The first piece of advice I would give is, be realistic. I'm not shooting you down. I just mean, if you're not a size 6-10 or over 5'8 then you are going to find it hard. Just because, the industry has conditioned itself to these requirements. But I'm not saying don't try! I'd suggest you to find a particular section of the modelling industry that you would like to contribute to, and go for it, just bear that in mind. There are various different sectors including: high fashion, commercial and glamour. Those are probably the most well known. I'm going to touch upon the first two.
|Freja Behr Erichsen|
Editorial: This is the hardest to break into. This type of modelling usually involves runway shows and campaigns in high fashion magazines. Specific requirements are key to being successful in this portion of the industry. It usually means being 5'9 and above, and being a UK size 8. However, those are the basic requirements. You may be 6'0 and a size 6, and you may still not be right. Your look might not be right for one agency/photographer/designer but it may be perfect for somebody else! It really does vary and people's perception of what you have to offer is different. Plus, it's not about necessarily being 'pretty.' It's about having a different look. People always categorise and say 'Well you can't be a model you're not pretty.' That's such a loose interpretation of the industry! Agencies want people who visually look different, who don't look the same as everyone else. So don't ever think, I'm not pretty so I can't make it. Remember, looking different is what makes you stand out, and when you stand out people remember you. Which is exactly what an agency wants.
Commercial: Although this is less prestigious than editorial modelling, never the less you can still make heaps! It involves modelling for everything from shampoo to jeans, and from perfume to health care insurance! This section of the industry offers more leeway compared to high fashion modelling, as the size, height and age of the models doesn't matter as much. There is no catwalk involved in commercial modelling, as effectively you are the face of a brand. You appear in print advertisements, magazines, on product boxes etc. Thus, why size and height usually doesn't matter. It entirely depends on what you're modelling. For example, a company advertising dentures aren't going to want a young, buff male model. They're going to cast people who fit the brief! Plus, the fact that there is a continuous creation of new products being brought out constantly, there's always going to be something that someone needs to promote, hence where us models come in.
The next step is building up a portfolio. A portfolio is a collection of images that showcase your abilities and your work. It is good to have a mixture of different types of shots in your portfolio, to show your diversity. Portrait and full length show your body and face as a whole, and let clients see what you're capable of.
But whatever you do, please don't pay for a fancy portfolio! You can get professional shots for free, by collaborating with local photographers and taking part in fashion projects in your community. Just search for people, fashion pages, photographers or fashion groups in your local area and get involved! That's exactly what I did. I looked around on the internet for castings of fashion shows and went on my own. I turned up, unsure at first as to what I was supposed to do, but that's the beauty of it. You learn and gain experience. You can work with photographers for free, on what is known as a TFP basis. This stands for 'Trade/Time for Prints.' You can build up a really strong portfolio by doing this, without the need to pay hundreds to a person who would do exactly the same thing!
So, when you've found the people you want to work with, it's always a good idea to know how to act. If you're meeting a client for the first time remember:
- Be on time: It's never a good idea to turn up late, especially if you are working with this person for the first time. Punctuality is key for establishing a good rapport, as you've turned up when you're supposed to, getting the session to a good start and keeping everyone on track. If you are going to be inevitably behind schedule, it's always good to drop them a text/e-mail or call them, apologising and saying you'll be there as quick as you can.
- Be polite: Nobody likes a diva. You can't come onto the set and start stomping around, giving marching orders and being stroppy. Modelling involves a lot of waiting around, which is boring and tiresome, however it is part of the job. You might be waiting for the others to finish in hair and make-up or you might be waiting to go in. There might be a delay in weather conditions, anything could affect how the schedule was meant to pan out, and all you as a model can do, is wait. Also, remember modelling is about creating someone else's vision, not your own. You might not like what you're wearing, the make-up or your hair, but it's about working what you've been assigned and generally just getting on with it. Be humble and talk back, engage in conversation and show your personality. People will be more likely to hire you if you were nice to be around, cooperated well and were good to work with.
- Appearance: If you're going to a photoshoot, make sure your hair is clean and free of products, with nothing done to it unless specifically asked. If you have curled your hair and laced it with hairspray, it may not be what the client wants for their image. Just leave your hair natural and they can then do with it what they like. In terms of make-up, don't wear any! (Or fake tan either! Your skin shows up an off yellowy colour on the camera, which tends to annoy the photographer as it means hours of retouching in photoshop.) There's no point wearing a full face of make-up just to get to the location when, again it probably won't be the look they're after, and it will waste time when the MUA has to take it off. Just make sure your face is clean, and is moistured to create a good base for applying make-up. A good tip, it's best to take with you facial wipes. Just in case the make-up is slightly crazy and you don't want to go home wearing it! So basically, turn up to a photoshoot as a blank canvas, ready to be moulded.
