don't have to create a logo for yourself as a model. You can and it'd probably be pretty cool but it's not mandatory.

However, the philosophy behind the idea of branding definitely goes hand-in-hand in the sense that as a model you want people to recognize your name, who you are, what you represent and what potential clients can expect from working with you.

In essence: by dealing with you, what are they going to get? Will they like the end results? Will they come back? Will they recommend you to others in their network?

Many models build their brand using their names and is the easiest way to do so. How would we even know who the most famous models were if it weren't for their names? The Kate Mosses, Giseles, Tyras, Naomi Campbells, etc, etc...these are models that have created empires for themselves based on their name recognition as it relates to their modeling careers.

Think about it: even people who hate the modeling world or those who don't keep up with it in any way, shape or form would recognize the women above as models just because of the prevalence of their names over the years.

The good news is you don't have to be a supermodel to be a brand. Once you decide you want to become a professional model you'll want to start critically thinking about how you want to approach things, what you want to do, the goals you want to set, what you stand for, etc.

Speaking for myself, I use my name heavily in relation to my brand. When you think of "Dania Denise," what do you automatically think of? Most people would automatically say: model, blogger, actor, coach, pageant winner or entrepreneur. That's pretty accurate in terms of what I do and, while basic, it gets the point across. You don't have to guess what any of those things actually are, hence, making it clear what I do within the entertainment industry and making it easier to match me up with potential clients.

Just like a traditional business uses branding, models need to make sure they understand what type of experience they are providing to those that want to work with them. I would hope you aim to be branded as a model who is professional, reliable, easy to work with, diverse, etc.

When people work with you and those branding ideals are displayed, they'll know you stand by your brand identity/reputation. That is what will keep them coming back and motivate positive word of mouth among the industry.

I pride myself on the fact that I have a good reputation within my respective networking circles. Nothing makes me happier than knowing when I reach out to people about projects, they're more than happy to jump on board because they know (based on my branding and consistency with results) that anything my name is on or associated with means they're going to be treated well, professionally, their time will be respected and we'll produce the highest quality end results that will benefit everyone. And THAT is what drives my branding to continue to be at its best at all times.

If you set your branding to high standards and can uphold them, you'll attract like-minded clients, networking contacts and quality opportunities. Do the opposite and you'll also get the flip side of those results.

There is more to branding in modeling than one post can cover, which is why I'll be breaking this up into a mini series of blog posts to tackle specific areas in more detail and hopefully provide a blueprint of sorts for how you can create your own brand successfully and effectively.

Stay tuned for Part 2!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Wardrobe Tips for Male Commercial/Print Models

 If you haven't already, I would recommend reading my blog post about Commercial/Print modeling (Understanding Commercial/Print Modeling) in order to better understand/apply the info in the following post.

Commercial/print is a category all its own--and with good reason. Often misunderstood, this type of modeling is one of the most popular and in demand because it targets the largest demographic out there: the every day consumer.

Those interested in getting into this category of modeling may have some new territory to conquer since commercial/print isn't like fashion and runway.

Because print models are not representing a designer's collection (like fashion/runway/editorial) that means they're not going to be wearing some else's clothes to showcase.

Print models are all about representing the average consumer and that means dressing casually or for a certain occasion. There are wardrobe stylists that may be onset with supplemental wardrobe and in those instances a print model could end up wearing an outfit they don't own but it is completely common for clients to require commercial/print models to bring their own wardrobe.

The best way I can describe wardrobe when it comes to commercial/print modeling is to think about the "roles" you may be hired to portray for a modeling job.

If you need to expand your wardrobe needs to better suit this category of modeling or aren't sure where to begin or what you should have in your closet, below are some of the most common "roles" male print models represent:


MALE STUDENT (HIGH SCHOOL/COLLEGE)


The Look: casual and comfy
Examples for Tops:  t-shirts, collared button up shirts, sweaters
Examples for Bottoms: jeans, shorts
Examples for Shoes: sneakers, sandals
Examples for Accessories: watches, caps


MALE SHOPPER/CONSUMER 
(can also be applied to "Parent/Father" depending on the age range portrayed)



The Look: stylish/dressy casual
Examples for Tops: sweaters, collared shirts, button up dress shirt
Examples for Bottoms: jeans, slacks, shorts, khakis
Examples for Shoes: sneakers, dress shoes, boots, sandals, loafers
Examples for Accessories: watches, wedding band (if portraying husband)

CASUAL/LOUNGING AT HOME






The Look: super comfy/casual
Examples for Tops: sweaters, tank tops, t-shirts
Examples for Bottoms: jeans, shorts, boxers, sweatpants
Examples for Shoes: socks, sandals, loafers, barefoot
Examples for Accessories: watches, wedding band (if portraying husband)

