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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Friday, May 20, 2011

The Benefits of Creating a Modeling Persona

Okay, some of you are probably going to read this post and think, "Dania, what is wrong with you? That is just crazy talk!" LOL...but hear me out. There is always method to my madness. Many posts back, I talked about how models are very much like actors in the sense that they are required to get into character when playing a certain role in a photoshoot or even in a fashion show.

I've found that one of the best ways to really bring out the best in your modeling abilities is to adopt a model "persona," or alter ego, if you will. I actually got inspired to do this myself after reading an interview Beyonce did a while back. She talked about her alter ego "Sasha Fierce," which is a character she assumes each time she does a performance. That got me to thinking...I basically transform into someone else every time I step in front of a camera so why not do the same thing?

Whether you're a complete newbie, have some experience or are already established in your modeling career, it doesn't hurt to develop your own modeling persona. As silly as it may seem at first, embracing this alter ego can do wonders for your performance when doing a gig, hence creating strong images. When you really believe in your character, it will show in the photos.

Come up with a name for your model persona and create characteristics of his/her personality that only come to life when you call upon it during modeling. There is no right or wrong way to do this. The great thing about this concept is that you can customize it however you want. If you think it rocks, go for it!

My modeling persona is named Lola Fox (snicker and giggle if you want, I think it's HOT haha). I chose Lola as the first name because I absolutely love the song "Whatever Lola Wants" by Sarah Vaughan. The lyrics are totally what I want to embody when I do a shoot: "Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets..." Lola is the woman all men want and all women want to be. She knows she's fierce and isn't afraid to show it. When I become Lola in front of the camera, it's all about me--I'm the top model and the resulting images from the shoot will be the proof to show why that is.

As far as the last name of Fox, I added that on thanks to one of the designers I worked with previously. I had networked with the designer at an event and was invited to a casting for his next editorial campaign. When I walked in, he greeted me with, "Hey, Fox." And it just kinda stuck. Fox as a nickname for a woman is totally about sex appeal so I added it. And that, ladies and gentleman, is how Lola Fox was born. :-)

I think the most important thing to realize about a model persona is to not buy into your own hype. Remember, this is an alter ego, which means it is a part of you but it shouldn't define you. Am I really a diva that thinks every man wants me and every woman wants to be me? Heck no! I leave Lola Fox behind when the shoot or fashion show is over.

In real life I am the biggest self-proclaimed nerd around and am very humble (in this industry, competing against some of the most beautiful women I have ever seen definitely keeps me in my place haha). Lola Fox comes out when I need her to and as much as I love her, I don't want her around 24/7--I mean, who walks around in sexy black dresses and other fashionable outfits, seducing people all the time and projecting this air of self-importance to anyone that's around? It's truly a role that's only meant to be played and not brought into real life.

Remember, photoshoots are about creating images taken during a staged moment in time. The final pictures represent a world we would want to be a part of--we're selling a product, idea, brand, designer or concept--not reality. This is the home of the modeling persona. Learn to keep it there.

Your model persona, if you choose to adopt one, should be a reflection of that person you always wished you could be but maybe never had the guts to follow through on. If you're shy and worried about what others will think of you while you're posing or doing a show, what better way to eliminate those unnecessary thoughts than by pretending to be someone else for a bit? Chances are, you'll be less likely to care what others think because you're giving them a different version of you.

I hope I'm making sense but once you put your modeling persona into practice, the results will be much more apparent. Step outside of yourself and see what alter ego you come up with...you may just surprise yourself. ;-)


Cass said...

so i am interested in trying to become a runway or fit model in ny. I know a person that works in the fashion industry in ny so she could help me get in.
but my question is
am i what they look for?
i am 15 (16 in 2 months :D)
i am 5'7 or 5'8 (not sure)
i weigh 103 lbs
i wear a size 00 or 0 in most clothes
any advice would be lovely cause i really am inspired and admire you!

Dania Denise said...

Hi, Cass! You'll find the answer to your question in its own post, titled "Answering a Reader Question #143." Thanks for reading!

Jo said...

Hi Dania- what a fantastic read! I am a newbie (just started going on open calls in LA) and believe that creating a persona is so important in the modeling industry and in life. I see it as a protective armour. In my case I am extremely intuitive which triggers my sensitivity. Anytime I feel my confidence slip I think of the woman I want to be (and will be in time!), and persevere.