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There is more to the modeling world than the media lets on. If you want to find out what it really takes and how to manage your modeling career, then you've come to the right place! This blog is dedicated to the aspiring and already established models who live to defy the standards and stereotypes in order to make a place for themselves in this crazy industry.

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Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Quick Tip #64

Category: Etiquette
For: Male & Female Models (Freelance & Agency Repped)

Being told by an agency that they'll contact you in a few days is great but plan for the possibility that they might not get back to you when they said they would.

"A few days" is very broad and could mean 1-2 days or it could be a week. Of course it isn't easy being the person waiting for the response. Before you hit the panic button and blow up their phone or email inbox, take a moment to observe standard business etiquette for when to follow up.

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to this but I recommend giving an agency between 2-3 "business days" BEFORE reaching out to follow up. A "business day" is defined as being between Monday - Friday...not weekends.

That means if you received an email on a Friday with the promise of reaching back out in a few days, you should reach out for a follow up as early as Tuesday, NOT Monday. Agencies operate strictly Mondays thru Fridays and typically will not do emails on a weekend IF you are not already a represented model. Did you get that promise at an open call on a Wednesday? You can send a follow up as early as Friday or that following Monday (Monday would be "Day 3" in business speak...get it?).

Agencies are busy, especially if they're good, and even though you'll be crazy excited waiting to hear from them, you have to maintain your calm and give them the opportunity to get back to you when it works for their schedule.

Of course you don't want to wait too long to follow up or you could risk falling off their radar. Until an agency offers you a contract to sign, nothing is a guarantee--even if they seemed to really love you. The longest you should wait to follow up is 5 business days.

What should you do if you sent a follow up email or phone call and STILL don't hear back? The bad news is that you'll need to let it go for now. Try sending another follow up a week later and see where that goes. Still nothing? Then consider it a bust for now.

Sending a bunch of follow up emails and calls won't help your case and could make the agency change their mind about signing you simply because they feel you're being too pushy (or annoying). It doesn't make sense, trust me, but this is a business and you have to take on the territory that comes with it, even if it ends up not working out in your favor.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Pros & Cons of Open Calls

Open calls are often the direct path towards speeding up a model's search for agency representation. However, as with many things in life, they aren't perfect and there are pros and cons to attending one of these events.

Let's dive right in and see exactly what open calls are all about and whether it would be in your best interest to add one (or a few!) to your calendar.

WHAT IS AN OPEN CALL?

I did a post about this quite some time ago explaining all the details about an agency open call (click here to check it out) but in a nutshell, an "open call" is specific to modeling and talent agencies. It is a designated day and time frame where anyone is allowed to come into the agency's office to be evaluated. Open calls are free of charge and no appointment is required.


PRO

Open calls get you in front of an agency in-person. Nothing is worse than submitting an online application or email with your photos and stats to agencies and waiting weeks to hear back--or never hear back from them at all.

The beauty of open calls is the opportunity to skip the waiting and meet with a modeling agency's staff face-to-face. It's much easier to make a great first impression and showcase your personality during an open call. With emailed and online submissions, all the agencies see are photos and info, which can make it tough to stand out among the rest.

CON

Not all agencies have open calls. The only way to know which agencies have these events and which don't, is to visit their websites. It will state clearly somewhere on there if they have open calls or not. For those that don't, do NOT drop by the office unannounced. Usually that is also stated on the website to discourage people from swinging by without an appointment.

Do NOT call to ask if they have open calls or inquire why they don't (if you check the website first for this information you'll have no need to call them to ask anyway). It's okay if an agency doesn't have open calls--it just means you'll have to submit via online or email, according to what options are listed on the website.

PRO

They're free! Legitimate and reputable modeling agencies do not charge people to attend an open call. There are no hidden fees or weird stuff when it comes to that. You show up, you get seen, you leave. That's it.

CON

They're only on specific days and time frames. Open calls are NOT a Monday thru Friday thing where you can come in anytime during 9-5 business hours. Again, refer to the agency's website to find out what days of the week and what times they have open calls.

Sometimes they're only offered 1-2 times a month. Others might do them one day every week or every other week. Most open calls range between 1-2 hours. This is to maintain crowd control and make it easier to evaluate people efficiently. If you show up on the wrong day and/or outside of the stated time frame, they won't see you.

PRO

You don't need professional photos. Similar to submitting to agencies in other ways, having a polished portfolio and professional images isn't mandatory or required when going to an open call. Agencies almost always prefer non-professional, digital snapshots to see what you naturally look like and how well you photograph without filters and retouching.

