Taking the modelling world by storm is no mean feat – in fact, it’s an incredibly ambitious career move that is certainly not for the faint of heart. As an aspiring model, you’ll need to develop a thick skin as taking feedback (and sometimes criticism) on board from your clients and agencies will become a part of life… this may seem harsh, but this feedback is what is going to help you grow as a model and ultimately, land bigger, better and greater paying jobs that will increase your profile and help you build a great portfolio.
Like actors, artists and musicians, there can be many years of auditions, casting calls, rejections, highs and lows. That’s why – before you start your dream – you need to make sure to do your research and understand the ins and outs of the industry so that you can make the most of the opportunities that come your way!
First of all, it’s important to understand that especially at the start of your modelling career, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Many models change niches over their career and some models decide that modelling isn’t for them. As such, we recommend keeping a second job at the start of your modelling career to ensure that you have enough money to pay your day to day living expenses without relying solely on sporadic modelling work. As it can take many years to break into the industry (if at all), you’ll need to be realistic about your initial income and the amount of work that it may take to “make your big break” in as a model.
Often, making it big as a model can echo the age old saying, “It’s not what you know but who you know”. Plenty of successful models have extensive connections to directors, casting agents, photographers, designers and other models; all of whom can help them work their way up the ladder as a budding model…. So, get out there and network!
Many models these days are also the children of celebrities, such as Iris Law (daughter of actor Jude Law), Kaia Jordan Gerber (daughter of model Cindy Crawford), Amelia Gray Hamlin and Delilah Belle Hamline (daughters of actress Lisa Rinna) and Gigi Hadid and Bella Hadid (daughters of TV personality Yolanda Hadid).
As such, understanding that it’s not just about looks but connections and personality also comes into play. It’s critical to learn early on that you will not always be the right choice for every casting, and that’s okay! You must be able to deal with this rejection and develop a thick skin. It can be easy to take rejections personally but remember, just because you are knocked back for a job doesn’t mean that you can’t/won’t be successful. It’s all contextual!
Also, sadly not everyone in the industry will have your best interests at heart even if they claim that they do. This is a harsh reality and one that many will struggle to learn (as it’s natural to want to see the good in people and, as an experienced model, take the advice of anyone in the industry more experienced than you) but you must be cautious. For instance, unethical photographers may take advantage of your lack of experience and try to charge you higher rates to take your starting portfolio shots. It’s also important to know about maintaining your health as a model… the modelling industry has a notoriously bad reputation for coercing models (especially young models or inexperienced models) to change their body shapes to fit the industry, but this can come at a cost.
Know and understand your chosen niche, your suitability for that niche and what you’re willing or not willing to do to be successful. Remember, changing your body shape drastically to suit the industry is not only unhealthy (and can lead to lots of health problems later in life) but also doesn’t guarantee you work as a model.
What will assist you to get modelling jobs is to be friendly and personable, work hard, network, be courteous and make the most of the opportunities that come your way.
Lastly, always ensure that you research your chosen agency before you sign up… google them, look for reviews and if possible, ask other models that are signed to their books for their opinions on the agency.
If something doesn’t feel right, then the agency might not be the right fit for you.