BUSINESSMAN



The Look: corporate, business casual
Examples: full-on suit, blazer and dress shirt, slacks, jacket, peacoat
Examples for Shoes: dress shoes
Examples for Accessories: watches, tie

UPSCALE/FORMAL MAN



The Look: sophisticated, high end
Examples: suit, slacks and dress shirt, tuxedo
Examples for Shoes: dress shoes
Examples for Accessories: tie, watch, cuff links

FITNESS/GYM MAN



The Look: sporty
Examples: tank tops, t-shirts, jerseys, shorts, sweatpants, sweatshirts
Examples for Shoes: sneakers
Examples for Accessories: watches, ear buds, armband for smartphone

THE OUTDOORSY MAN



The Look: campy, casual, ready to participate in outdoor activities
Examples: tank tops, t-shirts, shorts, jeans, shorts, khakis, vests, jackets/windbreakers, sweaters
Examples for Shoes: sneakers, hiking boots
Examples for Accessories: watches, ear buds, beanie, cap

Monday, January 2, 2017

Wardrobe Tips for Female Commercial/Print Models

If you haven't already, I would recommend reading my blog post about Commercial/Print modeling (Understanding Commercial/Print Modeling) in order to better understand/apply the info in the following post.

Commercial/print is a category all its own--and with good reason. Often misunderstood, this type of modeling is one of the most popular and in demand because it targets the largest demographic out there: the every day consumer.

Those interested in getting into this category of modeling may have some new territory to conquer since commercial/print isn't like fashion and runway. Because print models are not representing a designer's collection (like fashion/runway/editorial) that means they're not going to be wearing some else's clothes to showcase.

Print models are all about representing the average consumer and that means dressing casually or for a certain occasion. There are wardrobe stylists that may be onset with supplemental wardrobe and in those instances a print model could end up wearing an outfit they don't own but it is completely common for clients to require commercial/print models to bring their own wardrobe.

The best way I can describe wardrobe when it comes to commercial/print modeling is to think about the "roles" you may be hired to portray for a modeling job.

If you need to expand your wardrobe needs to better suit this category of modeling or aren't sure where to begin or what you should have in your closet, below are some of the most common "roles" female print models represent: 

FEMALE STUDENT (HIGH SCHOOL/COLLEGE)


The Look: casual and comfy
Examples for Tops: tank tops, t-shirts, cute blouses, sweaters
Examples for Bottoms: jeans, shorts, skirts
Examples for Shoes: sneakers, flats, sandals
Examples for Accessories: earrings, necklaces, watches


FEMALE SHOPPER/CONSUMER 
(can also be applied to "Parent/Mother" depending on the age range portrayed)



The Look: stylish/dressy casual
Examples for Tops: blouses, cardigans, camisoles, sweaters, sundress
Examples for Bottoms: jeans, skirts, leggings
Examples for Shoes: heels, boots, flats, sandals
Examples for Accessories: earrings, necklaces, watches, bracelets

CASUAL/LOUNGING AT HOME



The Look: super comfy/casual
Examples for Tops: sweaters, tank tops, t-shirts, cardigans
Examples for Bottoms: jeans, shorts, sweatpants, leggings
Examples for Shoes: socks, barefoot, house slippers
Examples for Accessories: watches, wedding band (if portraying wife)

BUSINESSWOMAN



The Look: corporate, business casual
Examples: pants suit, skirt suit, blouse paired with skirt or slacks, dress (not a sundress or casual dress)
Examples for Shoes: heels, boots, pumps, flats
Examples for Accessories: earrings, necklaces, watches, bracelets

UPSCALE WOMAN
(sometimes also known as "Smart Casual" or "Upscale Casual")


The Look: sophisticated, high end
Examples: blouses paired with skirts or slacks, cocktail dresses, modern dress styles
Examples for Shoes: heels, sandals, booties
Examples for Accessories: earrings, necklaces, bracelets

FITNESS/GYM/YOGA WOMAN



The Look: sporty
Examples: leggings, shorts, sports bras, tank tops
Examples for Shoes: sneakers
Examples for Accessories: watches, ear buds, armband for smartphone

THE OUTDOORSY WOMAN






The Look: campy, casual, ready to participate in outdoor activities
Examples: tank tops, t-shirts, shorts, jeans, vests, jackets/windbreakers
Examples for Shoes: sneakers, hiking boots
Examples for Accessories: watches, ear buds, small accessories (earrings), beanie, cap