Monday, 30 November 2009


In the search for an agency, technology can be your best friend. However, typing in ‘modelling agency’ into any search engine will result in you getting more information than you can handle, and much of it, indiscriminate and irrelevant to the type of career you want.


Start off by researching models you admire. Find out who represents them – this is a good starting point to ensure you only make contact with legitimate agencies. Do your homework, find out who the top agencies are and visit creditable sites like to see which agencies hire models that most closely represent your look. Success in modelling is all about marketing, and doing it with insight and intelligence. Try to imagine your own look in an existing market – where would you place it? High fashion, commercial, plus-size, sports and athletic modelling – it’s a big modelling world out there. Having an awareness of where you might fit in is crucial.

Don’t be afraid to contact the bigger agency names. Yes, they are inundated with photos every day, but each one of these is checked to see if that person has modelling potential. Don’t assume that you’re better off trying just the smaller agencies. Be ambitious for yourself, contact every relevant agency, but be prepared for knockbacks. They come with the territory, and this point in your career is just the beginning. Try not to take rejection personally, because it rarely is. It’s just business.

Modelling may seem like an artistic pursuit, but the fact is for everybody concerned, it is a money-making venture. Think ahead: formulate, plan and plot your course of action, even if it’s only week by week.

Enthusiasm is infectious, and showing agencies that you have a ‘game plan’ can be the thing that tips the decision in your favour. If you’re really serious about becoming a model, make fashion your business. Read the trade publications (Vogue, W, Elle, Nylon, Harper’s Bazaar). Study who is out there, and why they keep getting re-hired. What are they doing that’s right? It’s rarely down to dumb genetic luck. The very best models get to the top because they are fearless about pursuing their goals. If you are really passionate about a career in fashion, let it show.

In person

When you’ve found an agency that captures your interest, look closely at their website. Many model agencies have very specific means of application. Some like you to send in a couple of photos in the mail: usually one head-shot and a full-length body shot. Others prefer you to upload a recent photo of yourself onto an online form, plus your personal details such as age and height. Others hold regular Open Days where would-be models are invited to attend an appointment with a booker to assess their suitability.

Open Days are becoming increasingly rare, with limits on time and resources to carry them out. If the agency you’ve found specifies a particular date and time, stick to it. Don’t assume that the booker will still be free to see you half an hour after the set time has elapsed.

Treat an Open Day appointment like a prospective go-see, only this time the agency is the client. Be friendly, attentive and polite. Mounting a charm offensive won’t hurt your chances one bit, and shows you understand what kind of behaviour would be required at a real life go-see.

Go prepared and present yourself as a model: your hair pulled back, clean, moisturised skin and no make-up. When picking clothes, it pays to go simpler. A vest and a decent pair of jeans are classics for a reason. Don’t make the rookie mistake of piling on every fashionable item in your wardrobe. An agent isn’t interested in admiring your fashion mojo: they just want to see potential.

Whatever the outcome of approaching an agency ‘in person’, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. This can provide invaluable insight in helping you find a model agency sooner rather than later. Learning what you do wrong can really help you in the long-term. Mistakes can be corrected, but a know-it-all attitude? That’s not so easy to fix.

The key thing to understand about finding an agency is that to find success, a multi-angled form of attack is advisable. There are the lucky souls who get snapped up by the first agency they approach, but the reality is that for most people, it takes a little more work.

To get the result you want, it pays to cover your bases. After all, if you were job-hunting, no sane person would download their CV onto a recruitment website, sit back and wait for the phone calls to come pouring in. As with most things in life, if something’s worth having, it’s worth that extra effort to get it.

New technology: online model agencies

One angle you may not have considered is online model agency. They are steadily growing in profile, and while never a guarantee of securing work, it is definitely worthwhile exploring this option.

When looking for representation, it is important to know that the role of an online modelling agency is very different to that of a traditional agency. The main role of an online modelling agency is to primarily house electronic portfolios. They provide online space for you to display your photos on the internet.

