Monday, October 4, 2010

When the modeling industry won't change you might need to change yourself.

Many girls reach out to me about modeling, and ask me about how to be one, and they share their ambition and desire with me about how they want to model despite being short.  Many are dreaming of being fashion models.  My advice is honest and to the point, fashion hates the short chick. But if you believe in yourself, know your assets and change your mindset to focusing on where real opportunities are for a girl like you. Then you will find yourself going down the avenues that can lead to you modeling work. Facing reality is tough. Facing reality sucks, and it can be so frustraing, but facing it can also lead to results.  So you want to model, and reality TV like ANTM and the media talks about walking, pouting, attitude, but that is just a very, very, very, very small percent of what modeling really is about.

Modeling is about modeling FOR something. And we live in this growing commercial world, where so many products need models, and these products have nothing to do with height to model. Why would you need to be giraffe tall to model a cell phone, a handbag, a couch! So I think the more you open your eyes, notice that modeling is marketing and marketing involves products, you will see that there is opportunity but it is all in how you market yourself.

All types are being used to model products, brands and services in print ads, commercials, billboards, campaigns, product packaging. They are! You just have to notice it!

Wanting to work as a model should include "Knowing where you fit in the industry." And learning about ALL the opportunities out there. 

If your mind is limited to just fashion and fashion modeling agencies and you are 5'2" it is not the industry that will hurry to change, is you! Accepting you and understanding yourself and your assets.

I think rushing is what a lot of girls do.  I hear from girls who have had crappy photos, bad experiences, been ripped off, and mainly I think this happens because they didn't learn about What modeling could be for them, and instead let someone else tell them. I think it is best to learn, study and know yourself and what makes you a good model, and be realistic about it.  So you are not tall, but focus on the assets you DO have, what is marketable about you as a model.  I think a girl has to spend ALOT of time thinking about her assets, what she DOES have before she starts pursuing modeling. And you already have to have confidence, belief in yourself, and understand that fashion is not the end-all.

Ask yourself these questions and do some of this research before you start to pursuit modeling seriously.

1.  What type of products and brands could I realistically model for based on who I naturally am?
2.  We all know about the fashion agencies but are there any "talent agencies" or "print modeling agencies" or "commercial print modeling agencies" in your town?
3. Why would a brand or product or magazine want to work with you? Think about your assets?
4. Visualize the type of photos you need to best market yourself in realistic ways to the type of jobs you can do. Spend time planning your shots. If you do not know what type of shots you need here are some tips:
5. Research print ads and study commercials on TV, notice the models in ads who are smiling, this is print modeling, print models are using their personality to model products.
6. Know about all the areas in modeling, I've worked as a "body part model" for many brands and magazines, using my hands, legs, and feet to model shoes, accessories, etc.
7. Before you even plan a photo-shoot. Know about the model marketing tools you need to prepare to get. And GET THEM! You need a comp card before a modeling agency often in print modeling, I always believe it is best for a shorter model, aka print model to manage her own photography and compcard.  (most print agencies work non-exclusive with their models.)
8. Be prepared to invest in yourself. Paying a professional for a headshot and commercial shots is a good idea. Would an artist just "throw together a portfolio and then try to get representation at a gallery? NO WAY!  Free, winging it, can often mean BAD Quality!!
9. Slow down when it comes to getting infront of the camera. ONLY shoot with a plan that fits your goals. Know your goals ahead of time, know what type of photos you need, don't just figure it out on set, know ahead of time. And be selective about the photographer you shoot with, make sure your photographer knows what print modeling is and knows what type of work a shorter girl can get, rushing brings bad results and is a waste of time and money.
10. Don't expect to get signed, or get anything handed to you, modeling is work, hard work, it is ALOT more than just being in front of the camera. Modeling consistantly takes am ambitiously realistic mindset that is always working.
11. Know what print modeling is and what it means and the differences between print and fashion.
12. Do you KNOW how to naturally model products?  Hold a handbag, model that pen, hold that cell phone, practice because in print modeling, it is a self-hands-on world, and your agency most likely will not teach you how to model. You will have an easier time getting in the door if you already know how to model and even already have some experience. Even modeling for a local jewelry designer or boutique, self promotion is a major part of finding modeling opportunities as a short chick.

Just remember just because you are not tall enough to be working as a fashion model doesn't mean you are limited, infact I think you are able to do more. Fashion models only work until early 20's or so, although some older supermodels are making a comeback, print models are the ones who can work until they are 80!

And if you are still struggling here are some other suggestions on finding an agency and work as a model and getting started and blog posts I've written based on model marketing.

To get opportunities the best thing to do is to: Stop complaining about how there are not agencies that work with petite models or shorter models. Of course not. There are very few. Mainly because their clients don't ask for short models. They ask for a girl with personality, with spunk, with a certain hair color or eye color. And often it is not a 5'2" girl they are asking for. But in print modeling all sizes are welcome because you are being hired more for your personality and how it projects on camera than your measurements.

Also stop saying "amateur model", do not call yourself that. Amateur models do not get hired by real brands, agencies and magazines. Who wants to really work with an amateur model? The sound it is sounds really unprofessional. Aspiring is a better work.

And stop hating being short. Instead notice your other assets.  Ok, you are petite, but you are not short-sighted are you??

Your mind is what will take you to where you want to be, it is all the way you market yourself and think about what the word model really means these days. A lot more than height.


p.s: If you live in a smaller city I would also consider this: Are there any advertising agencies in your city or town?  if you are really struggling I'd see about calling and asking them which agencies they work with for their projects because you are an aspiring print model.

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