The idea of getting signed to a modeling agency can be quite intimidating. You know you want to be the next Tyra, Cara, or Adriana but maybe you just don’t feel confident enough, tall enough, thin enough, perfect enough? But if you’re serious, you would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t at least try your luck at getting signed. Below are some tips on how to increase your chances with the modeling agency that is right for you.
Know Your Strengths
You might be one of those lucky individuals who takes to modeling naturally and who is effortlessly versatile. For the rest of us, however, we need to use our strengths to our advantage. If you have an amazingly toned body, perhaps swimsuit modeling should be your focus. On the other hand, if you are really tall and thin, runway might be a good direction to take.
All agencies are different so you need to find those that can really market your strengths well. Figure out who the top models are in that area of modeling you desire to venture into, then find out what agencies represent them. After you’ve done this, visit the websites of those agencies and find out their submission and casting requirements.
Flaunt Your Stuff
Lucky for you, more and more, agencies are looking for unique individuals. Your freckles, the gap between your two front teeth, that lion’s mane of curly hair on your head… believe it or not but these are actually assets. These are things that set you apart from the rest and can get you booked.
Make sure your uniqueness is being accurately displayed in your portfolio photos and digital snapshots. If you usually wear your hair curly, don’t straighten it for all of your photos or even for your casting; after all, this could be the very thing that gets you noticed! After you leave the room, the casting directors might say, “She’s a pretty girl but there’s something missing,” when all the while they had no idea you had this unique and beautiful feature.
Get In Motion
Go to as many casting calls as you can. Quite a few agencies have weekly open calls so you’ll want to take advantage of such opportunities. You may also find invitation only casting notices in which case you will have to submit your photos and stats to be considered. If you pass the initial screening process, you will be invited to a closed casting. If they’ve invited you that means they see something great in you. Prove them right, show up and win over their hearts!
Make sure you bring your portfolio and zed/comp cards to every casting, even if they aren’t specifically requested. For women, wear heels and refrain from putting on a lot, or any, make up . Don’t be too flashy with your wardrobe; you’re not going there to get compliments on your fashion sense, you’re going to get evaluated on your looks and marketability as a model. A simple fitted tank top and shorts or skinny jeans (anything fitted that shows your figure – never wear baggy clothes to a casting call, for modeling) for women and a t-shirt and pants for men will suffice. Bring your swimsuit (some agencies request that you wear one under your clothes).
Shake hands, look people in the eyes, speak clearly and be friendly but don’t try too hard. Desperation isn’t cute but just the right amount of eagerness will show your passion and let them know you take this seriously.
If you need a friend to give you a pep talk before your casting, give her a call. If you need to practice your walk the week beforehand, do it. Whatever it is that will help you not second-guess yourself, make it happen. Now’s not the time to be shy. Think of it this way, if there are two people in a room who are both good looking but one has a big smile and the other is staring at the floor, who do you think you would rather get to know? Casting directors are people, just like you; they just happen to have a different job. Get them excited about you!
Try Not to Limit Yourself
Many agencies offer non-exclusive contracts. This is great for many obvious reasons; there are more chances of you getting consistent work and you can still book yourself for your own jobs. Sign with as many quality agencies as you can and prepare yourself for a full schedule!
Go Where There’s Work
Though there are agencies nationwide, the bigger markets will be able to offer better and more frequent jobs. If this is your number one passion and plan for life, you should seriously consider moving to a fashion capital (New York and Los Angeles being the top two in the United States). If you are under age or just don’t have the means to relocate, perhaps it is something to plan for in the future. In the meantime, you might still be able to find an agency within a reasonable amount of distance from where you live. Even if a local agency books models infrequently due to fewer jobs, it will be better than nothing and be another hand helping you get work and experience.
Take Care Of Yourself
There is one thing that is true for any job, the healthier you are the better you can perform. A model who eats well, gets enough rest, exercises, and is generally happy will have more longevity than a model who isn’t. You’re probably heard of stories about models who do drugs, smoke, and don’t eat a lot, or… ever. These models don’t usually last very long. In order to get booked for modeling jobs you’ll need stamina, good skin, healthy hair and nails, and all of your teeth (so… don’t do meth).
Binge drinking with your friends might be fun but it won’t get you work. If you really want this, you’ll need to consider replacing the cheeseburgers with salads. Sure, no one really wants to hear that but there it is, the reality. Trust me, doing what you love for a living is much more meaningful than countless nights of fuzzy drunken quasi-memories and bad choices.
A huge step for any model seriously pursuing a career is getting signed with an agency. Sure, freelancing is fun and you don’t have to answer to anyone but there are a lot of benefits that come with having your career managed. Being represented means you don’t have to do all of the legwork, others are there to make sure you get paid, your safety is taken seriously, and those with more experience in the business of sales can get you the jobs you deserve and want. So, go live the dream, already! What agency do you want to join and why?
Photo Credit: Lola O Photography