The agency will offer a basic portfolio space on their website for little or no cost, and if you want something a bit more advanced, be prepared to pay an additional fee for running costs. This is a legitimate expense, as the more involved a person’s e-portfolio becomes, the more space and upkeep it requires.

The benefit of using this type of agency is that your work can be viewed by interested parties from around the world, thus maximising your earning potential. But online modelling agencies do not offer any of the other services routinely featured by more traditional agencies – do not confuse the two, or risk disappointment.

However, there are some similarities to bear in mind when shopping for an online agency. As with normal agencies, NEVER sign up to any agency that promises you work. No agency, however prolific, can guarantee a model work. The industry is notoriously fast-paced, and work fluctuates at all levels.

When choosing an online agency, look at the e-portfolios of other models on the website. Do their photos suggest that this model aspires to be in the same sector as you? Always try to match yourself to an agency’s existing book of models – you are far more likely to get work this way than trying to squeeze a square peg into a round hole. Also, if the agency seems clearly focused, in terms of what is offers prospective clients, this is also good news as a client will be more inclined to scout the better-developed sites for talent than the ones that are clumsily managed.

When selecting portfolio shots, keep in mind what constitutes a portfolio shot. Beware any e-portfolios with models posing with parasols or staring winsomely off-camera. This is the calling card of a makeover shoot, and as such is completely unsuitable for a professional portfolio. Whatever the cost of the shoot, a soft-focus glamour shot of you wrapped in a feather boa is unlikely to win over any client. Models Connect offers specific advice on the difference between portfolio and makeover photos. If in doubt, keep your fledgling portfolio shots simple, direct and uncluttered. No parasols necessary.

Keeping your expectations in line is another thing to remember when posting your shots to an online agency. As a method of securing work, it can be a long shot, but something worth doing if you are serious about securing a foothold in the industry. The more methods you try, the higher the likelihood of securing a response will be.

Where Models Connect can help

Models Connect can also assist you with your search. The website ( functions as a halfway house between a virtual agency and the ‘real’ world. It houses e-portfolios like an online agency would, but where Models Connect differs, is that it can offer a level of service including advice, tips and most importantly, the potential for booking jobs with its selection of clients.

To get the best results from Models Connect, you can sign up to have an online profile that can only be viewed by Models Connect’s base of vetted and approved clients, but you can also access your account and forward your details onto other agencies or interested parties, and manage your own career.

Where Models Connect’s main strength lies in how it can connect you to a body of clients, who are actively searching for new faces, for a wide variety of projects. Upon signing up, you will be assigned your own booker, who will ensure that if you’re suitable for a potential job, that client will be made aware of you.

Combining your search for an agency using the latest technology and exploring more traditional routes is the best means of achieving your goal. Think proactively, and this will translate into action, which shows potential agencies and clients that you are serious about building a career in the fashion industry.

Approach your search for an agency with intelligence: plan and strategise. Needing, at the very least, a Plan B in the modelling world is absolutely essential. Do your research, be aware of scams (see Models Connect for advice on how to avoid scams), remain alert to opportunities and keep an open mind. Your future could be closer than you think.


Sunday, 22 November 2009


Born September 10th 1988, Coco Rocha has secured her reputation on her ability to merge avant-garde with commercial.

Raised in Canada, but of Irish, Welsh and Russian descent, Rocha holds a unique place in modelling history. Combining modern athleticism with unique features that manage to be timeless, Coco represents the best of both worlds.

In 2002, Coco Rocha was discovered by agent Charles Stuart at an Irish dancing contest in Vancouver. Rocha had never previously considered a career in fashion, but she signed with Elite, and began to discover her value in the fashion world.

Rocha’s career started slowly but began to take off in 2006. Her first major breakthrough was appearing in a Balenciaga ad campaign. Wearing oversized platform wedges and a bowler hat, Rocha’s arrival on the fashion scene set the tone for the rest of her career: quirky, original and unexpected.

