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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.
Thursday, July 20, 2017
I would hope that you've read enough of my blog posts by now to see that there is, indeed, life after 25 for models.
I've done several posts in regards to the concept of modeling at virtually any age but I did want to do this particular post to remind you "mature" models out there that when it comes to submitting yourself to agencies that have your division, you shouldn't compare yourself to your younger counterparts.
It's helpful to think of "mature modeling" as a sub-category of commercial/print and lifestyle modeling. You're not modeling designer clothes on the runway or necessarily doing editorial spreads. Like traditional print models, you'll be representing the every day consumer but for your age group. People your age shop for all kinds of products from a number of reputable brands and it is those clients who need your lovely face to represent their products, company or concept.
Many modeling agencies have divisions specifically for mature models, while others tend to just consider them traditional commercial/print models. When it comes to submitting yourself to agencies for potential representation, it is important to remember that you aren't expected to look in your snapshots the same way a 16-year-old aspiring runway model would.
That being said, keep the following tips in mind when it comes time to start sending out your photos and info to the agencies on your list:
LOOK FOR AGENCIES WITH MATURE MODELING DIVISIONS
A basic online search for "mature modeling agencies" or "mature modeling" will turn up many results. The ones you want to focus on first are the actual agency websites. Some may specialize in only mature models, while others may be regular agencies that also have mature modeling as one of their divisions.
Don't get misled by blog posts and other sites that seem to only have the keywords/phrase "mature model/modeling" in the text. Stick to the legitimate results like the agency websites first. Articles that talk about the subject of mature modeling are also worth checking out, not just for informative purposes but oftentimes they'll list one or more names of agencies that deal with mature models, which can help add to your list of potential places to submit to.
CHECK OUT THE COMPETITION
I always find it helpful to go on agency websites and see the roster of models they currently represent. Check out the commercial/print section or the mature modeling section (if they have their own division) and see who is on there.
Look at the quality of the headshots, how the models are posed, their hairstyles, wardrobe, etc. It will give you a good idea of what that particular agency is looking for, as well as what to expect when you do test shoots or the types of work you could potentially book, should you be offered a contract.
Find mature models that have a similar "look" as you and see how many there are. Some agencies won't sign on new models if they already have a lot that are similar in appearance. Don't see anyone that quite matches your stats? That could mean they'd have room for someone with your look or it might not be in demand at that time. The only way to find out is to submit!
READ SUBMISSION GUIDELINES CAREFULLY
I will confess that one of the pet peeves I have with many agency websites is that their submission guidelines are basically written for young models. Even though they may represent mature models, it boggles my mind how many don't have a separate set of guidelines for other divisions. Some do but a good number don't.
So first thing's first: check out the agency's website and make your way to the part of the site that talks about how to send your info. Read any listed info from top to bottom. If there is any part that specifically discusses what to send for models in your age group/division (or for print models), follow it to a tee. Send only what they specifically ask for. No more, no less.
Don't see anything in regards to non-fashion/runway model submissions? Then do your submission according to what is listed on the site but tailor it for your age, which leads us to the next tip...
PREP THOSE SNAPSHOTS ACCORDINGLY
If you are in your 30s, 40s, 50s or even 60s, agencies aren't going to expect you to do the standard two-piece swimsuit snapshots for women or the shirtless shots for the men. Once the agency staff realize you're a mature model, everything will make sense so don't worry about that.
Ladies: Wear fitted clothing in solid colors (no logos, graphics or busy patterns). It can be a short-sleeve shirt or even a tank top, with fitted jeans or shorts. They don't have to be skinny jeans but they shouldn't be baggy. Or if you have a nice casual dress you like that shows off your figure in a flattering way, wear that.
For the full length body shot, you can be barefoot or if you choose to wear heels, keep it simple--they don't have to be stilettos. The key is to not wear anything that would take away the focus from your face.
If you can pull off the no-makeup look, rock it. If you're a bit anxious about that idea, keep any makeup you apply super light, such as concealer for any blemishes. Resist the temptation to wear lipstick and no fake lashes or heavy mascara (if you have light colored lashes that disappear otherwise, wear a very light coat of mascara that makes your eyelashes look natural and not overly dramatic).
Keep your hair out of your face. Long haired gals can wear a low ponytail or if you choose to wear it down, brush it behind your shoulders or keep it behind one shoulder.