Make sure you submit the right kind of snapshots. Agency websites often post examples for how your snapshots should look so be sure to mimic them whenever possible.

CON

A lot of times open calls are only for fashion/runway models. There are many agencies who only offer open calls to fashion/runway height models (male and female). This means no commercial/print/lifestyle, baby/kids or actors. If this is stated on an agency's website, you have to respect it and submit another way.

Showing up to try and prove a point or make them try to see you (if you are not fashion height) won't turn out well so don't chance it and follow the guidelines like everyone else.

PRO

You get to experience the agency's atmosphere. Nothing is more exciting than stepping into an agency's office. You get to see all the hustle and bustle, the comings and goings and the people involved with running the business. You can't get that with an online or email submission.

Each agency is different and if you plan on attending several open calls with various agencies, it will give you insight as to how each one operates and the kind of "energy/vibe" its staff and other models give off.

There might be an agency you always thought was so amazing but upon attending the open call, you may find yourself turned off by snobby staff or an environment where people don't seem to want to be there. Think of it as a sneak peek into what you would be dealing with, if offered a contract for representation.

CON

It isn't a guarantee you'll be signed on the spot. Going to the open call is one thing. The decision for an agency to offer you representation is another beast entirely. The best outcome is to find out right then and there that they want to sign you. A more common outcome is that they'll let you know in a few days what their decision is. Another common outcome: they thank you for coming in (that's the polite way of saying, "No, thanks.").

Even if an agency tells you at the open call that they'll be in touch, there's a chance that they might not get back to you right away or at all. This could be for a number of reasons but if you were told that they would reach out and they haven't (give them at least 2-3 business days), follow up with an email or phone call to inquire. Remind them of your name, the date you attended the open call and that you wanted to see what your status is. See where it goes from there.

PRO

If you can't make one open call, there's always another date. Because open calls are held on a somewhat regular basis, you can plan ahead which date you want to attend. In a worst case scenario, if you find yourself running late or just can't make it, don't stress because you can simply plan to go to the next one.

Btw: only attend one open call per agency! Do not go to an agency's open call every time they are held, hoping to change their mind if they've passed on you the first time. The ONLY time you can go to an open call for an agency you've already been to is if you've allowed for a significant amount of time to pass (i.e. 3-6 months).

CON

They only see people within the listed time frame. If an open call goes from 1-2pm and you get there after 2pm, guess what? They won't see you. If you're in a long line of models waiting to be seen at an open call, they'll only see the models up until the end of the listed time frame--so even if there are still people waiting in line, the agency will tell everyone else to come to the next one. So it pays to be early to an open call to get ahead of the pack.

PRO

You get to meet other model hopefuls. Although not all the people attending the open call will be as chatty (some may be rude about it), chances are you'll meet other aspiring models like yourself to make small talk with while you wait. There will be models with experience but overall, you'll be exposed to a range of men and women with the same goals as you. While that might seem intimidating, it's always nice to meet new people and possibly make a new friend who is as in love with the industry as you are.

CON

You might not actually be "seen" by the agency staff. What?! Before you freak out, let me explain. There are some agencies who conduct their open calls by bringing in models one at a time into a room with the agency staff (or maybe even in pairs or small groups, it's all up to each agency's preference). This is where you get to answer basic questions and they can learn a bit more about you and also evaluate your runway walk (if you're going for fashion/runway).

However, there are other agencies who simply ask for your snapshots or portfolio (for models with experience) and then leave you in the waiting area while they take your materials to a different room to go over with their team. If they like what they see, they'll come back to get you and bring you into the room to talk further.

If they aren't interested, they'll come back out, hand your materials to you and thank you for your time. That's it. All you can do is thank them and leave. It sucks but sometimes it plays out that way.

THE BOTTOM LINE

There are certainly more pros and cons I can think of but for now these are the biggest ones. Over time I will add to the list as they come up. In general, think of the open call as your shot to show your personality and enthusiasm for pursuing modeling and why you'd be the ideal addition to an agency's roster.

Plan properly when it comes to deciding which open calls to go to and always read any guidelines or instructions for attending open calls as they are listed on each agency's website. Remember: not all agencies operate their open calls the same way.

At the end of the day, if you follow the rules, show up early and have the proper materials prepared, you'll have increased your chances of getting agency representation. While it isn't a guarantee, it is definitely a step in the right direction and could yield better results compared to only submitting online so start searching for those open calls and get your calendar ready.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The Latest on Dania Denise 2019


Hello, my beloved blog readers.

I know I typically do this kind of an update post around the end of the year to catch you up on what I've been doing, as well as preview what's on my plate for the upcoming year.