Her next notable assignment was a shoot with Steven Meisel for Dolce & Gabbana. Famous for being a ‘hit-maker’ in the fashion industry, Meisel has a gift for spotting new model talent. After working with Rocha, Meisel immediately rated her as a model that was worth watching. Website was of the same opinion later that year when they named Coco their ‘rising star’.

The body of 2006 was a collective of great experiences for Rocha. An Italian Vogue editorial with Gemma Ward; a spot in the Chanel Couture runway show and additional shows for Vera Wang and Balenciaga. Coco topped off a brilliant year with an editorial in French Vogue, shot by legendary photographer Terry Richardson.

2007 would prove to be a seminal year for Rocha. Beginning the year by renewing her contract with Balenciaga, Coco also signed up to do a campaign for Lanvin. In February, Rocha achieved two Vogue covers in the same month, posing on the cover of Italian Vogue with Hilary Rhoda, plus an additional cover for Japanese Vogue with Russian model Sasha Pivovarova.

By themselves, these are noteworthy achievements, but in every great model’s career, there is a moment, a tipping point where everything falls into place. This moment came for Rocha in April 2007. She was booked to appear in the Jean Paul Gaultier runway show. Gaultier, charmed by the Canadian, found out about her dancing background and insisted she open and close the show. But Coco wasn’t to walk down the runway: she had to dance it.

Coco’s exuberant bursts of Irish dancing caused a sensation. Anna Wintour dubbed it ‘The Coco Moment’, and Rocha had arrived. The ‘moment’ lasted beyond the initial rush of publicity and translated into very real accolades. The next month, Rocha was featured on the cover of American Vogue. The theme of the cover was already decided: the world’s next supermodels.

Coco was in rarefied company. She shared the cover with Caroline Trentini, Raquel Zimmermann, Sasha Pivovarova, Chanel Iman, Jessica Stam, Hilary Rhoda and Agyness Deyn. Two years ago, these names were specialist knowledge only. Two years on, every one of these names evokes a face, an image and a glittering career. Vogue’s star-spotting was absolutely on the money.

On paper, the concept of Coco as a model should never have worked. Her years of dance training, while doing great things for her posture, should’ve worked against her. Contrary to popular belief, dancers don’t usually make good models, as their training forces them to resist the broken-down, angular poses required to model some of the extreme silhouettes in contemporary fashion.

But Coco took the best of her dance training and channelled it into the requirements of modelling. Applying an intelligent approach to movement, Coco’s popularity with photographers and editors boiled down to her ability to create shapes and lines for the camera.

Look at Coco’s body of work and you will see in her photos that she is a mistress of movement, providing a masterclass in how to create photos that are visually dynamic. Her energy, applied with restraint where needed, translates brilliantly onto film. Rocha is a rare breed: a dancer whose skills adds to, rather than impedes, the modelling package.

In September 2007, she opened a Chanel runway show, scoring the ultimate ‘insider’ job. If you are hired by Lagerfeld, you must be doing something right. In 2008, Coco was photographed for the famous Pirelli calendar by Patrick Demarchelier, and featured in a US Vogue editorial, dressed as famous cartoon characters. Who better to interpret Catwoman and Poison Ivy? Coco managed a difficult task with wit and verve, while still keeping the overall tone fashion-friendly.

Coco’s versatile face made her useable for commercial projects as well as the high-fashion fun. In 2009, she became the face of DeBeers diamonds and has a long-running series of campaigns with YSL skincare and fragrance, plus clothing campaigns for designers as diverse as Zac Posen and Liz Claiborne.

This disparity explains what makes Coco so in demand. She bridges the gap between the worlds of mainstream fashion and the avant-garde. Look again at the list of girls featured on the 2007 ‘Supermodels’ Vogue cover. The list shows how fashion’s take on beauty has shifted over the years. Girls like Agyness, Jessica, Coco and Sasha would’ve been sidelined in the Nineties as purely avant-garde faces.

