The 411 on Modeling Agency Interviews
If you read my post, "The Difference Between Casting Calls & Agency Interviews," then you already know what makes the interview a whole 'nother ballgame.
Interviews are more important than casting calls because this is a special one-on-one between a model and the agency that is arranged by appointment. Before I go into further detail, it is important to point out that any questions about what to wear and bring should be directed to whoever contacted you from the agency to set up the interview.
Sometimes models will receive an email with basic instructions on how to prepare and what to expect, while others may simply state the day, time and address of the interview in the email.
If you are given instructions on what to bring and wear, then follow that. If not, it is okay to email or call your contact person at the agency to find out.
Now that we've clarified that, I'll move on to what could be expected in most cases (not all agencies operate the same way and I can't speak for what you may experience exactly...this info is very general so keep that in mind):
Unlike casting calls this is a somewhat more formal type of meeting but by "formal," I don't mean you should arrive in a business suit. Business casual or dressy casual is more than acceptable for male and female models.
Examples of ideal outfits include a nice dress and heels, skinny jeans and a dressy top with heels or a skirt with a nice blouse and heels for female models. Always wear heels unless you're a child model or a teen model who isn't tall enough for fashion and runway.
Male models can wear jeans, nice shoes and a button up shirt, slacks and a button up shirt and dress shoes or jeans, nice shoes and a collared shirt.
The "model uniform" that I mostly talk about for snapshots and things should be limited for attending open calls, not agency interviews unless the agency says that type of attire is okay.
New/inexperienced models do NOT--I repeat, DO NOT--need professional photos, comp/zed cards, headshots or a portfolio, nor will they be expected to bring professional grade materials into the interview.
It is best to bring your digital snapshots with your name, full stats and contact information written on the back of each one. If you've already submitted snapshots before, bring copies of those same ones. The agency may want to see them again or may no longer have the ones you originally gave. So be prepared to leave your snapshots with the agency after the interview if asked (if they don't ask to keep them, that's okay and not necessarily a bad sign).
Print your snapshots on decent photo paper (available at any office supply store). The photos shouldn't be larger than 5"x7" but no smaller than 4"x6", unless the agency tells you otherwise.
Get There Early
To make a good first impression and to avoid any stress, plan to arrive to your agency interview at least 30 minutes early. This gives you wiggle room for things like finding parking, checking yourself in the mirror and other small tasks. You'll have to sign in at the front desk and will be directed to a lobby or waiting room. It's much better to arrive early and wait instead of running late or getting there just in the nick of time and being frazzled.
Don't Bring an Entourage
Getting invited to interview with a modeling agency is a big deal but don't bring the whole family. Aspiring models who are under the age of 18 must have one parent/guardian with them (the parent/guardian will be able to sit in during the interview).
Parents/guardians, let the agency lead the interview. Hold off on your own questions or concerns until they give you the chance to speak and if they direct questions to your child, let him/her speak--don't answer for them. Speaking for them when it isn't necessary is known as "helicoptering" and it's super annoying and not a good impression to make on an agency.
Parents, make sure you've got a babysitter if you have younger kids to worry about. It isn't a good idea to bring them to the interview since they'll end up becoming a distraction.
Models that are of age should arrive alone to the interview. Any friends or significant others should stay in the lobby/waiting room or outside of the office. Do NOT ask to bring them into the interview with you.
Aside from stuff like doing a runway walk (for fashion and runway models) and taking polaroids (for the agency's records and to match your name with a face), the interview will mainly consist of a sit-down conversation between you and the agency. There may be one person or several--it all depends on the agency.
Modeling agencies have a lot of factors to consider when it comes to potentially offering a model representation. It isn't just about the physical look/appearance but personality as well. Since you'll be working closely with the agency, it is important that they like and feel comfortable around you.
It will be a Q&A session but they won't be acting like drill sergeants or a detective questioning you during an interrogation. It will be like a casual conversation so relax, be outgoing, engaged and maintain good eye contact. But always make sure you have good posture. No slouching and no fidgeting.
No Trick Questions
I can't tell you exactly what types of questions agencies would ask during an interview but there are some common ones that might come up, such as:
- What are your hobbies/interests?
- Are you in school? What are you studying?
- Are you working?
- What are your goals for the future?
- Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
- What got you interested in modeling?
- What are your strengths/weaknesses?
- Are you willing to travel?
- What modeling experience do you have, if any? (If you have none, then say that--it won't count against you but be honest)
- What is your schedule of availability like?
- How do you handle rejection?
- Who is your favorite designer? (For aspiring fashion and runway models)
What You Shouldn't Say
When answering questions, keep it brief. Don't ramble but don't just give one-word answers, either. One very important thing that all aspiring models should keep in mind when interviewing with an agency is to not come off as arrogant and/or demanding.
There is a difference between telling an agency about yourself and telling them what you will or will not do. For example, going into an agency interview and stating that you want all your travel expenses covered, won't work holidays or weekends and only want to deal with big name designers will not win any points. Nor will telling them that you plan on being the next supermodel who will take over Gisele's place. Not only is this off-putting (to anybody, no less an agency), it is very naive and a big sign that you don't understand the industry at all.
The whole purpose of the interview is so the modeling agency can get to know you. They aren't going to quiz you about off the wall subjects--it isn't a trivia game. It is a one-on-one conversation about you that will help them determine whether or not you'd be a good fit for their agency. It's as simple as that.
Go in confident, with a great smile and energy and the rest will take care of itself.