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.


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