How to start modeling

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Hello

Welcome back, or just welcome if this is the first time you’ve ever come across a post of mine.
Either way, I’m happy to have you read along.

I like making new years resolutions, and one of them was to start writing more. I wanted to start this year by sharing more about modeling as a career. Before I got into this industry I was very curious about it; not too many people talk about their experiences. The main question I get, mostly from young girls, is:

How do I start modeling?

So let’s begin there.

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First, I like to be annoying and answer that question with another question;

Why do you want to get into modeling?

The reason I ask is not to kill your dreams or to talk down on you; its because I genuinely want to know what drives you to want to model. Most of the time, people have a perception of what modeling is, and it usually doesn’t line up with what it actually entails.

Some of the answers I’ve gotten, with my responses:

1.Because I want to travel

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Good point.
An important motivation for me as well, before I got started. Thing is, modeling has become very competitive and you will most likely be asked to pay for your own travel expenses and accommodation. For me, that wasn’t an issue because I had the financial means to start. Once you begin working, you make that invested money back. When you are young, however, most people won’t really have that ability. Unless your parents are willing/ able to help out; you’ll need to ask an agency to pay those expenses up front. They won’t do that if they don’t see their investment returned, so if they don’t think you as a model will make them any money they won’t pay for anything.
Nobody is going to pay you to chill on a yacht in the South of France because you’ve got a pretty face.

Unless you do some extra “stuff”, but that isn’t modeling. I don’t judge, just not my cup of tea.

2.Because I want to be rich

HA
HAHAhahaha
Ok. Sorry.
If you want to make money- don’t become a model. Plain and simple.
I’ve struggled a lot to make enough money to take care of myself whereas I made more money on a consistent basis in my hospital job. Sometimes you don’t work for WEEKS, and you have to hope a big job comes along that pays for your expenses for a while. The longer I’m working, the easier that has become. Especially the first three months were very rough for me. I lived off of savings and small blogging jobs. I highly encourage models to get side jobs, even if they have enough savings to be financially stable. This is a very short-lived career, and there’s a much higher likelihood of you not booking work than booking some big paying L’Oreal campaign.
Of course; the fact that those big paying jobs even exist are reason enough to keep going.
Don’t forget about your other talents and find other ways to utilize your unique strengths in order to make a decent living – just in case.

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3.Because I want to be like Gigi Hadid/ Kendall Jenner/ Insert Instagram model name here

This one is closely linked to my previous answer, but I wanted to go into this separately for a reason.
Those Instagram famous models aren’t models anymore. Not in the traditional sense. They’re like celebrities.
Celebrities make their money in different ways. For example: they get paid to promote or endorse a brand, they get paid for interviews or they get paid to attend events. All of that is pretty awesome, but that’s generally not how a model works and gets paid.
Kendall and Gigi had their start because of their families being involved in reality TV. They both had the money to pay experienced photographers to do shoots with them. Besides; Gigi had been working since she was a child. She most likely had very good connections in the fashion world already. I’m not hating on either of their abilities as a model, but it’s not realistic for models who start from nothing with no money to expect to turn into a Kendall or a Gigi.

There are a lot of good working models who you’ve never heard of, though,  and probably never will.

Models represent a brand. They’re a face of a company for a certain time. You’re replaceable, and after that campaign has run its course you will be replaced.
It’s the name of the game.
A good model is a chameleon; he or she is able to transform their looks for various brands for a long time. You have to be willing to move to a market where you work best at different times of the year.
Brands are looking you up on social media as well. If you’re posting butt picture after butt picture in an attempt to gain insta-fame, it’s very likely that certain brands will not want to work with you.
You actually lose out on real jobs by doing that.

(I’ll get into social media and the pros and cons of it in a future post)

4.Because I want this guy to fall in love with me

The last one I’ll get into. Surprisingly, this one is more common than you’d think. The girls who get into the industry to impress a dude never seem to last very long.
Models aren’t sexy, not all the time anyway. People hear the word ‘model’ and immediately have this association of insanely good looking people. Don’t get me wrong; a lot of models are very pretty. That goes without saying. Don’t ever put your value as a person into your job, though. That’s how this gets to your head.

When I wake up in the morning I’m not some magical Disney princess because I happen to model. I look like a dried up prune, just like everyone else. 
Good morning.

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Getting into a very competitive and sometimes dangerous profession to impress a guy you’re into is not the way to go.
I can say firsthand that the guys I’ve genuinely been interested in did not like me modeling. At all.
Especially swimwear and underwear shoots, and I try to keep those to the bare minimum if I’m not being paid anyway. They also pay horrendous rates when they are paid, so that doesn’t really motivate me either. Unless it’s a Bananamoon or Billabong campaign (which are fun, happy and smiling shoots that pay well), I’d rather not.

In my experience, guys who were into the fact that I modeled turned out to be the scummiest people ever. They didn’t like me for ME, and that is not a nice feeling. You don’t want those guys to like you.
Trust me.

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All in all, I don’t want to steer anyone away from their dreams.

 If you  are aware that a model is basically someone who is hired to make clothes or products more appealing, you’re ok with the job uncertainty, you know it’s not half as glamorous as its made out to be and you still want to get into this career anyway; then go for it.

 I highly urge you to wait until you’re at least 18 to get into it, though, and always with an agency.
Agencies guide you and help you to build a solid foundation for a career that will last.
They know what works in their market and other markets. Research a few reputable agencies in your area, call them up and ask them if they do open calls. In my opinion, its always better to meet agencies in person to get a feel for who they are.
If they don’t do open calls, they’ll most likely ask you to send in a few basic images.
Like these;

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I wouldn’t send in anything in a bikini, just plain black on black will work just fine. They want very clear images, and a lot of agencies are asking for an intro video now as well.

Other things they’ll want to know are your age and height. I wouldn’t really bother with measurements, they will call you in if they’re interested and take them at the agency when they start working with you.

Don’t expect to be working in your second week, and go into it with care and caution. There are a lot of people who prey on the innocence and vulnerability of young girls who are starting out.

It can also be a lot of fun, though, and I’ve met some incredible people from all over the world.
When modeling works and its done right, its fantastic.
Just know  what it is that you’re getting into.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out.
I’m also just giving my opinion and perspective, keep that in mind. Every model has their own experiences and personal ideas.

All the best and speak soon.

Liz

xo

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2 Comments

  • Brittney Bearden

    What agencies are good for beginners. My dream is to become a model and I’ve been trying to reach out. Any advice will help.

    Thanks bunches,
    Brittney

    • lizz

      Hi Brittney,

      Thanks for your comment, I hope you’re well!
      There are a ton of agencies out there, its best to start with one that is closest to you. The agency doesn’t care if you’re just starting out, they are supposed to guide you with your career 🙂 No need to worry. I’d start by looking into agencies in your city or nearest big city. Call them up and see if they do open calls, its always better to meet with them in person.

      Best of luck!

      xo
      Liz

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