I get asked this question all the time : How do I become a Model?
Great question – big journey! First things first, modelling is fun, adventurous and challenging, so you need to be up for almost anything!
There are a few different ways of becoming a model: through an Agency or as a Freelance model – and both have their plusses and minuses!
If applying to an agency, try these:
Go-See’s: Most agencies have opening times and walk-in times, where potential models can approach an agency without an appointment or allocated time. These are usually written on the agency’s website, or you can give them a call and they can tell you a convenient time. For example, Chadwick in Melbourne is open only via appointment, however, the Sydney office is open every Wednesday, from 10am-12pm for walk-ins.
Online Applications: This might be the easiest way to find the right agency. You simply upload a few images of yourself, enter the required measurements and wait for the agency to get back to you. As MAX Models (the agency that I own) doesn’t have a public office, this is the way we accept applications. Typically, this can take a day or two, or even up to a week. When I applied to Chadwick, I received a phone call that afternoon to come in for an appointment the next day – just to give you an idea.
Email: Every agency will have an email you can send your images to. Make sure your images aren’t too big, and your measurements are included. Don’t forget to include your age and your location. Very important to give the agency more information, as opposed to less. If you show that you are organised and professional, they will be more willing to work with you. No one likes to work with lazy folk! When submitting your forms to an agency, it is important to have your correct measurements as they will measure you when they see you anyway. Don’t lie!
What do you wear to an interview with an Agency? If you do get a call back, ensure you dress appropriately. Less is definitely more! Dress to your shape (it helps if you know your shape also!) and don’t go over the top. Keep it simple! And good luck!
If you don’t get any feedback from an agency, never fear. I didn’t for years, and worked as freelance model for myself. Here are some of my key points as a freelance model:
Marketing: It is very important in this day and age to really apply yourself to your brand, and market yourself as a true professional. Social media plays such a big role in this, and will really help to boost your career and profile. Be careful though – having lots of ‘followers’ and ‘likes’ doesn’t exactly put money in your bank. Be real, and be realistic. Market yourself to brands you want to work for.
Website: Get one. Don’t have one? Use my website man, Joel. He is the absolute epitome of professional, honest and trustworthy and he won’t leave your wallet empty. A website is the number one professional platform you can possibly have as a model. Learn how to use it, update it and keep your followers notified of your journey. How can people contact you if you don’t provide an email or a contact form from a reliable source? Your instagram account is not always the best place to advertise this. If you want people to take you seriously, get a website.
Test Shoots: Do these well, and often. Many photographers will need test shoots too, and will be looking for models to work with on a free basis for both parties. This is a great way to build your book! Ensure you ask around and do your research though – don’t get stuck in a situation where you aren’t allowed to bring a friend or must do implied or nude shots (unless you want to) once you’ve arrived. There are plenty of people whom try to take advantage of models with not as much experience as others, so don’t be a victim. If the photographer has a website with more images (other than their Facebook page) you can see if they are professional or not.
Model Websites: Websites such as Starnow, Model Mayhem and the likes, are great for smaller jobs, and the occasional large job. Be aware though, that they do cost money annually to be a part of, and often advertise ‘time for’ (free) jobs that may not lead to anything other than ‘exposure.’ Again, ensure you stand for your brand and market yourself away from ‘free’ jobs. $20.00 an hour for an online look book is not worth your time.
Know your worth: Freelance is hard. You may work more often, but you will work for less money. Don’t let a client tell you that because you don’t have an agency, you aren’t worth as much – usually they are just trying to cheapen you and knock down your confidence. Trust that you know your worth and your capabilities as a model.
Remember that modelling requires certain physical elements – Height being one of the biggest ones. Most agencies have a minimum height of between 5’7-5’9. They generally can make a lenience to the rule for good proportions of models, but it is certainly not a given. Don’t be disappointed if you are not at those heights, but remember there are still other opportunities. You might’ve just not found the right agency yet. When in New Zealand, I went to see four agencies, and had to chose the right one for me. It turned out 62 Models was the right agency, but it might not be for others (you can read about it here). You just have to do what feels best for you!
Don’t be disheartened. It is hard and it can be a struggle. And don’t expect too much too soon. Modelling takes a long time and requires patience and discipline. But if you stick with it, you can guarantee yourself some brilliant photos, memories and relationships! Just look where it has bought me – a lover, friendships, international travel and one hell of a good time. Lucky (and hardworking!) me!