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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Saturday, December 24, 2011

"Special Skills: How They Help in Modeling"

This blog post was inspired by Kat's question, which is below:

Hi Dania, can you do a post on special skills. I noticed on some agency websites they list skills that the models' can do independent of modeling. For instance some of them are singers, actors, dancers, musicians, etc can you list the importance of having a special skill in relation to the entertainment industry. I personally play the flute, I'm a mediocre singer I'm def. not American idol status(nor do I want to be... I won't be making cd's or holding concerts any time soon) but I've been told I can hold a descent tune. In addition I'm always looking of creative ways to improve my acting and my modeling. In regards to acting I'm taking classes at my local junior college. I guess I really want your opinion on the ability to have or create another skill that can be used in the industry besides acting and modeling:) 

Having special skills that fall outside of modeling are extremely beneficial to male and female models of all ages. As I'm sure you'll recall me always saying, modeling is a business and being able to make yourself as marketable as possible is music to any agency's ears. What makes having special skills so significant is the fact that it increases the various types of modeling assignments your agency can book you for. More bookings means more money.

If you've ever filled out an electronic form on an agency's website, they almost always have a section that deals with special skills, where they'll either have a list of options for you to check off or type in manually in the designated field. Examples of such skills include but are not limited to:
  • Dancing (Tap/Jazz/Contemporary)
  • Singing
  • Gymnastics
  • Sports
  • Musical Instrument
Some of the skills can be as basic as that or as off the wall as wanting to know if you can juggle or roller skate. The talents/skills don't have to be specific to athletic abilities or performance, either--people that can draw, paint or individuals with strong writing skills can also list these as a special skill.

So what does this have to do with being a good model? You may remember a blog post I did about Sports & Fitness modeling, where I talked about how clients oftentimes want to hire models that have real-world experience doing certain physical activities to sell not just their look but make the poses and gestures more authentic.

The same goes for other special skills. Models with backgrounds in dance and/or acting are especially sought after. Dancers typically have great physiques, tend to be naturally graceful (which makes for some amazing and dynamic poses) and can get hired for gigs that call for this skill set. Acting skills are appreciated by agencies and clients because many times models have to assume "roles" in their photoshoots and having the natural ability to play a character helps to produce great poses, genuine facial expressions and interactions if they are shooting with other models.

Additionally, having talents outside of modeling makes it more likely for a person to "cross-over" into other forms of media/entertainment, which means being able to command a larger audience and more exposure. These are all good things for anybody hoping to be successful in more than just modeling.

People that possess special skills also typically tend to be outgoing, social, perform well in front of others and are anything but shy. Any model that has the ability to learn, master and perform a particular skill (or more than one) is someone that more than likely an agency can depend on to do well and not worry about being self-conscious or insecure.

However, aspiring and established models that don't have any such special skills don't necessarily have to feel pressured to go out and start taking tap classes or enroll in ballet. If you decide to create or learn a special skill, make sure it's one that interests you and that you are passionate about.

The majority of people that have special skills don't do so because they "need to" but because they "want to." Don't feel like you have to acquire a bunch of special skills, either. It's all about the quality and not the quantity. A model that knows 6 different skills is impressive but if she can only do 2 or 3 of them very well, the overall impression loses its luster.

In the instance that you're faced with a questionnaire that asks you to check off your "level" of expertise in a particular skills/activity, be honest. There's a huge difference between being "Excellent" or "Professional" at something and being "Average" or a "Beginner." If the skill/activity in question is one you've never done before, the obvious answer is to keep that field blank or check "N/A" if that option is there.

Models with natural talents and abilities are always a natural sell for agencies and clients and if you fall into this category, consider yourself a very valuable asset.

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