People have always told you, you should be a model! You have great bone structure, the most flawless & glowing skin, and gorgeous locks of hair that would make any woman jealous. You’ve heard that the life of a model is fabulous, and for the most part it is, but it’s also A LOT of hard & exhausting work that most people don’t realize because a great model can make it look effortless. Ultimately, there are a few things you should know before
taking that leap towards your runway & print campaign dreams. I am going to speak primarily about print models, as that is who I tend to work with on a regular basis, however, much of this is true for both aspects of modeling.
First of all, people can be ridiculously critical, so you have to have the skin of a rhino, metaphorically speaking, especially at the beginning. It’s not because you aren’t freaking gorgeous, you are, trust me!! However, when someone, most often another creative – fashion designer, art director, photographer, etc., already has a vision in mind for what they are trying to produce, it’s much easier to find the perfect model to fit that vision rather then evolve their vision to fit a new model. That’s not to say you can’t wow them into loving you, it just takes some extra effort.
You need to have a fantastic attitude! It can make the biggest difference in the world!! You may think that acting like a queen B is going to make people respect you, but more likely it’s going to make people HATE working with you. This industry is smaller then you think, and people tend to only remember the people they loved & hated working with. I can guarantee you if I have two equally beautiful girls standing before me for a job I going to pick the one I can stand being in a room with for hours on end. You need to treat everyone at a shoot with equal respect, not only so people return the favor for you, but also because you just never know if that assistant or makeup artist is going to become the next Anna Wintour or Bobbi Brown. Trust me if you are good to them, they will be good to you!
You need to be seriously passionate to work in this industry! If you really care about your work it shows. The people who are going to make it far are the ones who are putting the time and effort in. The ones who read up on everything they can get their hands on, who practice their poses and are constantly looking for their best angels, who know the concept of lighting and how it makes you look, who understand fashion and fabrics and how to show them off best, who find out everything they possibly can, who never pass up the chance to learn from somebody in the business, those are going to be the people who succeed. Knowledge is a weapon and you should wield it wisely!
You need to always act like a professional. From your very first job to your last you need to work it like a pro! Many people have the misconception that if you are beautiful you’ll make a fabulous model, but that’s not necessarily the case! Your job isn’t just to stand their and look cute, it’s to sell fashion. You MUST understand fashion, movement, angles, lighting, makeup, attitude, and how to sell the fantasy of the garment to your everyday consumer. It’s a lot to think about and try to pose at the same time, but just like anything else, the more you do it the easier it will become!
Put together at least a basic portfolio, and make sure it is the best representation of you! Your book is your resumé so to speak, so you want it to show you at your best. Agencies are looking to see your overall range, but mostly they want to see that you are comfortable in front of the camera. In addition to any editorial style images have, you should also include a simple head shot, profile, 3/4 length, and body shot with simple, plain clothing and minimal makeup and hair. Agencies want to see your blank canvas as well as you all painted up. Include enough variation so that agencies can see your full potential. I get asked a lot, how many images? A few fantastic images is WAY better then passing over a book with 50 blah pictures. Not to mention, the more you work your book will naturally evolve to include work your truly proud to show off.
Take care of yourself! It’s no secret this industry puts a TON of pressure on models to be fabulous, but sadly far too many girls take it to the extreme. So when I say ‘take care of yourself’ I mean keeping your body AND your mind right! Stay active, eat healthy, get plenty of rest, avoid cigarettes & drugs, and keep your canvas- your face and body- at it’s best! Have fun & enjoy every second, but please use your common sense!!
So, you’ve done your research, practiced your skills, and are knowledgeable about the details of the industry and you still think you’ve got what it takes to model like a pro? Fabulous!! So, what’s your next step then? Taking that huge leap of faith – and actually going to an open casting for new models. Some of the top national agencies are Ford Models, Elite, Wilhelmina, and IMG. They have locations in many of the larger cities, New York, LA, San Francisco, etc. the largest obviously being the New York offices. There are also many boutique agencies as well – they may have a smaller roster of models, but that could mean more individual time for you. Ultimately you need to do a lot of research about any agency before you sign, you want to make sure they are reputable and know who they are working with. It’s not just about if they like you – it’s also about you feeling comfortable working for them. These agencies see thousands of potential models every year and can usually tell very quickly if they have any desire to pursue going forward.
Finally, don’t assume you know what they are looking for. I once worked with a young model who I think has a ton of potential, she said to me “But I don’t have that girls nose, and that girls chin…” … yeah, but they already have that girls nose, and that girls chin, and now they may be looking for your features! So be humble yet confident and good luck! I’ll be looking for you in the pages of all those fabulous fashion mags!!
“To be a star, you must shine your own light, follow your own path, and don’t worry about the darkness, for that is when the stars shine brightest”