- Castings: If you're going to a casting for a fashion show, the above rules all apply. However you can get away with wearing a very thin layer of make-up. I would usually recommend just some concealer and mascara. This makes it easier for the casting agents to see your natural beauty. In terms of your hair, tie it up in a pony tail or bun. It's best to get your hair away from your face and neck so that people can see your bone structure and face shape. Clothing wise, wear something that shows off the shape of your body. They usually ask you to wear skinny jeans and a vest top, with heels to see how you can walk. Again, when you go in, be yourself. Smile and introduce who you are, showing off your personality.
- Contacts: It's a good idea to promote yourself, enabling people to get hold of you and book you for jobs. Make an e-mail, just for modelling. It keeps it separate from your personal e-mail so it's easier to realise when it's a potential client trying to contact you. Use social networking to your advantage. Facebook and Twitter allow you to post and promote your images and portfolio, making them available to see to a wider and broader audience, again increasing the likelihood of bookings. It's also a good idea to make a website. It allows you to easily display all of your work in one place, and looks professional when displayed on a business card. A business card is also a good way of getting your name out there. You can take them with you to events/casting/photoshoots and give them out to clients, enabling them to contact you in future.
Modelling is all about promoting a healthy body image. Therefore use the philosophy 'your body is your temple.' You never know when you are going to be asked to model for a client, and so you need to look your best at all times. This includes skin, hair, nails and eyebrows.
- Skin: Breakouts are inevitable, unless you're a robot whose skin doesn't product sebum (The skins natural oil) then you're going to get spots from time to time. The best way to take care of your skin is to wash it every morning with a facial cleanser. Splash your face with warm water to open the pores then use the cleanser, not scrubbing too hard. Use your fingertips and exfoliate the skin using small circular motions, concentrating on areas that tend to get greasy the most, such as around the nose, forehead and chin. Afterwards rinse with cold water, this closes the now clean pores, preventing immediate build up. It's always a good idea to follow this with a toner. Apply to cotton wool and sweep over the face. Follow with a light moisturiser so the skin doesn't become dried out. Another tip: Always take your make-up off before bed. Sleeping in make-up over night can cause the pores to become blocked, increasing the liklihood of getting spots.
- Hair: Having healthy hair is always a positive. It's easier to style if you have no dead ends. Go for regular cuts every 6-8 weeks to ensure that the hair continues to grow and is free from split ends. If your hair is coloured, keep up with your roots which inevitably show up on camera if they're too grown out. Once a week it is useful to use a deep conditioner to nourish the hair keep it strong and healthy.
- Nails: Medium length with no nail polish, except usually clear, is usually what is asked for. Stained nail beds or half picked off nail polish isn't a good look. Make sure you take off all old polish, file the nails and make sure they are clean underneath.
- Eyebrows: Keep your eyebrows tidy by plucking them into a neat shape. You know what works with your face and what you are used to so stick to that. Top tip: Use a bowl of hot water and cotton wool. Squeeze out the cotton wool and apply to the eyebrows before plucking. The heat will open the pores and soften the hairs, making it easier for you to pull them out.
Diet and Excersise
You'll feel a lot better, both inside and out if you eat clean and do regular excersise. Drinking plenty of water will aid the skin, nails and hair, helping to keep them healthy and strong.
Eating better will reduce the liklihood of you getting spots from eating foods higher in fat, in turn again helping your skin. Plus, you'll feel less bloated and better for eating clean.
Excersise will help in more ways than you think. You will have a better sense of well being, in addition it will increase your endurance levels, great if you're shooting all day/travelling, you'll be able to last all day! Plus you'll be able to increase your flexbility, enabling you to create a diverse range of poses.
Overall, it takes a lot to be a model. It's not all glamour and glitz, being served on a throne all day whilst people pamper you. It's hard work. There's lots of travelling, waiting and long days. It's being out in the cold, it might be raining, you're shivering, you hate your outfit, you're tired...but you work it. You perform the best you possibly can to get the shot that your client wants. That's the attitude that will get you bookings time after time, and will help you to succeed in this industry. It's the perserverance and determination in someone that prevails over their looks anyday