As you already know, I've been posting very inconsistently for some time now and while I was hoping to do at least one post a month at a minimum, I haven't kept to that promise. I truly appreciate those of you who haven't abandoned Modeling 101 - A Model's Diary and continue to subscribe and read/re-read past posts while waiting for new content.

I'm doing this particular post because I feel I owe it to you...not because I feel obligated but because I genuinely love my blog and I love my readers and you deserve the best because that's what you've always given to me. 2019 has been a rocky one for me personally and it started around the month of March when I last posted.

I'm sharing this side of myself because I feel it is important to showcase that no matter the obstacles, my passions (i.e. modeling, acting, hosting, pageants, coaching, emailing you guys, etc.) have always been what's kept me charging forward in addition to my amazing support system.

I lost my father recently to pancreatic cancer. It was unexpected and while he had been ill for a few months off and on, there were no immediate symptoms that it was anything cancer-related. One day he would be in bed sick as a dog and the next day he'd be up and about. But once his health started to decline more--we chalked it up to his age and the fact that he didn't lead a healthy lifestyle at all because he was a stubborn old goat and a long time smoker--I took on the role of being his caregiver: helping him get dressed, organizing his meds and making sure he took them, feeding him, assisting him with getting around the house, etc. Eventually, he took a turn for the worst and I rushed him to the ER.

He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on a Friday and he passed early that following Saturday morning. To say my world was turned upside down is an understatement. As with many father/daughter relationships, we were extremely close, despite the ups and downs that come with the growing pains of becoming an adult and the new territory that brings for dads watching their daughters go out into the world. But I loved him through it all.

I disappeared for a while from everything and everyone, especially social media. My friends and family understood and I was thankful for the space. I've suffered from depression and anxiety most of my life but I've managed to deal with it through the amazing guidance of my therapist and my passions mentioned earlier in this post. But this is, by far, the biggest trauma I've faced and I've let myself go through all the emotions--many of which I'm still experiencing and I imagine will continue to experience for the rest of my life.

However, the world doesn't put itself on pause because of tragedy so I've been slowly but surely allowing myself to join the rest of the world these past few weeks. I haven't been in the best place mentally or emotionally but there have been good things happening for me in other aspects of my life despite the circumstances, plus the love and support I've received, and that's helped me manage the bad days and become even more grateful/appreciative for the good days.

In recent weeks, I've randomly received some of the most touching and wonderful comments on my blog posts, as well as emails from you guys and it instantly reminded me of my purpose. I've often been referred to as a "role model" and while the title is extremely flattering, I don't always feel comfortable embracing it. The last thing I want is praise for something that I feel everyone should be doing: inspiring, encouraging and providing the means and opportunities for others to reach their goals and live their best lives.

Since losing my dad, the connection I feel with my blog readers, those I mentor/coach and even people I interact with on a regular basis has so much more meaning for me. I am not ashamed to admit that I go to therapy, that I struggle with depression, anxiety and now the grief and trauma that comes with losing someone you loved very much. I know I am not the only person to ever experience these things and life won't be cookie-cutter perfect moving forward.

I'm sharing this personal side with you, my blog readers, because just as you've let me inspire, encourage and motivate you as it relates to modeling, I hope this post will further positively impact those of you going through similar experiences and help you feel less alone and isolated. If this resonates with even one person, that's when I'll really feel like a true "role model."

I've always said nothing is perfect, unless it's in Photoshop and that goes for real life as well as being a model in the industry. I'm not asking for sympathy or pep talks about how time will heal things and all the kind words that come with losing someone...I simply want to let those of you who can relate to anything I've written know that everything you're feeling is natural. And it really is going to be okay but only if you let it be so when you're ready to move forward.

Strive to find happiness and identify what makes you smile.

Take a risk and--more importantly--take a chance on yourself because that's when we feel the most alive, regardless of the outcome.

Never be afraid to ask for help and don't fear being judged.

The people left standing with you when the dust settles are the ones you have to keep close to your heart and in your life. Always.

Let yourself have a bad day because it isn't normal or healthy to always feel like you have to be okay 24/7.

Don't rely/depend on anyone or anything to bring you joy. At the end of the day, that's your responsibility.

Anyone who brings negativity, judgement and toxicity into your life can go kick rocks. Big rocks.

Push through the dark and claw your way through everything until you see the light at the end that will bring you the joy you know you deserve, the goals you know you're capable of achieving and the kind of life you can look back on years from now and be proud of.

While you've gotten to know me through my career in the industry, many of you have shared some of the most personal moments in your lives with me and I felt it was time to reciprocate and do the same.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Modeling Tips to Keep Your Makeup Artist Happy

Makeup is an art and as a model you want to put your best face forward when it comes to shoots for your portfolio, fashion shows and booked assignments.

