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A "born" Artist that works as a Fashion Model and recently started a Fashion Company: SaAm Designs.  I also do Commissioned Oils in my spare time.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

How to become a Model and avoid scams - Part I

So you want to grace the glossy covers of high fashion magazines, stomp the runways, receive worldwide recognition, all, while being paid the big bucks? Who doesn’t? It seems as though these days, everyone wants to be a Model, while thousands more will never have a legitimate opportunity or worse be taken for thousands of dollars! In this multi- series of blogs, I will share my honest advice, experience, and some stories from other Model comrades about how to maneuver through the mean avenues of the sometimes wicked world of Modeling. You’ll learn how to stay smart and not become a victim of a Model Scam! Modeling can be gas money or quite lucrative, it all depends on a million factors, some of which you have absolutely NO control over and some which you do. In this and all forth coming blogs, let’s focus on what you 
can do to make a difference.


 Headshot focused on eyes 
  Head shot focused on eyes


First, if someone walks up to you at a mall with a business card, check it against the Model/Actors Guild: http://www.sagaftra.org/home-franchised-agents list! This list has a nationwide listing of reputable agencies for all categories of Modeling (even Body/Hand or “Parts” Modeling) and of course Acting. If the agent/agency is not listed, it is quite possible that they are a scam or some overpriced school that is masking themselves as an agency, promising you many jobs if you complete their series of expensive classes/training. If an agent or manager asks for money, RUN!!!! No legitimate agent would ever ask for money as payment to be in their agency. The agency’s income is generated by the job/s you book through them in the form of a commission. This commission fee is usually 20% for print/runway work and 10% for commercial, tv, film or video work. If they want you to get photos for your portfolio, they will offer a list of their approved photographers (you may additionally find reputable photographers from the former website given: www.SAGAFTRA.org), but should still allow you to pick your own. They will show you examples of what kind of looks you need for your portfolio, usually giving you a couple of comp/zed cards of other Models in their agency as a sampling.  A comp or zed card is a photo compilation of a Model's work that is printed on a card that is usually 5"x 7" or so in size and includes his/her measurements and their agency of representation's contact information. Sometimes a faux agent will have a scam going with photographers and try to strong arm you into shooting only with them (then they split the $$$). If they are scarily adamant and/or the price seems very high, that’s a red flag that there could be something up. Later, I will go into detail about how to properly vet a good photographer. 
 
A primary mistake most novice Models and even veteran Models make is not knowing, “who their target market is.” Sometimes Models tend to believe the hype that all it takes is beauty or slimness to succeed and everything will miraculously fall into place. Unfortunately, having a career as a Model is a lot more involved then most will ever imagine. It (the business of Modeling) needs to be treated with the same respect as any other job you’d seek out in the corporate world. You would never show up to an interview without first having researched the company you are seeking a job from! The same goes with Modeling. The more you know about Modeling, a client, an agency, or manager, before attending a go-see, casting, or meeting, the better your chances are of getting into that agency and/or booking the job.
 
Knowing your market takes mindful research and some dedicated work. You must know your personal bright points and where you are deficient. Look at 100′s of magazines and/or catalogues, attend fashion shows, watch the Style Channel, read any books about the business of Modeling/Fashion, anything you can to gain knowledge. Check out these websites that allow you to see professional Model's work from around the world: www.Models.com, http://www.artandcommerce.com, http://www.corridor40.com. Find a particular Model that seems to mirror your body and/or face or hair style, thus, a Model that has your look. Be realistic, don’t choose a Model that you wish you looked like. See what kind of jobs, campaigns or commercials this Model tends to get. More than likely, you’ll fit the same type of categories and thus the Client’s tastes. This should be the look you go for in your portfolio shots, as well as, how you should dress when seeking out an agency to represent you. 

Today with the internet (Model blogs, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram), Life style mags, tabloid news, as a juicy source of knowledge, it is easy to research and even track a particular Model to see how she or he may dress on an every day outing and how they style themselves. Putting on a “Model’s face or persona” into your daily routine, further enhances your chance of becoming one. Live/act the part at all time, become the Model. Lady Gaga, although not a Model is a great example of a dedicated performer who is an interesting character whenever she is out in public. Naomi Campbell, who is a High Fashion Model, makes it a point to look like a Model whenever she ventures out as well. Both Ladies are perfect examples of someone that is “being in character” at all times.  

Tune in for the next installment: Part II

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