Monday, 30 August 2010


Preparing yourself for a career in modelling is rarely a simple process. Regardless of whether you want to be a fashion model, or work for catalogue, plus-size or the fitness sectors of the industry, there are a number of steps that are crucial to consider before you even step inside an agency.

Models Connect, in addition to offering free model evaluations, also offers realistic and industry-savvy advice on what agencies (not to mention clients) are looking for.

The first step is probably the most important. Modelling is already a crowded industry, and to make your mark it’s crucial to know which part of that industry you will be targeting your efforts on. After all, if you have the perfect build for fitness modelling, schlepping to endless fashion castings will leave you feeling utterly miserable!

Look at yourself in the mirror and assess. Measure your height, waist, bust and hips. Be honest as this will determine what sort of model you will become. If you’re over 5’8”with a face and body built for high-fashion like top model Lindsey Wixson [pictured], then that type of modelling could definitely be a possibility for you. If you want to get into plus-size modelling, height is also a factor but you will need to be at least a UK size 12. If your height is an issue but you have good even facial features and excellent hair and skin, then the highly lucrative avenue of commercial modelling may be your best option. It’s all about assessing your best features – try to imagine yourself through an agent’s eyes. What are your selling points? What makes you unique? This will go a long way to making sure you start on the right path and end up with a modelling career that’s tailor made to your strengths.

The next step is to start safeguarding your assets – that’s you by the way. If you haven’t already begun, make grooming and healthcare an immediate priority. As well as taking care of your hair, teeth and skin, make time for exercise. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to go mad spending hours and hours at the gym (and with high-fashion models in particular, being too muscular is a big no-no). Focus on a combination of light cardio and stretching work (eg: yoga or pilates): this will give your body a toned appearance on camera which is especially important for sports or lingerie modelling as there’s nowhere for poor muscle tone to hide!

While overhauling your body, don’t leave out your mind. Models Connect advocates that you think of yourself as a valuable commodity: no-one wants to hire a model that’s never on-time for bookings, unenthusiastic and bored (and not afraid to show it). Modelling is first and foremost a business, so think about what clients want: a model that’s focused, enthusiastic and committed to delivering excellent results. Also prepare yourself for the downside of modelling, as you will definitely encounter rejection at some point. It’s nothing personal, as it really does happen to everyone, even the most successful models in the world have not been right for a casting at some point in their career. Rejection may hurt, but the great thing about modelling is that you never know what the next opportunity will bring. Be open-minded: one booking very often leads to another. Treat every booking (regardless of who it’s for) like it’s the best job in the world. Sounds corny, but the client will be impressed with your attitude, and word will spread.

The next stage is approaching modelling agencies. Models Connect offers excellent advice on finding reputable agencies. It also pays to do a bit of sleuthing yourself: find out who your favourite models are signed with and visit their websites. Most agencies will clearly state their preferred method of contact from would-be models. Some allow you to upload a recent photo of yourself onto their website with your personal details, others have Open Days where anyone can come through the agency doors and be assessed in person. If you need to provide a photo, bear in mind that what’s needed isn’t a pricey portfolio shot. All you need is you, a friend and a digital camera. Take a simple head-shot (head and shoulders) and full-length shot (head to toe) against a plain background. Keep your dress simple (vest and jeans are ideal for both sexes), and keep hair pulled back off the face so agents can see how well your features photograph. Don’t grin for the camera (at least not this time!), just keep your face in a neutral expression and that’s all that agencies really need to determine your suitability as a model.

Good news – an agency loved your head-shot and wants to sign you. Congratulations, you’ve officially become a working model. But this is where the hard work begins. Going to castings (or go-sees) is a major part of being a model. Think of them as mini job interviews, but with better shoes. For castings (unless you’ve been specifically asked by the client to dress differently) think back to how you presented yourself in the photos you sent to the agency. This is perfect attire for castings. It won’t distract the client, and it shows you off to your best advantage, because it signals to the client that you understand what’s required of a professional model – sending out all the right signals is surprisingly easy once you know how. It should go without saying, but being on time is a big part of being a model. When everyone else is ready to start a shoot but you’re running late because you slept in, that’s not good. Just remember: time is money.

The final note is very simple: to get to the top takes more than simply looking the part. To become a model requires more of you than simply just good genetics. You need to be dedicated, hard-working and always ready to self-improve. No-one ever got to the top by resting on their laurels. Go back to the start and think about not what the modelling industry has to offer you, but what you can bring to the modelling world. When you have the answer, you’re ready to become a model.


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