How To Become A Model
I am writing this because I can’t even express how many times a day I am asked for this advice. Be warned - it’s probably going to end up being a long one.
Step 1 - Building a portfolio
Avoid the scams of ‘model platforms’, a so-called-agency who tells you they can help you with your modelling career and bring you in for a photoshoot and then try to charge you hundreds or even thousands for a portfolio. Join a couple websites like purple port or model mayhem and find photographers who will shoot TFP - time for print. Basically the model gives their time for free and the photographer gives a copy of the pictures to the model. The standard of people you work with will improve as you improve as a model, remember that to create really great pictures you need a really great team. It is not enough to be pretty or to have a great makeup artist. A photo is a collection of work and so much more goes into it than most people realise.
Step 2 - Snapshots
Get a friend (who is not totally clueless) to take some snapshots of you. Find a plain white wall in your house, you shouldn’t wear make up in these shots, hair should be down and natural. Wear a bikini (if you’re over 16) or jeans/leggings and a plain tight vest top, take a couple full length shots, front on and your profile (side view), close up of the face front on, profile of the face (tie hair up or push back behind the ears), lastly a shot of the waist up, I usually include a smile in this last shot. In the other pictures you should have your face relaxed, arms down by your side.
Step 3 - Agencies
Apply to agencies, do your research on them first to find out if they suit your modelling style. Some agencies are more editorial and some are more commercial. Find out what is best for you. Send in the snapshots you took to them and then follow up the next week with a walk in (details to be found on each agencies website however most have walk-ins between 10 and 12 or 12 and 2) with some of your best portfolio shots you have so far. It is better to take only a few pictures rather than 20, especially if 10 of them are bad. 3 or 4 good ones are more likely to impress than a big book of half-arsed work.
Step 4 - If agencies don’t respond
Don’t be disheartened, I worked as a freelance model for many years before signing with an agency (who I then left because they didn’t get me enough work - some people work better alone). NETWORK. If you’re going to succeed in this world you will need to learn how to network and market yourself appropriately. Find a way in to the model parties, make friends with any models you meet as they can introduce you to casting directors or other photographers. Join model groups on Facebook, look for castings and apply for them yourself.
Step 5 - Rates
If you work freelance or are non-exclusively signed you will need to come up with rates. Now this can be different for commercial or editorial modelling so get a feel for what other models are earning, your pay will increase with your experience. You will most likely be shocked at how little money is actually in the fashion world, don’t be discouraged. It gets better, trust me.
Step 6 - Persistence
It took me a couple years of portfolio building before I started getting proper paid work. It took me a little while after getting paid work to realise I was being underpaid and still being taken advantage of. This can be a fickle world to be a part of but when in doubt ask for help. The models aren’t nearly as bitchy as the TV makes them out to be, I have some great friends who I’ve met in the industry. In fact this industry saved me from a poison far worse than a few jealous girls. Trust people, stepping on toes will not help you reach the top.