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Submitting to Modeling Agencies During a Pandemic: What to Expect

Ever since COVID 19 decided to make itself at home, every industry and business known to man has had to make changes. 

I already did a post about modeling during this difficult time but it's also important to highlight some useful information for aspiring models on the search for agency representation.

Unfortunately, this isn't such a hot time right now for agencies when it comes to finding new faces. Not all agencies operate the same way and each market has its own guidelines for how to pursue "business as usual," so your experience submitting to agencies will vary widely depending on where you live, what market the agencies are located in, the type of modeling you want to pursue, etc.

To help curb any anxiety or confusion, below are a few things to keep in mind to prepare you for what to expect:


A majority of modeling agencies have suspended all open calls until further notice. This announcement is a common one splashed on the homepages of many agency sites. When that will change is anyone's guess but it would be wise to not call or email them to ask. When the agencies feel it is safe to resume having open calls, they'll be sure to shout it from the rooftops. So for now, don't expect to attend any open calls anytime soon. 


For markets where pandemic case loads are still high, agencies have closed their offices. As a result, bookers and other agency staff are working from home. That means they're still answering phone calls, emails and conducting business but there's no one in the actual office building. If there is, it's at a limited capacity and they might only be seeing people for interviews (not open calls) so if you show up, you better have an appointment.

Many businesses, including modeling agencies, completely shut down once the pandemic hit hard and reopening means not only picking up where you left off but digging yourself out of tons of missed calls and emails and other backlogged workloads. And that means...


Even though the pandemic halted business for countless companies, its highly likely the new model submissions continued to roll in. It typically takes between 6-8 weeks for an agency to respond back to models they're interested in (remember: they will only reply if they're potentially considering representing you). With this snag in the business timeline, it goes without saying that being backlogged and playing catchup could cause delays. 

Even for agencies that tend to respond faster than 6-8 weeks, respect the fact that they've got a lot on their plates...more than usual. That means you'll have to learn to be extra patient while waiting for your submissions to be replied to. Again: do NOT call or email them to follow up and check whether they've received your submission or not!


Before the pandemic, it was highly unlikely for reputable modeling agencies to conduct their interviews online via Skype or Zoom. In fact, it wasn't uncommon for such a request to be considered a red flag of a potential scam.

Now agencies are making some tweaks to the recruiting process, including having online interviews with potential models. Not all agencies are doing this and I don't know if it will grow to be commonplace but for now it is a compromise of sorts for those actively signing new models. 

It is still very important to exercise caution when receiving, accepting and moving forward with a request for an interview with an agency. Signs it is a legitimate opportunity include but are not limited to the following:

  • The agency is responding to a submission you sent. Getting an online interview request from an agency completely out of the blue that you weren't expecting is a huge red flag.
  • If contacted via email, the sender's address ends with the name of the agency (i.e. or
  • If contacted via DM/social media, the sender's profile is verified.
When in doubt, call the agency directly with the name of the person that contacted you to make sure they are a real person who does work there. In instances such as these, the agency won't be upset about you calling and will appreciate the heads up.


Believe it or not, COVID has been such a nuisance, it's caused some agencies to post on their websites that they're not accepting new talent until further notice. While the reasons aren't listed and vary from agency to agency, it isn't surprising. With the workforce shutting down and slowly reopening across the country, agencies have lost clients or had things placed on pause until people can figure out their next moves. 

When the workflow is unsteady and unpredictable, oftentimes it's easier (and less costly) for agencies to not take on new models and instead focus on managing the ones they currently have. It's a smart business decision and you can't be mad at them for that. Similar with the pause on open calls, once the coast is clear to start taking submissions, the agency will post those updates on their social media profiles, as well as on their websites. You'll just have to keep checking back.


New fashion models freshly groomed and trained to hit international markets might be sad to learn they've been grounded due to the pandemic. COVID is hitting each part of the globe in different ways and while some countries are fortunate to have flattened their curve, that doesn't mean they're eager to accept out of town visitors and open themselves up to risk of new cases.

Travel restrictions are all over the place and differ depending on the destination. If you've gotten signed as a runway model and the plan was to originally have you country hop for work, try not to be too discouraged if those plans have since been cancelled.

Your agent is still going to be working their butt off to get you go-sees and bookings so do what you can and work with what you've got.


Patience is going to have to be a huge virtue for you newbies wanting to get signed to an agency. Although scouting is still happening and new models are being brought onto rosters, the frequency and time frame for these things to unfold is going to continue to be affected by the pandemic. No one at this point can predict when or if things will ever go back to the way they were before. 

As a result, we're all operating under special circumstances and have to go with the flow. There will always be clients in need of agencies to help match them with models who can get the job done so don't worry, the modeling world isn't going anywhere.