Men: Simple, solid colored t-shirts or collared polo shirts are ideal (no logos, graphics or busy patterns), paired with nice jeans or khakis. You can get away with being barefoot if you choose to wear shorts but if you're wearing pants, casual shoes will likely be best. Most men can pull off the no-makeup look (color me jealous!), so chances are you won't have much to worry about as with your female counterparts.
You don't need to be a beefcake and super buff but your physique in general should be healthy and height/weight proportionate. Keep any facial hair well groomed and properly trimmed.
DON'T TOUCH THAT HAIR DYE!
If you've got the salt and pepper hair going, stick with it, especially if that's how you normally wear your hair.
There are older models who have yet to see any gray or who have made it a long time practice of dying their hair and if you fall under that category, don't do anything different. Don't have any gray hair to speak of? That's cool, it's not a mandatory requirement to be a mature model. It's mainly your age and how well you've kept yourself up, appearance-wise.
The good thing about pursuing the mature modeling path is that you're supposed to reflect your age group in the best of ways and that includes your hair color. So before reaching for that DIY kit or making an appointment at the salon, remember that the snapshots you submit should look like YOU on a daily basis.
Don't feel like you have to go to the extremes to alter your appearance unnecessarily. That's no fun and these days, youngins are dying their hair silver and gray and white so clearly you're doing something right if the millennials are trying to sport your look!
Runway and fashion models are known for the sexy pout and dead face stare but mature models typically are all about smiles and genuine expressions because that is the nature of the majority of the modeling work they'll be booked for. So don't be afraid to show off those pearly whites in your snapshots!
If the agency guidelines ask for snapshots with a smile and without a smile then follow that they say but if they don't go into details about exactly the types of shots they're looking for, play it up with a warm and friendly smile.
DON'T GET SCAMMED
Unfortunately, there are some people out there looking to make a quick buck by mislead aspiring mature models with offers that are just too good to be true.
Be wary of agencies that are only "online" and don't have a physical location. That's not to say online agencies are all scams BUT you dramatically decrease the odds of any shady happenings by considering agencies that have a brick and mortar location, as well as those that have been in the business for a while.
Any basic research will usually help you determine if a particular agency is worth checking out further. Keep in mind that if you get invited to an interview or open call, you are under no obligation to say yes to anything or to sign anything you don't want to. High pressure sales tactics are always red flags, as is the promise of representation if you pay X amount of dollars upfront.
You have the right to politely decline and walk away at all times--always remember that and do not sign anything you haven't read several times over or don't completely understand.
THE BOTTOM LINE: BE YOU
Models come in all shapes, sizes, races and ages. Mature models have a place in the modeling industry that is all their own and doesn't require trying to turn back the hands of time. That's why there's no need to get Botox, plastic surgery or completely transform yourself for this category of modeling.
Like traditional commercial/print, you're simply expected to be your fabulous self so stick with it, own your age and see if modeling can be another great chapter to add to your life. With the right agency and research, it is possible.
Wednesday, July 5, 2017
One of the many reasons why it's so difficult to be truly successful in this industry is the fact that there are tons of female and male models that want the exact same jobs and there are certainly more candidates than there are openings for.
However, it is possible to use the spirit of competition to your advantage, especially if you're a freelance model looking for a way to boost your career, portfolio and resume.
Representing yourself comes with its own territory, as well as pros and cons. One of the downsides is not having a modeling agency submitting you to castings and projects on your behalf. Coming across opportunities isn't always easy and oftentimes requires the use of several networking and casting sites, not to mention the countless online modeling groups one can join to get the latest scoop on local projects seeking models.
One way many models--myself and my colleagues included--have gone about finding new avenues to pursue is to look at what the competition is doing. I'm not talking about the Victoria's Secret models and the supermodels--that's an entirely different level, not to mention that you'd need the backing of a top agency to get those gigs. I'm not talking about them.
What I'm referencing is a bit more attainable. Thanks to social media--namely, Instagram--there are more models out there than you can shake a stick at. Some more successful than others, with many becoming what we all know now as "influencers." If you're stuck as to what modeling opportunities are ripe for the taking, it's a good idea to start by looking up the social media profiles of these types of models.
STALK THEM ONLINE (PROFESSIONALLY, THAT IS!)
Research the models that are doing the types of work you want to do yourself. That means runway, editorial, swimwear, fitness, glamour, etc, etc.