If you've never worked with a professional makeup artist before or if you have but are still learning the ropes of the industry in general, it doesn't hurt to know some helpful tips to keep every makeup artist you work with happy and showcase you as the professional you are.

BOOKED GIGS

When you've been hired for a job, either through your agent or on your own via freelance modeling, and there is a makeup artist onset, it is a dream come true. That means less work on your end but there are still important things to keep in mind to ensure each experience with a makeup artist is a positive one.

Arrive With a Freshly Cleaned & Moisturized Face--That Means No Makeup!

I know this sounds like common sense but you'd be surprised by the stories I've heard from makeup artists who have worked with models that showed up without washing their face. That's the definition of gross.

So let's keep it simple: when you wake up the day of your shoot, wash your face and moisturize...that's it!

Don't apply concealer or your base/foundation. Fresh-faced is key because it gives the makeup artist a clean (no pun intended) canvas to work with.

There might be some instances where you may be required to arrive with your base/foundation on. This is normal and happens sometimes for a variety of reasons (saves time so the makeup artist doesn't have to figure out what shade to match, helps the makeup artist if she/he has several models to do, etc.).

Just because you're asked to arrive with your base/foundation doesn't mean the makeup artist doesn't know what he/she is doing or that the client that booked you isn't professional.

If you are instructed to come with your base/foundation on, don't do your eye makeup, put lip color or blush. Literally, just put your foundation on and set it with powder (if applicable) and that's it.

But if fresh-faced and no makeup is requested, then do that. Oh, and don't freak out if the makeup artist ends up removing your moisturizer and applying their own. That's normal, too. Arriving with a moisturized face is better than assuming they'll have their own and showing up with dry, flaky skin.

Bring Your Own Foundation Color (Optional)

It doesn't hurt to bring your own makeup items with you, including your foundation. Politely mention to the makeup artist that you have your foundation if they wish to use it. Make it an option--don't demand it, it's not that serious. If they use it, great, if not, no worries.

Follow Instructions & Stay Still

It's common for the makeup artist to instruct you while applying makeup (i.e. look up, look down, chin up, chin down). Don't question them, just do it. Simple. Oh, and common sense again, please hold still when your makeup is getting applied. Just sayin'.

Are you a frequent blinker? Do your eyes tear up easily? Tell the makeup artist beforehand so he/she knows what to expect. Chances are they've seen and dealt with it all before so they'll know how to proceed accordingly if you prep them with the basics.

Another important factor to mention is your skin type: dry, oily, combination, normal, acne prone? Don't know your skin type? That's something you definitely want to find out since you'll be exposing your complexion to a variety of elements when it comes to modeling.

First Time Wearing False Lashes? Spoiler Alert: It's Gonna Be Weird

The first time false lashes get applied, it's a new life experience, let me tell ya. Expect it to be weird and as if there is a weight sitting on your eyelids. Don't freak out--blink slowly a couple of times until you get used to the weight. After the first time, it does get easier.

FREELANCE GIGS

Are you working with a makeup artist for your own shoot that isn't through a booked gig? Then you'll more than likely be working directly with the makeup artist to create the final look(s) for your shoot.

The tips mentioned above should all still come into play but for this situation, it is also important to do the necessary steps prior to the gig itself.

Communication is vital so make sure you have sent the makeup artist reference images and/or mood boards with inspo photos so he/she knows exactly what you have in mind and can start coming up with ideas for you. While not mandatory, it doesn't hurt to include reference photos with models that have the same complexion/skin tone as you.

Doing multiple looks? Work with the makeup artist so that you shoot in the right order that makes the most sense when it comes to switching up the makeup. For example, will each change require the makeup artist to completely take off your makeup or is it as simple as wiping off a lip color and putting on a new one or building eye color on top of the existing look?

These are logistical things that should be worked out before the actual shoot to save time and avoid feeling rushed in the process.

As long as you work with your makeup artist ahead of time, the odds of any hiccups happening will decrease dramatically.

MALE MODELS

In most cases--not all--male models simply have to come to gigs with their faces washed and moisturized. Do you have your own foundation and other makeup items? You can certainly bring them but chances are, the makeup artist will have everything ready and will know exactly what to do.

Oh, and get used to tweezing. It's uncomfortable but that's the model life, baby!

DON'T TELL THEM HOW TO DO THEIR JOB

Unless it's obvious that the makeup artist working on your face has no clue what he/she is doing, you can trust that your face is in capable hands. The worst way to destroy the working relationship with your makeup artist is by being a know-it-all or micromanaging what he/she is doing and/or being critical about the final results.

