Featured image: My Name is You by Joeyy Lee
I think we can all agree that starting anything new is scary, especially pursuing a new career path. The good news my loves – I am here to help you on your Model journey! If we haven’t yet met – Hi! I’m Kate. Your girl next door Aussie model, Model Coach and new BFF in the industry.
The world is an ever-changing and evolving landscape, including the fast-paced fashion and Model industry, and the road to becoming a Model isn’t as straightforward as it used to be. I’m all about sharing professional and reputable industry knowledge and advice and I’m really excited to help you out and set you on your journey. From my 10+ years working as a Model and my 15+ years working as a branding and marketing specialist, the below list will point you in the right direction for where to start.
What Is a Model?
The best place to start learning is by defining what being (working as) a Model actually means. One of the reasons it is important to understand why definitions matter is because the way we define things helps determine how we think about them. And it always helps to know exactly what it is that you’re getting yourself into and also who you’d like to be working with and for throughout your career.
Your reality check: you need to be more than just ‘pretty’ to work as a Model. *Gentle reminder that you are very awesome though!
Truth bomb: Modelling is 20% looks and 80% business.
Professional Models have a very underrated skill set in that they are aware and have trained/developed over time the necessary skills to operate their mind, body and soul as a business. What do you need?
- Efficient and proficient skills to communicate effectively and respectfully
- Ability to research, pitch and meet (to ultimately) sign with an Agent/Agency
- Organisational skills and preparedness to “sell yourself” at a Casting
- Networking and building connections to book & maintain consistent paid work
- Ability to talk to anyone and handle rejection like a boss
- A clear and concise schedule to maintain your time, brand, career & self development
- Awareness of your emotions and triggers and how to self manage them
- Possess the knowledge to maintain a healthy relationship with: food, fitness, work/life balance, social media, friends & family.
- Sound administrative and financial management skills to keep on top of your working obligations.
Further Reading: The list goes on! I explore more of these insider tips here: Free Model Tips.
Confidence comes from feelings of well-being, acceptance of your body and mind (your self-esteem) and belief in your own ability, skills and experience. Models are confident because they ‘do the work’ every day. When you are more educated on the industry you’re getting into, the more confident you’ll become with your abilities, and more knowledge you’ll have in order to maintain your look.
Research Model Agencies Before You Apply
One of the important first steps to becoming a professional Model involves signing with a reputable Model Agency (this can also be referred to as a Talent Agency). Before taking that plunge, remember to take some time to research the different agencies that are out there, as they have different requirements for how to approach them and standards they expect you to meet to be eligible for representation.
Before we go any further, it’s a responsibility of any working professional in the creative industry to be readily open and transparent about the dangers, red flags and warning signs of model scams. The hunger (and a lot of the time – sheer desperation) for exposure, fame and fortune has led many aspiring models and their parents down the garden path to disappointment, being ripped off and abused. Don’t let this be you, learn what to be on the lookout for.
Further Reading: Avoid being exploited or a target of a model scam. Learn How to tell if a Model Agency or Model Opportunity is Legit.
Looking into the agency’s founder, company history, the people they represent and their social media content can help to give you a feel for the agency itself before you apply. Having that extra knowledge, to pitch yourself to the right target market, will also increase your chances of success.
Professional Model Insider Tip: An example of pitching yourself to the right Agencies is taking note of who/what you have and are. If you want to work as a Fashion Model though you’re shorter than 5’7 (and the industry standard is 5’9+), look for Commercial Model Agencies and you’ll have more success.
Further Reading: For my Australian readers, I have compiled a list of the Top 20 Model Agencies in Australia for you to start looking into. Enjoy!
Create a Strong Model Portfolio
There is plenty of misleading information out there and I’d like to clear this up with you while you’re here. When you’re new, inexperienced and starting out in the Model industry, you could potentially think that you need to ‘build a portfolio’ (meaning you have to book and pay for numerous photoshoots) to then be eligible to call yourself a Model or apply to an Agency.
Professional Model Insider Tip: You only need DIGIS to start.
When you find an Agency that you’d like to apply to (you can apply for more than one), you’ll need to make sure you meet the submission requirements. Nine times out of ten you’ll only need professional DIGIS – makeup-free, unretouched photos that showcase how you look in real life and highlights your inner beauty.
Avoid submitting filtered photos from social media or selfies (these will be rejected), and if you can’t afford to hire a professional photographer to get what you need for an Agency submission, you can always look around to see if you can find a professional in your local area to get what you need.
As you go through your Model career you’ll want to expand your portfolio. This will come when you book paid work (add those tearsheets to your portfolio) and when you have some downtime (ie. are between clients), you may wish to do your own ‘test shoots’ with Photographers that you’d like to collaborate with.
Professional Model Insider Tip: Having an online portfolio is another great way to advertise yourself.
Take Care of Yourself Too, Boo!
When everyone is hyper-focused on your appearance, it’s hard to remember sometimes what’s underneath it all—you! Balancing your lifestyle (how you nourish and move your body) to maintain your physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing, all play a vital part in your success in the Model industry.
Like any profession, your Model career will also have its many ups and downs—it does for everyone, and this is normal. Listen to your body and advocate for yourself when needed. Surrounding yourself with positive influences; detoxing from people, places and situations that are no longer serving your peace or progress; will take you places.
I hope you found this article helpful and useful. Dreams don’t work unless you do… so work hard, stay safe, and always be courteous.
Ps: this is a quality guide and I don’t mind you sharing it. I’d appreciate it if you follow standard professional etiquette and please quote + credit my content appropriately when you do:
Want to Learn More?
I created The Model Masterclass because I have BIG dreams of helping aspiring models make their way into the industry.
The Model Masterclass combines everything I’ve seen and learned, working as a business consultant and model, and built it into a comprehensive and easy to follow, knowledge-packed playbook, focused on helping YOU get into the model industry and thrive. One thing I know for sure: no matter your age or background, there has never been a better time to start something new based on your unique gifts and personality! All you need is wifi, a little strategy and someone to show you the way.
Are you ready to go pro?
I believe that life is about creating yourself. Dreams only work when you do too! Your model career should be authentic to you, sustainable and profitable. I’m here to help show you how. If you’re looking to level up your model game, you’re in the right place. With knowledge comes confidence. Everything you need to know about establishing yourself as an authentic creative, the professional way, the first time can be found at The Model Masterclass.