How to become a model while keeping your dollars and sense
People are always asking me advice on how to become a model. There isn’t a lot of information out there on “making it” in the industry and I hate the idea of people getting scammed so I thought that maybe I could give a few pointers on the matter. My rule of thumb is very simple, if anyone asks you for money, it’s a scam. I won’t go through my trials and tribulations but I know this firsthand. I know that they are promising you stardom, a chance to make it big, for your dreams to come true but the modeling industry is full of really good liars who want nothing more than to use your dreams against you and take your money. Do not pay anyone to become a success. Trust me.
The easiest thing that I suggest is very simple and free. Every time you walk into an agency they take “digitals”. This is when the model has to strip down to a bikini wearing very little makeup with hair pulled out of their face, back against a wall while the agent takes a simple digital camera and snaps shots of the model from the front, both sides(profile) and back. One shot smiling, the others with a relaxed face and maybe one up close (the others are full length). These will not be your most flattering pictures. The agent doesn’t want to see what you look like all done up at your best angle, they want to know exactly what the real you looks like before any touch ups or crazy makeup. You can have a friend or family member do this for you.
Now that you have your digitals (and they were free!) you will want to do some research online. Look up the best agencies in the world. Read about them, what the models have said, what work they have recently done, even the bad things. There’s no reason not to know every detail about the agency that you want to be with thanks to Google. Do not settle for an agency that you have never heard of with no reputation.
Do you live near a fashion capital? If you are within driving distance to somewhere like Miami or Chicago then focus your attention on those close cities so that you can slowly work your way into becoming a model and if it doesn’t work out then at least you will have kept your day job. If not, look up cities that you could potentially move to. Modeling may become your life and you need to be realistic. If you are completely available then that’s great too. The world is your oyster! Now go online and find the agencies that you are in love with. Every agency has a “contact us” section on their website. Include you photos with your name, age, height, weight (or measurements) and send it to every agency that you would be proud to work with. Consider it like a college application. Have back-up agencies. It can’t hurt to have too many agencies to choose from. What’s to stop you? It’s completely free and if they aren’t interested then they won’t respond. If the agency is interested then they will contact you and if they aren’t then at least you haven’t lost anything by trying.
Remember, you do not need to spend a penny to become a model. Yes, sometimes agencies charge you for pictures, prints, books etc, but a good agency allows to you “borrow against yourself”. This means that the agency believes that you will work so instead of you paying them upfront, they will take the money out of your first pay check. If they don’t want to to do that then they probably aren’t planning on working you and you should run in the opposite direction. While we’re on that note, do not under any circumstances sign a contract until you or your lawyer has read through the entire thing and understands it completely. Some agencies charge several hundred dollars a month, charge you when they update their website (even if your file wasn’t updated), charge your client an extra 20% on top on the money they are taking from you, etc. I have done jobs for $3,000 and by the time I get a check it will be $150. Seriously, don’t be stupid about this. Drag your feet as long as you need to and feel free to say “no” to parts of the contract that you don’t like. Happy hunting!