Getting Started in Modeling
There is always someone who wants to be the next Kendell, Gigi or Tyra, but despite what the movies tell us, becoming a model isn’t just about being tall and beautiful. It’s about having the uniqueness, talent and drive to back up those looks. In this article, we will give you some tips that will hopefully help aid in you becoming a pro in the industry.
MAINTAIN A GREAT APPEARANCE
Take care of yourself! Features indicative of good health are a must. Eat healthy, work out, take care of your outer appearance (and inner peace of mind), and look good in clothes. It’s a simple equation, but it’s harder than you might think to execute.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR SKIN
Focus on keeping your skin clear and glowing. Wash your face in the morning and at night, exfoliate once a week, and remember to wash your makeup off before you go to sleep.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR HAIR
Shiny and healthy hair is important. Some agencies and Managers prefer the “natural greasy look” so if you prefer to minimally shower that is okay too.
FITNESS IS IMPORTANT
Consider working with a trainer who works specifically with models. Tell them your modeling goals and how you want to look. Tell them how you feel and your opinions.
Contrary to what some people tell you, you should eat healthy foods, as well as healthy amounts of food. Veggies, fruits, whole grains, and proteins should make up the basics of your diet. Sugars, starches, empty carbs, and unhealthy fats should be avoided as much as possible.
DECIDE WHAT KIND OF MODEL YOU HOPE TO BE
Technically, anybody can be a model. However, do remember that if you don’t meet certain requirements, the work available to you will be incredibly limited, and you may have to compensate in other departments (reliability, technique, etc.).
There is a lot you can learn from reading books and articles on modeling. Reading quality guides, articles, and books will both help you to improve important skills (like posing) and to better understand how the industry works (how to find an agent, etc.). There are also awesome online blogs like PlusModelMag.com and ModelMeMovement.com that offer awesome free tips.
REALIZE THAT IT’S TOUGH.
The modeling world is jam-packed with pretty faces. Just because you are good looking does not mean that you can succeed as a model. In the modeling business, it is not just about looking great. You have to fit the need of specific jobs just in order to get a chance. Modeling is only for serious people who carry unique looks and characteristics. Since there are so many people trying to become models in today’s world, it’s very challenging to get a breakthrough and will only come with patience and perseverance.
BUILD YOUR PORTFOLIO
Take some snapshots. This doesn’t mean candid shots of you and your friends, but rather shots of you up close without a lot of makeup and on a plain background. You should shoot them in nice natural light without a lot of distraction in the photos. These are meant for agencies to get a look at you in a raw state. Consider a head shot, a body shot, and profile shots.
Consider getting some professional shots taken. Professional photography, even if it is expensive, will give you a better idea of what kind of look you give off. You may eventually need these photographs to snag an interview, so think of it as a worthwhile investment!
Get your favorite professional shots printed into 8x10s. Save these in case you are asked to leave a photograph anywhere before you have professional ones done.
If you’ve got enough of these photos, consider putting everything into a portfolio, or “book.” Bring this portfolio with you to castings or to agencies.
Take and know your measurements and stats. These will help modeling agencies place you.
We 100% Recommend you consider joining the PMG ModelMe Movement to gain training, experience and exposure which can help you with all of the above.
UNDERSTAND YOUR STATS
Basic measurements are height, weight, and shoe size.
Know your clothing measurements such as dress size, hip, waist, chest etc.
Know your own personal stats, such as hair color, eye color, skin tone etc.
Visit your local modeling agency after you have a professional portfolio
Almost every major city has multiple modeling agencies, and almost every agency has “open-calls” where they look at new talent.
Bring your snapshots and/or portfolio. They will often ask you to walk or pose for them. They may take a head shot or take your measurements as well. If they reject you, don’t get disheartened; often an agency is looking for a diverse set of models, so you may just not fit their model lineup right now.
There are many problems presently with some modeling agencies. So many people don’t know about the business and end up getting conned. No agency should be asking you for more than $20 when meeting you. Some agencies may require professional images and may even offer the opportunity to shoot with their in-house photographer. If they ask for hundreds of dollars beforehand, walk away. Don’t take their offer. As an ModelME Official member, you can gain images by participating in PMG FREE quarterly photoshoots or even possibly do some TFP shoots so get pro quality images.
On the Job Tips
1 Be truthful about your measurements. Don’t say you’re a different size than you are just to get a shoot. Once there, the stylist will have problems and you will get found out. Word will get around and you could find yourself without a career!
2 Be professional, polite, and courteous. Remember that, even though you’re not working in an office, you need to be professional. Treat the people you work with respectfully — you never know who they know or what sort of a recommendation they might give of you. Never look down on anyone. You may be a model, but that doesn’t give you the right to be snooty, affected, or pompous. Having a diva attitude is not appealing in the industry.
