If you’re new to spearheading your own modeling career, my guess is you’re probably wondering where to start. Depending on where you live, your look, and your discipline, this may be easy, require quite a bit of leg work or be close to impossible. But, let’s assume you live in a booming area, have a marketable look, and are marvelously self-sufficient. The following are a few ways you can go about finding the right gigs for you.
Visit the most popular free modeling and classified ad websites such as Model Mayhem, One Model Place, iStudio, ModelManagement.com, Models.com, Purestorm and Craigslist and search the talent and casting notice boards for modeling jobs. Some sites may require for you to create an account, others will provide contact information so you can send direct email submissions.
When emailing, contact the authors of the most promising ads and send photos; at least one headshot and one full body shot. Depending on the job, your photos might not have to be professional but should be tasteful and truly represent your current look. Don’t send photos of you when you were 20 pounds lighter, for example; the client will find out when you show up for the job and this could cost you that and future bookings.
If you have one, send a resume. Even if you only have a little bit of experience (such as walking in a local unpaid fashion show or modeling for a friend’s school art project), sending a resume shows your professionalism and you will stand out from the many others who think a blank email with a few selfies attached is a good way to go. It is not a good way to go.
Before submitting yourself, always follow the rules of the ad and include the requested information. If you don’t have any experience, be honest and mention that in your message along with a nice brief, but friendly, greeting. Lastly, always thank the recipient for her consideration.
When sending submissions, practice caution and never share personal information such as your home address!
Spread the Word
Mention that you are interested in pursuing a modeling career to people in your family, social group, and even to classmates and co-workers. You might find out that someone you know knows a photographer, experienced model who might be able to help, or someone in the fashion industry. My English professor, in college, had a friend who owned a company that put together fashion shows. He gave her my contact information and that’s how I began my modeling career.
If you don’t have enough professional photos for a comp card, make sure to get some business cards made so you can pass them out to people you know. Free business/networking cards can be ordered at Vistaprint.com. If you have a ModelMayhem account or website that displays the photos you do have, make sure to put the web address on your cards. If you don’t have a website, simply include your name, phone number and email address with the word “model” under your name or list the types of modeling you are willing to do (i.e. print, runway, promotional). Once you start building your portfolio and have created an online modeling account or website, you can get new cards. For now, however, you just want people to have a way to contact you. If you are willing to pay for cards, design one that shows your photo so that people have a better chance of remembering you.
Join A Group
Browse Meetup.com for different groups you can join in which like-minded individuals plan meetings and fun events. You will have to create a free membership, to use this website. Once you are signed up, do a search in your area for different fashion, modeling, and photography groups. Some groups require that you send them a message and request to be added to the group, in which case it is up to the administrator to decide if you are worthy. Once you are signed up with a meetup group, stay up to date with the events that are being hosted. These opportunities are perfect for networking.
Look through your local newspaper or online press paper (if you live in Southern California, check out publications such as San Diego Citybeat, San Diego Reader, Pasadena Weekly, Ventura County Reporter). Find out when and where local events are taking place that involve fashion, photography, and art. These industries often draw crowds from each other as they are often linked in the professional world. Now all you have to do is show up to these events, cards in hand (figuratively speaking), smile on face, and network until your heart’s content. You might get modeling opportunities offered to you on the spot but most likely you will form business relationships that will help you down the line.
Don’t forget to grab business cards of any photographers walking around shooting the event and let them know you model or are interested in starting to do so!
If you don’t hear from your new contacts within a reasonable amount of time (say, a week), it might be a good idea to send a friendly email re-introducing yourself and attaching a headshot and full-body shot with a resume. Mention that it was great meeting the person and that you would like to be considered for any modeling opportunity that the person feels might be a good fit for you. If the person is not responsible for bookings, he might keep you in mind when he hears of an opportunity from someone else.
Now that you have plenty of ideas, it’s time to get busy. That pretty face of yours isn’t going to book itself. Well… if it does then you need to get yourself over to an agency, asap!
What are some things you have done to land modeling gigs?
Photo Credit: Lola O Photography