I want to be a top model

In this article you will find answers to the following questions:

  • What personal qualities do I need to be a model?
  • What marketing tools do I need to be a model?
  • How do I find work as a model?
  • How do I find an Agent?

I want to be a top model

Models use their bodies to help others create beautiful images, whether it is on the catwalk or in glossy magazines. Your body is your tool and as is the case for all craftsmen you need to look after your tool and know how to use it! You can't be a successful model just by relying on your natural good looks to get you by.

It takes a lot more work than is apparent when you are looking at those magazines and admiring the images inside them.

Only a small number of girls wanting to be successful models actually are. It takes a lot of hard often exhausting work to achieve even a small amount of success. You have to be prepared to travel, work long hours and suffer a lot of rejection, as while one client may love you, another may not. It really depends what they are looking for and whether you fit that bill. You may also be flavor of the month one season and yet find a few months later your look is so 'last season' and you have to work to keep ahead of the game.

What personal qualities do I need to be a model?

  • Looks - Imagination
  • Determination, persistence and passion
  • Professionalism which includes punctuality
  • A thick skin and nice demeanor
  • Industry knowledge
  • Networking skills
  • Action plan
  • Find work!

Looks and Imagination ? Create a unique look for yourself, something that makes you stand out in the crowd. There are a lot of pretty girls, but if you offer something different you can create a demand for your services rather than having to meet an existing demand.

Determination, persistence and passion

The road to being a successful model is not an easy one and you have to really want it to have the stamina required to persevere. Despite it's glamorous appearance working in the industry rarely is and you need to know what you're letting yourself in for and think long and hard as to whether you really want to do this. Once you've made up your mind, stick with it, and don't quit at the first hurdle.

Professionalism and punctuality

Always arrive 10 minutes early for every appointment, including go-sees. When you have the chance, watch other models at work and see what tips you can pick up about how to move, find the light etc.

Look after your skin, hair and nails and ensure you eat healthily and maintain a healthy weight. Unfortunately the model industry can go through unhealthy phases in terms of the type of look they want to use and this can lead to models developing eating disorders in order to slim down to an unnatural weight for their frame. Be sensible when modeling and consider the image you are portraying in your pictures and always look after your health first, work second. Get lots of sleep and try to exercise regularly.

Don't turn up for a shoot late, half asleep or worse for wear after a night on the town. Say not to drugs and don't overdo the alcohol. None of it is good for your skin, health or your public image!

A thick skin and nice demeanor

A models body is their tool, so be prepared for to have your body and the way you move it criticized. This will likely happen more often than not and so you need a thick skin.

Meanwhile, your personality is as important as your looks when it comes to getting work. If an art director has to choose between two equally talented models the job will go to the girl with the pleasant disposition. No one wants to work with a moaner or someone who pulls a hissy fit when they are kept waiting, have to work in uncomfortable conditions or doesn't like what they're wearing!

Industry Knowledge

You also need to know about the industry you work within. Make yourself familiar with the top names in fashion, design, modeling agencies, art directors, photographers etc. The names will be 'dropped' and looking 'blank' will do you no favors. Also knowing a little background to the people you may be working with always goes in your favor. People who are successful don't wish to be treated like a nobody by a nobody!

Networking Skills

As with anyone who wants to get ahead, you need to network. Make as many useful contacts in the 'biz' as you can. Always be polite, ditch the attitude and foster relationships with clients and photographers etc.

A Plan of Action

Write a list of goals and set out to achieve them. Decide the market you want to work in and investigate the route you need to take to work in that area of modelling.

What marketing tools do I need to be a model?

  • A composite card
  • Professional looking Photo Portfolio
  • A web presence

A composite card is a single sheet of paper that has a head shot printed on one side and more photos and your vital statistics on the back. This is usually 5x7 black and white glossy pic. You give this composite card to photographers, art directors, casting agents etc. They will keep this on their file and refer to it when looking for talent.

A Photo Portfolio is equivalent to a CV and is absolutely essential, you cannot expect to be taken seriously as a model if you show up to an agency for an interview without one. They can be expensive but they are an investment in your future and if they help you to get work then they pay for themselves in the long run. Your agency and photographer will help you to select the best pics for your portfolio.

When someone is interested in you they will want to see more photos and this is when you need your portfolio. It should contain a variety of photos and tear sheets showing what you have done and your 'look'. You need a couple of technical photo?s just to show your 'look' and face and body shape, so you need a good clean head shot and a couple of full length shots that show your body shape. The rest of the portfolio should be filled with more exciting pictures that have that 'wow' factor.

Web Presence

You can get your own website, a blog and a MySpace account. All of these can be used to raise your profile and let others see what you are about and your versatility as a model. There are some free model listing sites but they seem to be few and far between and may vary with regards to what they offer for free.

How do I find work as a model?

You can either work with an individual agency that will find work for you or you can try to find work yourself as a freelance model.

As a freelance model you would have to find your own jobs and may sign non-exclusive contracts with several agencies. This will involve a lot of hard work on your behalf and you may find you would prefer to sign up with an agent instead.

How do I find an Agent?

To find local modelling agencies:

  • Check the yellow pages of the phone book under Modelling Agencies.If there are none in your area, you may need to search in the closest city.
  • Look on the web, as there are lots of agencies listed. Be aware that you should never have to pay to join a reputable agency.
  • Check you local news media (newspaper, TV), as often they will advertise or there will be articles about existing models and the agencies that hire them will be mentioned with contact details.
  • Radio is also a good source as again they may be running a story on a model and may interview people from the various model agencies. They may also run stories on dodgy model agencies, so make a note of those so you know who to avoid!
  • America?s Next top Model

    If you want to enter Americas next top model contest, check out their rules for entry here:http://thecw4.trb.com/community/contests/wttv-indystopmodel-rules,0,4484696.htmlstory

    Finally

    Be very wary of being approached by people claiming to be scouts. There are a lot of scam artists out there. Make sure whoever approaches you is listed in a directory. You can also check them out with the Better Business Bureau. They may have information on the modelling agencies you are interested in and any complaints against them. It's not a foolproof source but it's better than not checking them out at all.