How I Got Into Modeling
Growing up, I was always told I should go into modeling because of my height. However, the thought of becoming a model never seemed too enticing to me. The only experience I had behind a camera were the annual Christmas portraits my brother and I had to take as a gift for my grandparents. Hating every minute of this tradition, I never thought I’d enjoy modeling.
Surprisingly, this all changed my freshman year of high school. My friend won a contest with a local photographer, and not wanting to do it alone, she asked me to go with her. Heading into this experience, I did not expect to get much out of it. However, it was this experience that ended up changing my life. After the photoshoot, I continued to work with this photographer. Eventually, he recommended I look into joining an agency. Soon after, I signed with a local modeling agency going into my sophomore year. Being a signed model brought a lot of opportunities. The biggest opportunity for me came that September when I was asked to participate in the national ad campaign for a prominent bridesmaid’s wear company. I traveled to the Hamptons, stayed in this cool Airbnb, and had the opportunity to work with the most amazing people. This experience brought me more exposure than I ever thought possible. I was on a life-sized poster at Bridal Fashion Week in NYC, featured in the company’s look-book catalogue, website, and emails, etc., and a featured page in “BRIDES Magazine”. Being able to go to my local CVS and find myself in a national magazine was a truly incredible memory I will never forget. After this experience, I continued to work, doing a little bit of runway as well as working with an online boutique in my area. As time progressed, I realized my agency was no longer beneficial for me, so I unsigned. This ultimately, was for the best and I do not regret it to this day. Since then, I have continued to model, independently, without being signed to an agency.
- Just Like Any Job, Modeling Has Requirements
The modeling industry is VERY precise with it’s standards. Your height and measurements are the deciding factors in getting into decent agencies and booking jobs. Shockingly, being 5’7, I was very much on the shorter end of the height spectrum. Since I was not signed with a top tier agency, my height did not cause too many obstacles in getting jobs. The only time I really had issues was getting runway jobs. For runway, it is almost essential you be 5’9 and up. For commercial jobs, the same standards apply, however, they are not as strict. Generally, however, the height range for models ranges from around 5’8-6’0. Regarding measurements, standards vary depending on the individual or agency standards. Agencies also take into factor how your complexion is without makeup and your natural hair. Also, they will not sign an individual who has a similar look to another signed model. Ultimately, every agency has a different vision in mind when it comes to their models, therefore, standards may vary.
2. Modeling is a Job; You Should Not be Losing More Money Than You’re Making
I think we have all come across that kiosk in the mall that chases you down to get you to join their “modeling agency”. This is a perfect example of agencies that aim to scam you. These agencies claim you need to pay an absurd amount of money to build your portfolio as well as other unnecessary payments. You NEVER should pay for a portfolio. When applying for an agency, all that is required of you are clear photos. You can easily get away with taking these photos with your iPhone. Your portfolio is ultimately, built through continuous work. If struggling to book jobs, an easy alternative is to do “test shoots”. Just like models, photographers need to build their portfolio. Therefore, it is easy to find local photographers who need models to shoot. This is a mutually beneficial experience as you both get pictures to add to your portfolio. This is a much better alternative for paying for a photographer to take these photos. Since modeling is a job, you should aim to save more than spend.
3. Building Your Portfolio is Key
Jobs are booked based on your previous experience. This is all documented in your portfolio. A basic portfolio should contain a headshot, a full body picture, and a side view picture. A good portfolio contains a wide array of different jobs. If any of your work has been published, it helps to document this in your book.
4. Get Used to Rejection
Rejection is something every model has to deal with. Even big name models get turned down for jobs. This is ultimately, due to fact that every job has different specifications. I faced my worst rejection when meeting with a agent from New York. She told me that in order to be signed with a big name agency, I would have to loose a half an inch of my waist. Happy with the way I am, I did not take this to heart, nor let it affect me. Through all of this, it is essential you do not let people in the industry’s opinions affect you.
5. Modeling is Not for Everyone
With such strict requirements, modeling is not for everyone. For those who do not meet the “desired standards” of modeling, there is a toll. In these cases, you’ll ultimately lose more money in the end. Therefore, it is important to fully research what you’re getting into before you sign any contract.