Anonymous said…
Hi, I was offered a contract with an agency in Belgium, which is a few hours away from where I live in the Netherlands. But now an agency in Amsterdam has asked me to come in for an interview, which I think would be more beneficial for me since it is a lot closer to where I live. How do I tell the other agency that I don’t want to sign with them yet and want to wait and see how this interview goes? They have said I can sign with agencies in the Netherlands too if I just tell them but I would rather have the first agency I sign with not be international. Since I will probably build my portfolio with the first agency I sign with. Should I just be honest and explain the situation?
Dania Denise said…
Hi, Anonymous! You'll find the answer to your questions in its own post, titled "Answering a Reader Question #1,014," which can be found on my other blog: "Modeling 101 - Answering Readers Questions."

Please visit this link: and you can view your post there. Thanks for reading!
Anonymous said…
Hi Dania, I have a non-exclusive 2-year contract with a new, small modeling agency. I have been signed with them for almost three months. I also have another non-exclusive contract with another agency, which is working out way better. I'm new to the industry, so my initial goal was to have a couple of agencies to work with to further my career. I have not received any jobs from particular boutique modeling agency. I only did a couple of monologues, per their request, and that was it. I sent them an email, stating that I would like to terminate my contract and that I am no longer available for any modeling or acting opportunities. I looked over the contract a few times and it does not have a termination clause; it mentions nothing about termination whatsoever. I've been researching and discovered that most agencies will grant your request with ease. There's a few contradictions in the contract. It says "for loyalty and exclusivity purposes, I will understand if I am to keep the agency as the only projects I take upon and participate in when it comes to the fashion editorial world." It says I also have to forward any projects I receive from other agencies, casting directors, etc. If the contract is non-exclusive, then I shouldn't have to do so. Correct? I just hope they do not make it difficult for me. I just want out. I have not earned anything with them, and I have not heard from them since early January. Thank you for your time!
Dania Denise said…
Hi, Anonymous! You'll find the answer to your questions in its own post, titled "Answering a Reader Question #1,016," which can be found on my other blog: "Modeling 101 - Answering Readers Questions."

Please visit this link: and you can view your post there. Thanks for reading!
Anonymous said…
Hi Dania- I need help! I did something REALLY bad- I’m fretting.
My daughter interviewed via ZOOM for two different agencies fall 2020. She was accepted into both. She and I both really liked Agent 1- she was friendly and very responsive. Agent 2 is very business like and doesn’t respond “quickly”, if at all. We initially accepted Agency 1 but they would not let us move forward with bookings/ headshots/etc until after COVID restrictions were lifted and we could attend an in person orientation. Agency 2 sent us paperwork with forms to be filled out and payments to be made- no orientation needed and we could start ASAP. A couple weeks passed by with no update on orientation from Agency 1 so we committed with Agency 2. (They also represent younger children and would take my younger child as well.)
We have had no direction from Agency 2 (who we signed with) for my daughter. I’ve contacted them different times to ask how to help get bookings and to get her account more traction. One agent told me they can’t give anyone preferred treatment, which I know, but nothing to help advance her career. I do receive and ALWAYS reply and submit for ALL postings from the agency. It’s been almost one year and nothing; I even got headshots from two different photographers hoping it would help her portfolio.
I still receive postings from Agency 1 from the original acceptance- that we never attended the orientation. One day out of frustration, I hit “accept” on a posting. Within two days my daughter was on “hold” for the job. Long story short; we attended the shoot for the day under an agency that she is not signed with. This has been eating me alive! I am not this type of person and it is not how I want either agency thinking I/we are. We honestly thought we would show up and they’d send us home- we’ve never been on a “job” before. My daughter wanted the experience and I wanted it for her. What should I do? Both agencies are legit but we pay a yearly rate to be represented by who she is signed with currently and they honestly have more apparent work available.
SIDE NOTE: The set was compromised of models from both agencies. One parent told me they have heard not good things about who we are repped by. (They were signed with them once and left.) She said she’s been told they pick who they want to help and they don’t always submit models even after they submit for jobs. Now I am wondering if they’ve submitted my daughter for things? Both agencies use a common website to submit models for work. How could she have been passed by from her agency and was booked with another? I know Agency 1 will find out we are not represented by them when the payment comes through for my daughter. What should we do? I never thought this would happen! Should I quit our current agency and go with who we originally liked? What is the best move for my daughter? I hate for her to be penalized for something I did.
Dania Denise said…
Hello, Anonymous!

Given the nature of your situation and the legalities with contracts, please shoot me an email directly: and I'd be more than happy to figure out what options would be in you/your daughter's best interest!
Anonymous said…

I submitted to an agency last week and they contacted me immediately to ask me a video of me talking about my life, then I sent us the video back and they wanted to do a zoom call with me. I did and they said they'll get back to me. Its been 2 days now and I still have no response. Do you think its a bad sign?
Dania Denise said…
Hi, Anonymous! You'll find the answer to your questions in its own post, titled "Answering a Reader Question #1,030," which can be found on my other blog: "Modeling 101 - Answering Readers Questions."

Please visit this link: and you can view your post there. Thanks for reading!

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