Chances are you already follow and/or are a fan of a number of models so that would be a good place to start (again, I'm not talking about the supermodels).
Follow their careers and take note of the types of jobs they're booking. 99% of the time they'll list the name of the client/publication/designer/photographer they are working with, as well as that person's social media handle and info.
So what are you supposed to do with this knowledge once you've seen it mentioned on the profiles of models you follow? Start making contact with those people.
The best way to put this into practice is when it comes to publications they've appeared in, as well as runway shows and even photoshoots. Let's tackle these one at a time:
I've already done blog posts about getting published as a model in a magazine (click HERE and HERE to check them out) and I've mentioned that there are countless publications out there today. That means even more chances to become a published model and get some digital and hard copy tearsheets to strengthen your portfolio and resume.
Once you find out what magazines the modeling competition you're researching has appeared in, visit the websites and profiles of those magazines to see what the guidelines are for getting published. Magazines are very good at posting what themes/looks they're in need of for future issues. After you've acquired that info, start putting together your team to get a submission going.
Diligently focus on getting submissions out to various publications and you will start racking up published credits that will benefit all those involved and bring new modeling jobs your way.
Happen to come across a cool shot on IG of a model you like who is pictured strutting down a runway? Check out the caption and find out the name of the designer, fashion show, photographer, production company, etc. Any or all of these folks may be mentioned in the caption accompanying the photo.
If there's a website listed, even better. The key is to start becoming a detective and checking out who these individuals and companies are. Do you really like the designer's work that is displayed in the images posted by the model? Then reach out to the designer and introduce yourself. Inquire as to what future shows he/she plans on showing at and when casting calls will be held for new models and express your interest in attending.
It's rare that the designer wouldn't be mentioned in a caption/description but if you can't locate that info for whatever reason, see who else is mentioned or credited in the model's post and see if they can get you to the right person.
It really is 6 degrees of separation so all it usually takes is reaching out to one person to get directed to the individual or company you're seeking out.
Aside from publications and runway shows, models do tons of photoshoots. While professionally stalking certain successful models, take note of which photographers they've worked with. Again, the beauty of social media is that everyone automatically gives credit/mentions of the people involved in each project by listing their social media handle, website and other contact info.
Are you dying to work with a photographer that another model has shot with? Similar to what I described above for connecting with designers, use the same approach for photographers.
BASIC TIPS FOR ALL OF THE ABOVE
1. When contacting the key people you want to get in touch with (magazine publication, designer, photographer), practice common courtesy and "Like" their social media pages, send them a friend request (if they allow them) and Follow them online.
2. Keep your introduction brief. When emailing and direct messaging, don't send a novel. Think about how you can briefly tell the recipient of your message who you are, what you do, what you're interested in and why you want to work with them.
Don't forget to include your best contact info. Sending attachments (for email) should only be done if you have a professional headshot or comp card to pass along. Stick to 1 attachment and do not send huge files.
3. Don't stalk them for real! When I say "stalk professionally," I mean do your research to learn more about the person/company before you contact them. Do not call after business hours or send multiple messages to their inboxes. That's a surefire way to get yourself blocked or reported.
4. Hair stylists, makeup artists and wardrobe stylists all count as people you can also professionally stalk to find out how to work with them. So be on the lookout for those mentions when looking at what other model's are posting from their career highlights.
5. I wouldn't necessarily recommend contacting the model him/herself to get info about how you can work with the people they've worked with.
Not all professional models are as accessible or open as myself when it comes to being asked questions about our career moves. Some may not reply back at all, while others might have a bit of an attitude about it. Others could be totally great and allow you to pick their brain. But your results will be much more effective if you stick to contacting the professionals that you want to network with to build that working relationship.
6. It's okay to be a copycat. Just because one model is published in a particular magazine doesn't mean no one else can ever be published after him/her. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten work or at least developed a rapport with clients solely because I found out about them from another model's profile.
I've spoken to other professional models and they do the same thing. It's a common practice and you're not "copying" anybody. You're simply getting leads from the competition as to what modeling opportunities you could submit yourself for. Besides, if you do get chosen to work with those same individuals/companies, it's not like you'd be doing the exact same look, shoot, show or concept.
Your project will be totally different from the model you got the inspiration from and at the end of the day, it all counts towards growing your career, your networking pool and the doors that could open as a result of your affiliation with those projects.
Who says you can't embrace the competition? ;-)