Over a decade ago, as a model you were either positioned by your agency as an edgy, avant-garde girl or glamour personified. The careers of models such as Stella Tennant and Kristen McMenamy in the 1990s were sharply defined from those of more mainstream girls like Niki Taylor and Christy Turlington. Stella and Kristen did couture, Niki and Christy sold lipstick. Tastes for models would come and go: one year, it was all about the quirky, androgynous models, the next, fashion would celebrate classic beauties. What Coco and her peers represent is a departure from this idea that beauty has to be one thing or the other to be relevant. It has instead been replaced with a merging of the two ideals. Beauty can be just as sellable when it is off-centre, as it is in a Valentino gown.

The idea that a quirky-looking model could be editorial and commercial is something that has only truly evolved through this past decade. The complex requirements of a label like Balenciaga makes certain demands of a model, but now the mid-range labels, and even high-street brands are beginning to catch up.

Retail branding in the same decade has not just had an overhaul; it has been rewritten from scratch. High-street brands such as Reiss, Gap and All Saints are marketing themselves with the same level of sophistication as the designer names, because this is what the consumer now expects. Shopping isn’t just about the clothes you leave the store with; it’s about the whole experience. From the decor to the sales staff, the bar has been visibly raised and those stores doing well are outperforming their competitors because they have embraced everything high-fashion has to offer, including its models. Coco has secured so many contracts with brands on the high street because she offers a taste of high-fashion beauty that is both editorial and relatable.

Coco‘s quirky, off-beat appeal has seen her working with everyone from Gareth Pugh to Gap. Conservative designers love her, legends like Meisel and Wintour are fascinated by her. There is never a sense, in looking at Coco’s career, that there is a place where she doesn’t belong.
Models like Coco represent the future of modelling because they are the very definition of versatility. Seeing someone like Coco succeed shows how fashion has worked, actively and consciously, to become more inclusive to models that fall between the extremes of ‘quirky’ and ‘classic’. Coco’s amazing run of success has paved the way for new models such as Karlie Kloss, who has just signed a deal with Dior. The new girl personified by Coco is avant-garde, and she is establishment: part of the fabric of fashion, she is here to stay. Quirky isn’t a passing phase anymore.


Sunday, 15 November 2009


Her name may not be that familiar, but Crystal Renn is the face of a revolution.

Born in Miami Florida in 1987, Crystal’s connection with the modelling industry began when she was just 14 years old. She was approached by a model scout and asked if she had ever considered a career in fashion. At 5’9” and a (British) size 18, Renn had assumed that being a model was not a realistic goal.

In her biography ‘Hungry’, Renn describes how the scout showed her pictures of Gisele Bundchen and other models that were just beginning to break into the fashion world. With a little work, it was implied, Renn could have a career just like them. Renn was told that to succeed, she would need to lose weight.

Crystal went on to lose a massive 40% of her starting body weight, doing so by adopting a dangerous regime that equated to near-starvation. She began to work, but the career that was promised to her, never materialised. On the fringes of fashion, Crystal found that maintaining the massive weight loss was an all-consuming struggle. Just getting out of bed, let alone attending go-sees every day, presented an almost overwhelming daily challenge.

It was becoming clear to Renn that things were not progressing the way she’d hoped. Her body, existing on a tiny amount of calories just to survive, eventually rebelled. Crystal experienced a health crisis and rapidly gained 70lbs.

After her health had stabilised, Renn found herself at a size 16. Her career as a ‘regular model’ was over. Instead of giving up altogether, Renn reassessed her priorities. She still wanted to model, and be part of the fashion world, but not at the expense of her health.
Renn made the decision to reposition herself in the market as a plus-size model. In America, the plus-size industry is very well respected – and potentially extremely lucrative for girls who happen to have the right look.

