I hear this common theme from young models: “I’ll get an agent and do modelling”.
Here’s the thing, though – It rarely works that way.
Sure, some models, particularly in the past, were scouted off the street or applied to an agency and then the agency signed them and made them famous. But the game has changed.
Now agencies want to sign models who have a proven, quantifiable chance at success. This means that you, as a model, are no longer competing against other models with just your looks. Now you are competing with your portfolio, connections, experience and, increasingly, your social media audience.
So if you’ve tried to seek representation and you have been rejected, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I REALLY have “the look” as opposed to being just good looking?
- Am I over 177cm tall?
If you can honestly answer “yes” to those two questions then here is a formula to get yourself signed.
It’s time to face a brutal truth. However good looking you are, you need to keep working on it. You are about to attempt to break into a world where you are competing against the best of the best and every day they’re working at being even better. You need to be the best version of yourself you can be.
This means you must:
- Maintain a healthy diet. That means always, not week-on-week-off. Speak to a nutritionist if you aren’t sure.
- Adhere to an exercise regime. Get a personal trainer. Tone. Be fit.
- Preen. Hair, skin, nails, body hair… It all needs to be maintained and ready to photograph at any time.
- Style yourself. Dress to impress. Your clothes don’t need to be expensive or extravagant, but think about your outfit.
Your model portfolio is, as far as clients are concerned, a comprehensive account of your skill set as a model. If they can’t see a particular expression, pose or shoot style in your folio then they will assume you are unable to do that. For this reason you should be building portfolio through creative collaborations until there is nothing you haven’t done. When you’ve achieved this you should go back and re-shoot these images even better.
Maintain a printed portfolio that you can physically carry with you and hand to a potential client. Also maintain an online portfolio (website, instagram, etc.) to which you can direct people with whom you are not meeting in person. Keep these portfolios current. Out with the old, in with the new.
Experience and Connections:
Work with new teams. Meet new people. Collaborate. Buy coffees for marketing directors, photographers and other influential people in the industry. Pick their brains, listen to their requirements and take their advice. Attend events, make new friends and wave to ones you’ve already made. Immerse yourself in this business. It’s a scene. Be in it.
This is frustrating and quite a new issue, but it’s increasingly a consideration in the hiring of models. We have been seeing recently, clients will hire a model with inferior ability and less appropriate aesthetic if they perceive them to add value in providing exposure to another audience. This basically means that all models now need to be social media influencers as well. So here’s what to do: Get good at social media. Right now Instagram and Facebook are still the main measurables. Snapchat is also in the mix to a lesser extent. Grow your following, engage your audience by being interesting and leverage that to appeal to an agency and/or clients.
When all this doesn’t work and you are still rejected by model agencies, ask yourself: “Did I REALLY do all of those things?” Because I’ve never seen someone who didn’t have success after doing all of the above.
I was going to end with “good luck”. But luck really has very little to do with it. So… Work hard.