You are a curvaceous 16-year old and you happen to stumble upon a Cosmopolitan magazine in your sister’s bedroom.
You initially browse through absent-minded looking through the fashion trends of the day and you come across an advertisement looking for models.
Your heart beat races. The idea of all your friends seeing you on at least one of these magazines, even if it’s not the cover is exhilarating. Then you doubt yourself
Can you really pull it off? We see the one who make it but never see the ones who fail.
As a male photographer in Toronto I have had the privilege of seeing models who I never really thought would make it, blow up overnight. Back in 2015 I was a poor businessman with lofty ambitions, but little cash. I spent a lot of time in and out of homeless shelters in Toronto despite having been raised in an affluent family, What can I say, bad investments.
Anyway, I got my life in order and I invested heavily in Kijiji and Craig’s list ads to get models to pose with for my Instagram. Not only did this finally bolster my social network but I got to see the modeling and fashion industry at a microscopic level and the truth is this business is the slayer of dreams. Many have said that becoming a professional model is as difficult as getting into Harvard or Google.
But as with all things there are tricks to beating the system. I will tell you five secrets I learnt and still use to help new girls and guys break in the industry:
The standard politically correct view is that we all have model potential in us. And while to a certain extent this is correct. The models that get in tend to have a very low BMI(Body Mass Index ).
Have you ever seen the runway Models. The first thing one can notice is a very long neck. And broad but thin shoulders. This is because a lot of effort is dedicated to looking thin.
Although genetics plays a key role, having that one size fits all physique can really get you in doors regardless of height. Do not forget there are other types of modeling that does not require you being tall.
How can I achieve this?
Models that are serious about their career go on an extensive diet and reduce their carbs and fat. As a result they keep thin and are able to achieve the jobs they want. Consider a daily exercise regimen.
Join a gym and get a trainer that understands the industry. If you are a woman train your lower body, that being your rear, thighs and calves. Also try to work on your upper body, but in moderate amounts. The same stands for males but in this case place priority on the upper body. Having an all rounded healthy physique is essential for success.
Know your style
A unique style is essential to any modeling career. This industry is jam packed with pretty faces so having a look or style that differentiates you from the rest is an added bonus.
Your style is unique to you. It is determined by your looks, your personality and what you wear. The modeling style varies on the location and culture. What is cool in New York, will not cut it in Milan. Remember modeling takes elements from acting. If you can present a product in a confident manner and you have to correct style to match, you will have an edge in the modeling industry.
Do not be afraid to adjust your style. So many times I have seen models that are trapped in the same style. They are boring and vapid. Many companies take them in for a few weeks and drop them because they are not flexible.
Avoid scams the force you to compromise your morals or integrity. So many times I have seen both men and women who are duped into nude modeling scams. These poor souls end up in pornography and other fields. This is not modeling!
Know your style but be flexible with an array of safe options that you can circulate through. Be prepared to act on the spot. Taking an acting class is beneficial as it shows potential agencies that you are serious.
Have a professional portfolio
There are so many times that I see models walk in to casting calls with a portfolio done by their smart phone. These pictures are low resolution and are bad quality in general. As an aspiring model you need to hire a professional photographer or at least trade for prints.
This portfolio should showcase your ability to show case the different styles of modeling as well as clothing and apparel. Modeling agencies have a lot of candidates to go through and often do not have the time or patience for a lack luster portfolio.
As a result you need to bedazzle them with a portfolio or photo spread that is well planned and thought through. Do not be afraid to hire a graphic designer to enhance your portfolio. These added things help to separate you from the group and could land you that job even if you are not the most attractive applicant.
Understanding the industry
The model and fashion industry can be very complicated if one does not arm themselves with information beforehand. There are so many occasions, where I have been to casting calls to vet potential models and the models are not aware of her waist size. Your measurements are important. Few model agents have the time to collect your specifications. Often the list of things one needs to be aware of can be daunting. It is essential that every model has a guide book of what to expect especially when it comes down to make-up and choosing an (MUA) and hair stylist. A model should be prepared to try on different types of foot ware for hours. If Stilettos are uncomfortable, maybe pumps are the best for you. However, always be prepared to diversify.
Like every career you are not only going to get by on your good looks. The modeling and fashion industry is no different. There are many occasions where I have seen pretty faces lose opportunities to the less attractive model. This is because the industry needs people of all shapes and sizes to promote goods and services. Often a pretty face may not be relatable for that type of product or service. This is why persistence is important. Hitting the pavement and always attending casting calls is important because you never really know which company would like your look. Rejection is going to happen a lot. Often it is those models that are able to persevere in the face of adversity generally get the best jobs.
As an agent in Toronto I have seen the land scape first hand and understand the process one needs to go through to make their modeling dreams a reality. If you follow these five steps you should be able to break through within a few months. But the buck does not stop there.
You have to make the effort to continually strive for excellence in the field and hopefully you will remain in the industry for a long time, cheers.