An aspiring model, Nicole, emailed me recently and asked "I would like to know how you entered the modeling world and what are some good tips to becoming successful."
Hi Nicole, I entered it with one- foot -in- front -of- the- other and day by day, year by year, after ALOT of work. There was no door or rabbit hole like Alice going into Wonderland.
I received your email and wanted to get back to you. Congrats on your achievements so far. And I am glad my tips and journey as a shorter model inspires you. Being successful as a shorter model means understanding yourself and your assets and how these assets can be translated into print ads, working with products and magazine editorials. Modeling is not just for the tall, but you do have to understand where you fit into the business of advertising. However, most non-fashion lifestyle products are usually modeled by a girl who is not super tall. Take a look in a few lifestyle magazines, notice the cell phone ads, nail polish, shoes, a couch, a sports drink ad, a hair care ad…they are not all Giraffes. With this in mind the next thing to do to be successful, or find your own success, is to understand the area of the modeling industry that accepts and works with models of all heights. Not just tall Giraffes. Commercial print modeling is the best area to pursue if you are shorter than 5’8”. IT is the largest area of modeling actually, however no one but me seems to talk about it!
To do so, the first things you need to do are this:
1. Use your headshot and create a few more catalog like shots that show personality, -print agencies love personality. Samples of shots:
http://petitemodelingtips.blogspot.com/2009/08/commercial-print-modeling-photos-for.html And also study ads you see in magazines where the model is modeling a product and smiling, or showing her personality, expression, at the same time.
2. Make a comp card, you def need one and here is another post on why you do:
I've used www.compcard.com, and other print sources are on the right side of this blog.
Keep in mind, unlike what ANTN shows you DO need tools, and it isn’t about being discovered anymore, it is about you putting forward your marketing tools and submitting them to agencies yourself by postal mail. Most “commercial print modeling agencies” do not have open calls and usually only accept photos in the postal mail actually.
3. I would submit, submit, submit, mail, mail and mail more, it tales persistence. You can also mail talent agents and casting directors. Yes living in a City like NYC means there are more agencies than in a smaller town, but still no matter where you live modeling is a tough pursuit that takes a lot of work, ambition, and effort. And in smaller towns there can be opportunities and locally, actually, it is best to get some experience, if you can.
Here are tips for using the internet as a research tool to get ahead:
1.Don’t use the Internet to flaunt photos. Use it as a research tool to find professional agencies addresses
2. Research also local brands, companies, events, tradeshows, craft fairs, which might be a good spot to meet aspiring designers. Here is another post from my blog on self promotion and photography.
3. Get some experience that is quality and legit, strive to model for a jewelry company in your town, strive to get in a local magazine or model for a local store.
4. Approach only professional photographers and those striving to be professional, stay away from amateurs on the Internet! In a smaller city, for photography try a local college student photographer, go to the school, express your interest in modeling for the class, get some headshots from it.
5.Agencies like to know you KNOW how to model, that you have experience and that experience can get you more opportunities, so be picky about the type of work, photos and people you work with, strive for professionalism even if it takes time. If you aim higher and get more. As I say “it is better to do 3 professional modeling jobs a year that will bring you forward, than dozens of amateur jobs.”
Focusing on getting professional photos will save you hassle, and prevent you from scams. These days there are amateur modeling agencies, amateur photographers and amateur models, and to stay away from this you do have to grab your bootstraps and strive to be more hands-on with your pursuits.
To be successful as a model it takes really a marketing mindset, a perspective eye, knowing what is marketable about yourself, and being realistic, notice how I said nothing about height, it just takes enough will to try in the right ways,
(((There is also a booklet called The Call Sheet, you can find it in the bookstore under the tv magazines and it has a list of casting directors, and agencies. Mostly in major cities. I would not move to another city without some experience first and a back up plan, never bank on modeling at the start since it can be an unstable pursuit.))
Here are some other posts I'd read as well about marketing your self as a model:
If you like reading about modeling, I'd check out my memoir Almost 5'4" and my graphic novel Model Life, I think they will inspire you :)
I hope this helps,