If you're unhappy with the makeup for any reason, it is still important to be professional in giving feedback. Instead of complaining about how the eye liner looks and pouting like a child, ask the makeup artist if it's possible to tweak/fix it. Whatever feedback you have or if you request a change, be specific so the makeup artist will know what to do. This doesn't mean be condescending and treat them like they're dumb. The goal is to get on the same page so use your words wisely and they'll be more than happy to accommodate.

Now if you're being hired by a client, you need to keep things in perspective because, unlike a freelance opportunity where you hired the makeup artist, the playing field is different when you're on the client's time.

Are you unhappy with the makeup but the client is happy with it? Then guess what: you better suck it up and deliver the results they hired you for. The makeup artist was hired to do a job and so were you. It's not the end of the world. Vent about it after the gig, not on social media! #poorsport #careersuicide).

Keep respect at the forefront of all communications and treat makeup artists professionally (if they're the one acting unprofessional, that's an entirely different thing but for the purpose of this post, let's assume they're acting like they're supposed to).

Remember: makeup artists are a crucial part of the modeling career life cycle team and they work with you, not for you.

Monday, March 18, 2019

I'm a Model, Why Is My Agent Submitting Me to Acting Work?

Just when you thought you had agencies figured out, right? :-)

I've often received emails from confused models freshly signed to an agency, with questions as to why they are being sent to auditions for commercials and other acting projects.

Models are just supposed to model, right? Well, not really. At least, not these days.

There are a LOT of models out there. Actors for sure, too, but when it comes to modeling in particular, it goes without saying that there are way more female and male models than there are gigs. This creates an imbalance and for agencies to maximize their ability to make money and give their talent a fighting chance, that means requiring some cross over action.

In the industry today, it is now standard for talent agencies to send models on their roster to auditions for acting jobs. If you have an interest in acting and have expressed that to your agent, then this won't be a surprise but there are many instances where a model who just wants to model and has never even uttered the word "acting" to their agent, will find themselves going to an audition.

So what should you do if you are a model who simply wants to model and has no interest being in front of a camera saying lines?

Talk To Your Agent

Remember, your agent is working to reflect not only their best interest but also yours. Sending you to acting gigs/auditions isn't just a way for them to maximize you as a talent on their roster, it's an opportunity to expand your professional experience in the entertainment field. The more gigs you book, the more networking there is and potential for future projects of various kinds. Not to mention, it's also more money for the agency and yourself.

However, if you know in your heart that acting isn't a good fit and not something you want to pursue, it's okay to talk to your agent about it. Communication is the key factor in making the agent/model relationship work so don't feel as if you need to be silent and suffer through audition after audition.

At the very least, hear what your agent has to say and try to see things from their perspective. Compromise if at all possible (maybe only get sent to a handful of auditions for acting throughout the year instead). What you want to avoid is being difficult and demanding.

Give It a Shot

No one is saying you have to be forced into acting and turn to that field instead of modeling. As a model/actor myself, I know of the benefits that come with having experience on-camera in the acting-sense. Public speaking, knowing how to memorize and deliver lines and the other factors that come with this territory all play into being a stronger professional.

Although modeling and acting are two separate fields, there are things that overlap and having familiarity with both sides will put you ahead of the competition out there.

If your agent contacts you about attending an audition for the first time, don't outright say no. Go to the audition and do your best. It isn't about making you look silly or setting you up for failure. Agencies know what they're doing and they want you to get exposed to what it's like to audition for an acting job, whether you book it or not. They may even be testing you to see how good you are (or aren't) at doing something outside of your comfort zone.

Don't knock it till you've tried it and in this case, transitioning to actor mode for an audition or booked acting gig isn't going to kill you. How many cosmetics and clothing commercials have you seen with top models in them? If you get chosen as the face for a major campaign, you'll be required to do projects that involve acting of some kind so follow in the footsteps of your favorite models and embrace the challenge of trying something new.

Stay With the Times

Understand that everything changes and evolves over time. That includes the modeling industry and the entertainment industry as a whole. Agencies know this and in order for them to stay on top and in business, they're looking for men and women who are good at what they do but also know how to add to their arsenal of experience and skill sets.

A lot of people want the same thing you do when it comes to breaking into the industry and getting agency representation. Who do you think an agent is going to be more attracted to: a model who just wants to model and will not even consider tackling something acting related or a model who loves modeling but is also okay with getting submitting to an acting job every now and then?

The choice for the agency will be easy. Be flexible, be professional and show them that you're the right--and best--choice every time.