How to be a Model

How to get started

Getting started in modeling is not based on luck, but on hard work and dedication! Modeling agencies do have scouts that travel around and seek out potential models, but you could be waiting forever to be found by one. You must take the steps to get started! In this area of the web site, I outline some basic ideas that you should consider when planning your entry into the modeling industry. Albeit, it is not an all inclusive guide, but it should get you started down the right path. If you are under 18 years old, then seek the help of your parents. They will have to represent you when contacting agencies, etc...

- Dress and look the part: If you want to be a model, then you should feel comfortable looking like a model. Modeling is more than sitting in front of camera and smiling. Modeling is how you carry yourself around the public (and potential employers). Make it a point to dress nice for all occasions (don't wear baggy clothing, baseball caps, sweat pants, or anything else that might look trashy) and, if female, apply your make-up to today's fashion standards. If you are the least bit uncertain about how to dress nicely, or how to apply make-up correctly, you might want to consider a fashion consultant, make-up artist, or modeling school who can teach you. The more often you dress nice and fashionably, the more comfortable you'll feel. This comfort, coupled with experience and training, will build confidence! This confidence with show through during photo shoots, meetings with modeling agencies, and possible employers. Most importantly, always be friendly and polite (and not conceited). This will carry you far.

- Get photographs (Basic, Book, Comp/Zed): In the beginning, you will not need anything more than some basic photographs that show "you". These photographs are not to display your versatility like composites or your book, but merely a way for you to show modeling agencies who you are. It is advisable to use "real" film in lieu of digital cameras because the quality is much better. If you are just getting started in the industry, it is a good idea to get one or two photos of yourself and take them in to an agency during their "open call" (usually a specific day and time). The modeling agency will look at your photo(s) and resume, to determine if your look fits what they (and their clients) are seeking.

Another alternative is to create a portfolio (book). A book contains at least one head shot and several other shots that show the models versatility (the more versatility a model shows, the more assignments they'll get). The photos can be color or a color/black and white mixture. Tear sheets, which are examples of ads you have done, should be included as well. You do not want to include too many photos in your book because it can become quite exhausting to the viewer. Stick to a maximum of 10 pages of your best work. It is very important to constantly update your book to reflect the latest styles and work that you have done.

Comp./Zed cards are 5X7" cards that usually contain one head shot and 3 to 4 other shots that, again, show the model's versatility. In addition, Comp./Zed cards contain the model's name, age, measurements, eye and hair color, and modeling agency (if represented by one). Comp./Zed cards are like a model's "book," but they are left with agencies and possible future clients. These cards should be made professionally and not done by computer.

If you go to a professional photographer, they will probably have you sign a release stating that they own the negatives and certain rights to use your photos. You, and your agency (if represented by one), are provided with proof sheets (a large picture that shows photos shot). You, and/or, your agency then decide what photos you want and contact the photographer for copies. The photographer then charges you, or the agency, for the copies.

- Get Training: If you want to enter the modeling industry easily, I would suggest some sort of training. Is it required? No, but it can help you with learning about the industry (posing, preparing your make-up, working the catwalk, and attending open calls). Attending a modeling school is not going to make you a model, but it will give you some tools that will make the journey a little easier. I am not going suggest any modeling schools in your area because I have been out of the industry for several years and can't honestly refer you to any of them. But, I am planning on adding a listing of modeling schools onthis web site. You should call around and compare their prices to what is offered. And, check to see if they help you find work after graduation from their program. Remember, if it sounds to good to be true... (you know the rest)

- Seek An Agency: Ad agencies and companies call model agencies looking to hire models for a specific project. They usually have a set of guidelines that they are looking for (e.g. female 28-32, 5'08-6'00, 24-34-24, size 4 shoe). The modeling agency then looks through their model's books/comp. cards to find any matches and sends the model(s) to an interview with the prospective client (called a go-see). The best place to start looking for an agency is in the telephone book that serves your area under the heading, "Modeling." Call around to the various agencies and find out if they have an "open call" day and time. If they don't, tell them that you are interested in modeling and that you would like the opportunity to meet with them. Make sure you bring your pictures and dress professionally (you are a professional...right?). Three things to ask during your interview are:

1. What percentage of your earnings does the agency take for their services.

2. How much work does the agency estimate is available (client base?)

And 3. Does the agency have a height and weight requirement? There is some work for plus-sized models, but representation varies from agency to agency.

- Take every job that is offered to you: If you are just starting out modeling, or even if you have been in the industry for awhile, you need all of the experience that you can get. If you don't get experience, then you will not get the high paying assignments with high profile retailers. Its a long road and everyone has to start somewhere, so don't pass any reputable opportunity up. If you start passing modeling assignments up, your agency, as well as people in the industry, will consider you lazy. This is a bad thing when you are just starting out.

- Update your book: Always keep your book up-to-date with all the currant best work. Your book is, in essence, your resume. It shows prospective employers the work that you have done. As you build experience, you will accumulate tear sheets. Include them as well. As you take on more assignments, your book will develop diversity and show that you are capable of a variety of settings. This is very important! Be flexible!

- Re-evaluating your agency: If you are honestly trying your best, taking every job that is offered to you, and doing what your agency is telling you to do, and are not advancing in the industry. Or, if you feel that you are not getting the assignments that you are capable of, or you are not happy with your income. Ask yourself this one question, "have I put in enough time and effort?" If you have and are not satisfied, talk with your agency representative and express your concerns. If you are still unsatisfied, contact other agencies and see what they have to offer. It is better to shop around after you have experience!