Renn, already a fashion insider, discovered that plus-size work demanded the same stringent adherence to focus and discipline as regular modelling. At 5’9”, with excellent photogenic features and a toned, well-proportioned body, Renn was exactly what the plus-size industry was looking for. Returning to modelling in 2004, Renn signed with Ford Models – an agency that is known for supporting the careers of plus-size models. With Ford behind her, Renn found to her amazement that work began to flood in.

In 2006, Renn was invited to walk in the ready-to-wear show for Jean Paul Gaultier. A plus-size model in a show of regular-sized models, Renn was not the politically correct token gesture. Gaultier, interviewed later about his choice, simply responded that she had been picked for the show because she was beautiful. Renn’s appearance caused a sensation, and this kick-started her new career.

If Renn ever had any doubts about moving to the plus-size sector, her fears were allayed when offers began to pour in. High-street names Mango and H&M signed her up for campaigns, plus cover shoots with Italian Elle (December 2008) and Harpers Bazaar in Russia (December 2006). Renn made history by becoming the first plus-size model to feature on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar.

The accolades didn’t stop there. She scored lucrative, long-standing campaigns with high-end department store Saks 5th Avenue in New York, and British plus-size retail leader, Evans. In Britain, she racked up considerable press attention by becoming the face of Evans. It is a brand that has not received much attention in the popular press, but Renn’s appearance on its shop fronts triggered a revival of interest in what plus-size fashion has to offer. By hiring a model of Renn’s calibre to represent them, Evans suddenly got taken a whole lot more seriously. Plus-size modelling had just found its first supermodel.

Image is central to the fashion business, and Renn gave plus-size fashion a much-needed editorial edge. Blurring the line between ‘beauty’ and ‘size’, Crystal Renn exploded the myth that plus-size fashion had to be a compromise. By choosing Renn to represent their brands, these high-street names were giving power back to the consumer, by giving them choice.
By employing models like Renn who apply the same work ethic to a plus-size brand as they would a cover try, retailers took a massive step forward, persuading consumers that they were also being taken seriously. There is serious money to be made for those who get plus-size fashion right, and in these difficult times, failing to connect with potential customers is no laughing matter.

The increase in fashion literacy over the past decade, has seen a significant change in how the public approach fashion; what they buy, and what they don’t. There is a definite shift occurring in how fashion – for all sizes – is being designed, made and sold. Attention to detail and catwalk influences have never been more important: striking the right note can mean the difference between survival and extinction.

Where Crystal Renn fits in is with the overall perception of the plus-size industry. Image is central to fashion, and for too long, plus-size fashion had fallen behind the times. Not only did plus-size stores have to revamp their stores and merchandise to offer a shopping experience comparable to other names that has also upped their game: in order for plus-size to operate on a level playing-field with its competitors, it needed a revolution, and every revolution needs a figurehead. Plus-size fashion needed someone fashion-forward, relevant and above all, aspirational. That is why Crystal Renn’s career has gone from strength to strength. She is the face of a new generation who are refusing to see beauty in narrow, definitive terms.

The idea that only thin can be beautiful is just as dubious as the popularly trotted-out line that only ‘real women have curves’. These ideas are old-fashioned at best, and at worst, unhelpful and divisive. Beauty is not an ‘either / or’ scenario, and approaching it in such linear terms helps no-one feel better about themselves.

Fashion is often painted as the ‘bad guy’ of body politics, creating impossible standards for ordinary women to live by. Leaving aside the issue of lighting and airbrushing (even Gisele doesn’t look like Gisele when she gets up in the morning), the beauty of models such as Renn is that they pose a direct challenge to our own ideas about what constitutes beauty.

It is an important lesson for any woman at any age. Beauty is about more than numbers –when it works, it works, but trying to explain how or why – that’s another challenge altogether. There is a long way to go, but modelling is endeavouring to move forward in a more inclusive way in determining what is beautiful – now.

