Keys to Success

Who wants to be a model? The answer is "EVERYONE." It's true! They might not admit it, but deep down every one wants be a model.

A career in modeling can be financially rewarding and can provide several opportunities for you to blossom as a performer.

The key to success in the modeling industry is to be true to yourself. What is it about the way you look that makes you special? Do not make this decision based on what your mother, your girlfriend or your boyfriend tells you. They will tell you whatever you they think will make you feel good because they love you. But they usually don't know anything about the modeling business.

This brings us to the next question. Why do you want to be a model? Is it fame and money or is it an opportunity to hang out with beautiful people? Whatever your reason is, you have to embrace it and use it as your driving force.

To become a model your look has to be marketable. A corporation would have to believe that your face and/or body on their product will help them increase their sales. Can you the handle that pressure? Can you handle the constant rejection? If your answer is yes, then you are ready.

There are few different types of modeling:

1. Fashion

Fashion modeling is the use of a model to sell clothing. Fashion modeling includes runway, clothing campaigns (which you see in magazines and billboards), catalogue, and showroom presentations.
Fashion agencies have very strict requirements. Female models have to be between the ages of 14-21 and to be 5'9" and above. Male models have to 18 years or older, 5'11" to 6'2" tall and a suit size of 40R to 42R. It is very strict because, industry standard for clothing samples will usually only fit these sizes. Occasionally, an agency might accept models who fall short (no pun intended) of these requirements because they have unusually beautiful faces and/or bodies. The further you are from these requirements makes the more difficult it is for your agency to acquire work for you.

2. Commercial
Commercial modeling is the use of a model to sell products for household or industrial use. These include cars, hair products, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, household appliances, industrial appliances, machinery etc. Commercial agencies have no physical restrictions. Commercial modeling includes TV, print, promotions (e.g. the Budweiser girls) and more. Commercial agencies represent models of all ages, sizes and ethnic backgrounds.

3. Specialty
Specialty agencies usually represent talent with special bodies or body parts and faces. Specialty agencies represent full figured models, pettiest, bodybuilders, athletic builds, or body part modeling

Finding an Agency

Now that you are aware of the different types of modeling, you can now figure out where you belong. I have made available to you, a list of the most formidable agencies in New York City. To be on the safe side, call the agencies before you pay them a visit to find out whether they have open calls. If they do not, then send them a SASE with 3 of your best pictures. Give about 4-6 weeks for a response. If an agency is interested in you, they will call you and set up an appointment. Agencies might get turned off if you hound them with phone calls or go knocking on their doors.

Choosing a Photographer

I do not advise anyone to spend thousands of dollars to get pictures done to get started. All you need are clear pictures of face and body. Industry standard for a photo shoot in New York City (which is usually the most expensive place to get pictures done) is $75 a roll, more if a stylist is hired to bring you clothing.Anyone charging you more is ripping you off. Three rolls of film should be sufficient to get the pictures you need. You need about 4-5 clothing changes to show your versatility.

You should also find test photographers in your area. Test photographers who are usually building their portfolios take pictures of new models for free. In exchange, the photographer has the right to use the photo(s) in his/her portfolio or other publications.

You can get in touch with photographers through friends, parties or simply just looking in the phone book. Set up an appointment with each photographer and take a look at his/her portfolio. If you do not like their portfolio, do not work with them. You have the power. It is your money afterall.

Creating your Portfolio

At the end of your photo shoot, you or the photographer will have to take the film to a lab to get it developed. You should get a contact sheet. A contact sheet has all the images on one roll of film on one sheet of photographic paper. You can then decide which 6-8 images to enlarge.

The modeling industry standard size for images is 9"X12". When you are happy with your enlargements, go to an art supply store and buy yourself a 9" X 12" portfolio to put your pictures in. Remember that a portfolio is a work of art in progress. It has to keep on changing in order to keep up with the changing trends in fashion and the times.