Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Should you move to another city as a model? Answered
A shorter girl recently ask me about moving for her modeling, she wrote this: "I’m busy working on my portfolio here in South Africa, but would like to get an agent to represent me in NY, is this possible, if so which is the best Commercial/print modeling agency that you'd suggest? and would emailing them a few pics be good enough"
I replied with sharing insight on how having experience as a model before you move to a new city can be towards your benefit. Also I filled her in with the fact that there are MANY print modeling agencies and talent agencies out there, but print modeling agencies which work with models of all ages and sizes do not typically house their models and talent, and I stressed that modeling is not a stable pursuit in the sense that coming to a new city, or country can be a major risk and letdown if you do not have a backup plan. I love to hear from ambitious models, but having experience, even just a few magazine or editorial or catalog tear sheets is helpful, but most important you cannot up and move without doing your research, confiding in your parents or an adult. If you study for school in a different country or city it could be easier because you will most likely have housing or a dorming situation, but up and moving without a plan and without any experience is not a good idea.
I moved to Miami to model for 7 months, and did prepare ahead of time with mailing my comp cards to agencies but as a shorter girl it wasn't like Elite was welcoming me with a cold glass of water and in my memoir Almost 5'4" I go into the challenge and hardships of trying to survive on a dream and how much self promotion and research it involves to market yourself as a model in a new city.
I am not saying don't move to another city to model ever, but only make that journey if you have a backup plan and have done your research ahead of time on the town, on agencies, on casting directors, etc.
Hearing back from one agency doesn't mean you will be working ALL the time, it is not enough reason to move to another city. Not without a backup plan. Or the ambition to find other agencies to freelance with as well.
In today’s age print modeling agencies have many models to find work for within their roster. The agencies are dealing with achieving the clients needs. And you could go for weeks and even months without a call while even working with an agency.
And also the hands on attention, advice, and assistance is limited at the start, or simply there is not any given within the print modelnig agency. And paychecks do not come every week. So, just know that the pursuit of a model is not always stable. Just a heads-up. Many aspiring models that watch reality TV shows expect this attention from agencies and get discouraged when the phone isn't ringing or the agency is not working them to their max. That is the lifestyle of print modeling at the start, until your portfolio is strong enough to seek more exclusive representation if you want that, but many models model for years and years working non-exclusive with many agencies all at once.
Another thing about working with a pint agency is that: You have to already know how to model and be prepared with your proper professional marketing tools, a comp card, a portfolio -to work within commercial print modelng. You are not trained how to model that handbag, shoe, etc. You figure it out as you go or you wing it, or you just do the very best you can to get the job done with a creative and energetic mindset and personality.
The media and fashion magazines flaunt fashion models, but many models work for lifestyle brands and model lifestyle products but they are not jetset, and I just want to be clear about the lifestyle of a print model. Here are tips on the differences between a print and fashion model:
I think it is best to strive to get professional photos and then get some experience in your own area, even local experience modeling for a local brand or magazine, so that if you pursue other markets and cities you have some experience to use to market yourself with.
It is a growth and the "discovery fairy tale doesn't happen anymore often." The odds of someone in print modeling loving your photos and flying you to the US or another city are slim without experience or already having an established portfolio of work.
Especially if you are at the early stage of your modeling pursuits, it is a grab your bootstraps make it happen for yourself world. So grab your bootstraps and start preparing your headshot, comp card, and keep your goals and dreams but also strive to get some legit experience. Strive to get some opportunities locally to better market yourself to other goals, and to prove you are capable.
Also print modeling agencies in NYC and in most cities accept modeling submissions through postal mail and typically they suggest a model sends a modeling comp card. Emailing your photos might seem like the best, easiest way, but it is not, you will come off more professional, more put together if you make a printed comp card grab an envelope and stamps and mail by postal mail your comp card.
I hope this helps,
P.s: Every week a new Petite of the Week is on this blog, models are not just one size and it really comes down to how you market yourself and what you DO have. If you'd like to be Petite of the Week submit at firstname.lastname@example.org and share how you are making strides in modeling despite your height. Aim high!