The weight gain that Renn had seen as being so catastrophic to her career was in fact the very thing that saved it. By learning to live with her body, Renn’s face made her name and her fortune.


Sunday, 1 November 2009


How to become a model

In preparing yourself for a life in front of the lens, it is essential to do your research. By being intelligent in your approach, you can make the business of building a career a lot less painful.

There are a huge number of agencies out there, and doing your research – which agency signs ‘x’ type of model – will save you a lot of heartache. There are many different types of modelling, and if you are not suitable for one, it doesn’t necessarily exclude you from another.

· Be realistic. If you’re best suited to commercial modelling, only pursuing high-fashion agencies will be a very lonely and frustrating experience.
Know your limitations, but also know your selling points. What is it about you that would make a great model? Stand in front of the mirror – pose, pout, but most importantly, assess. Be honest with yourself, and be open to possibilities you may not have considered. High-fashion modelling may be one of the most covetous areas of the business, but many commercial models earn more than their high-fashion counterparts, simply because there is more work to go round.

· Undoubtedly the most important stage in the process to becoming a model is mental attitude. Developing a thick skin is crucial – rejection is part and parcel of the modelling experience. Even the most successful names in the industry aren’t perfect for every single campaign or magazine cover.

· Upkeep is essential. To be a working model, you must be in peak physical condition. Keeping fit is not just about muscle tone, but also stamina – a successful model can often work long hours and keeping fit and healthy is half the battle won. It’s a model cliché as old as the hills, but plenty of water is also a must. It will hydrate your skin, making it healthy, glowing and eminently photographable.

· Being disciplined is fundamental to approaching a career in the modelling business. Focus and discipline aren’t the most exciting tools in your armoury, but if you’re serious about wanting a modelling career, you have to take modelling itself seriously. A model set on reaching the top puts the work first. Partying can wait – most models only have a short window of opportunity, and it’s up to you to make the most of it.

· Be prepared to push yourself – a model’s reputation rests squarely on their previous work. No matter how good you are, there is always room for improvement. No model was born knowing how to create a great photo: it takes time and practice.

· Perhaps the most important thing to consider when thinking about a modelling career is money management. Whether you are just starting out, or further down the line as a more established face, work can be patchy. You can find yourself working around the clock one month, and sitting at home twiddling your thumbs the next. Spend wisely, save what you can and in the early days a second source of income will be vital.
Modelling is rarely 9-5: the hours can be exhausting and the competition for work unrelenting, but the pay-offs can be substantial. Not only in terms of financial reward, but being able to do the thing you love every single day. If you succeed as a model, appreciate it. You’ll be doing something you love for a living, and life doesn’t get any better than that.

How Models Connect can help
Now that I’ve sold you on the dream, it’s time for reality. Getting noticed in the modelling industry is tough. Making yourself visible is no easy task, and it is precisely that which will get you noticed. Models Connect can help you make that progression from ‘aspiring’ model to ‘hired’.
By registering with Models Connect, you can gain access to our list of clients, who scour the Models Connect database every day, looking for a model that fits a particular brief. Models Connect acts as an intermediary, offering regular updates to clients of new Models Connect members who have recently registered. The result? You become instantly visible – and bookable.
Joining Models Connect is a straightforward process. Fill in the online registration form at, and upload two recent photos of yourself: one face-on head shot and a full-length body shot. Choose the shots carefully – they should be taken against a plain background and resist the temptation to pose. Adopt a neutral expression as this gives clients the best chance of determining if you match what they are looking for. Bear in mind that these photos will be the first impression you will make with prospective clients. Take this part of the process seriously as it may make the difference between being booked and being left on the sidelines.

After you have uploaded 2 photos you are happy with, your account will be reviewed by a member of staff within 5 working days of your initial application. Once your application has been approved, a personal booker will be assigned to you and will be in touch.

As a footnote, Models Connect receives upwards of 2000 applications a month, therefore any applications not filled in fully or missing uploaded photos will result in your account being terminated, and you will have to begin the registration process again.