- Always turn up on time to any appointment or shoot. If you’re late or rude, word soon gets around and then nobody will want to work with you.
- Be organized. Models often get called off places at the last minute and have very busy days. You need to be on top of things if you want to succeed. Buying a day-to-day planner can really help. Also, keep you fully stocked model bag with you whenever possible.
- Develop relationships with photographers. Not those kinds of relationships! Professional relationships. You help the photographer look great, and they will help you look great. It’s a win-win situation, so be sure to treat photographers with respect.
- Treat modeling like a real job. Girls that don’t take it seriously have small chances of succeeding in their modeling career. Realize that it is harder than it appears and there’s a lot of work behind all that glitz and glamour at fashion shows. Modeling is a full time occupation that requires constant attention. One week away from it and your career can be over. Understand that modeling has only a small window of opportunity, and even if you take a short break, you may never be able to return. Models can only work in the business for a maximum of 5 years. If you become famous inside of the business, it might be otherwise.
3 Confirm whether or not there will be a make-up artist (MUA) on site for any work you are doing. Sometimes you are expected to bring certain things with you (such as base foundation) and if they don’t have a makeup artist booked you need to prepare accordingly.
4 Be creative on shoots. Photographers want to see you pose in various works, work for the camera, and interact with the world around yourself. Runway coordinators want you to put attitude in your walk (or very specific emotion).
Other Helpful Modeling Tips
- Be careful when signing contracts or releases. Some contracts may require you to model exclusively for a particular agency. A lot of releases (which are more like mini-contracts that are done for a single shoot) will emphasize the photographer’s right to an image, saying that they may do whatever they wish, but don’t mention the model’s rights. It is your image they are using, and you have a say in what is done with pictures taken of you. Make sure to discuss this before signing anything.
- Know your limits on style and nudity. If you don’t want to do glamour work or are uncomfortable doing full nudity, speak up and don’t let people push you past those limits. Also, consider where you want your career to go in the future. Sure, you may be comfortable doing glamour now, but what if you decide you want to do fashion or catalog work in the future? You might be discriminated against if they know you have done this line of work.
- If, for whatever reason, you’ve decided signing with an agency isn’t right for you then you could consider going freelance. But be warned: the pay is usually considerably less and there are fewer safety precautions.
- You can also enter modeling contests. However, make sure you check that these are being run by a reputable agency.
- Some modeling schools are licensed by the Board of Education. However, whether or not they will teach you how to become a model is questionable, and some agencies even say that attending a modeling school can teach you bad habits that are hard to unlearn! They are also expensive.
- Get your parents’ permission if you’re under the age defined by your country as being an adult.
- If you are invited to a foreign country (i.e. Hong Kong, Macau etc.) for an audition or job, have enough funds to purchase a return ticket yourself. While legitimate jobs exist, there are many scams that provide one way tickets then trap young girls into prostitution rings when they cannot afford to go back home.
- Almost all agencies will ask you to fill out a contract. Be sure to read through it thoroughly and make sure you know what every word means, even use a dictionary if you have to! Better know what you are signing for before you accept.
- If you are planning a photo shoot with a photographer you have met online, it is highly recommended that you bring a chaperone to the shoot. It’s for your own safety, as you never know who is who online! If you can’t bring a chaperone (because you are unable to find one or because the photographer doesn’t allow chaperones), make sure you do a background search on the photographer first- check out things such as who they have worked with and for – and call somebody when you get to the shoot and when you leave the shoot.
- Be wary of any agency that asks for money up front. The majority of agencies get their money through commission- meaning they take a certain percentage of your pay for every job that you do. If you don’t work, then they don’t get paid. If you’ve already paid up, there’s no incentive for them to find you work. However, don’t dismiss everybody who asks you for up-front fees as a scam. If you are sure that they are an agency, listen carefully to what they are asking for the fees for. Bigger agencies in bigger markets will often pay for these for you or at least loan you the money, but smaller agencies or agencies in smaller markets can’t afford to do this. If the fees are to cover actual representation, this probably isn’t a good deal. Although there are some good agencies out there who work on this basis, the majority are nothing more than con artists. Find models who they represent, get in touch with them and ask them what they think of the representation they are getting.
- If you become one of the top models like Kate Moss, the people you work for might ask you to take drastic measures to stay a top model. For example, they might ask you to get nose jobs, liposuction, or have breast implants. The pressure of modeling can cause a lot of long term mental health problems, including eating disorders. Don’t be afraid to speak to somebody if you think it is getting all too much. If you just can’t handle the pressure, it may be time to start thinking of a new profession. A job isn’t worth your health!
- Modeling scams are very real and very easy to fall victim to. They are very common as they are effective as they play off the hopes and dreams of the innocent. It’s sad to say but most models bump into scams several times in their career and often times quite early in their quest for becoming a model.