Assuming you’ve filled in all your details correctly and uploaded your photos, what happens next? Your lovely new profile will then appear on the Models Connect database which is viewed by clients on a daily basis. If for example a client needs to find a girl between 18 and 21, 5’8” with red hair, and that description matches you perfectly, your profile will be drawn up in the search and will be available for the client to view more closely.

If the client views your profile and decides you might be worth contacting, they will either make direct contact with you by email, or by sending a message via the Models Connect website. This will be relayed onto you, so you can take further action.

One crucial benefit of Models Connect is that all clients are screened beforehand: you can only be contacted by Models Connect’s trusted and experienced client-base which includes several properly accredited and reputable agencies, and professionals from advertising and media. Building connections is all part of a model’s career, and by registering with Models Connect, you’re getting a head start.

Another benefit of Models Connect is that you are not just limited to sitting around and waiting to be contacted. You can use Models Connect proactively to maximise your own career prospects. You can manage your profile by sending some of your uploaded photos and details to anyone you like, and even go a step further and have your own webpage hosted on the Models Connect website. Self-promotion is nothing to shy away from: it could make all the difference.
While Models Connect offers a new technology solution for models just starting out, there are other less reputable sites and agencies out there and being able to recognise a scam is very important. You want your experience of the modelling world to be a positive one – not one where you end up dejected, discouraged and seriously out of pocket.

How to avoid scams
The key to avoiding modelling scams (Models Connect Scam section) is that if they promise you the earth, their ability to deliver on that promise is set at zero. The top agencies are experts in what doctors refer to as ‘managing expectations’. As you probably have figured out for yourself, there is no such thing as guaranteed success in the modelling industry. The fashion world is notoriously fickle – what is right one week may be out of vogue the next.

When undertaking research, the internet can prove to be your best friend. However, type ‘modelling’ into any search engine and you will come up against some of the greatest pitfalls too. If you receive or see any of the following, avoid like the plague:

· Online invites (via Facebook or any chatroom);

· Companies inviting you to pay large sums of cash to attend an ‘Assessment Day’ with a ‘top photographer’ to grade your suitability for the modelling world.
There is a booming industry catering to the aspirations of would-be models, and it is something you need to be aware of. You will have seen the leaflets - a studio will offer you a professional makeover followed by a professional photo-shoot with a professional photographer. It’s worth noting how many times their literature will use the word ‘professional’.
At best, these studios can offer a day of harmless fun, dressing up and a few snaps. At worst, they can be predatory companies preying on the hopes and ambitions of would-be models. If any of these studios offer you ‘professional’ advice (there’s that word again!) in return for purchasing a set of photographs, turn them down flat. These firms, whatever they may say, have no clout with the real modelling world.

Bear in mind that these makeover studios are in the business of making money, not discovering talent. If you’re still not convinced, refer to the Models Connect Scam section advice on makeover and portfolio photographs ( the difference between a makeover shoot and a fashion portfolio is night and day.

However, modelling is not a totally gratis gig. There are costs that you will be expected to meet:

Travel expenses to and from castings and shoots
Grooming (hair, make-up, skincare, fitness)
Z-cards (these are a model’s ‘business card’ which you would be expected to take with you on any casting to leave with a client). Some agencies will pay for the printing expenses themselves, but others may charge you a fee.
When starting out a career in modelling, it is important to factor in these expenses. Grooming alone is a continuous expense and, at times, expensive.

The thing to keep in mind is that modelling agencies do not charge upfront, but recoup costs once you start booking jobs. They take a percentage of your total fee, and that is how modelling agencies make their money. When you do well, they do well.

Finally, and more seriously, if you get to the point where contracts are involved, be wary and read all legal documents before signing anything. Check credits, check client lists, testimonials – check everything. Don’t be afraid to get legal advice before signing anything – any legitimate agent will not be offended by this.

Most importantly, trust your instincts and repeat after me: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.