So you want to be a model (part 1)
This blog has been months in the making. Every time I write something, I come across as a bitter and twisted individual with very harsh views on the modelling industry. But I think this is with good reason, so read on if you have any interest. If you don’t, just keep scrolling and look at the pretty pictures.
Every week, I get a few emails/messages about modelling. “Are you looking for models?”, “I want to get into modelling, can you give me some tips?”, “I’ve been scouted by an agency, is it a reputable one?”, and more questions just like this. And every time, I do all I can to give the truth.
And that’s where I look like an utter bastard.
The media today (and in a way, I suppose I’m part of this problem) tends to glamourise this line of work. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to have people fussing all over them, doing their hair and make-up, dressing them in killer clothes and generally making them feel like a million dollars? The cold, hard facts make for different reading.
If you wanted to be a hair stylist, you’d train. If you wanted to be a police officer, you’d train. If you wanted to be a teacher, you’d train. Hell, if you wanted to work in McDonalds, you’d train. Can you see a pattern here?
I know a raft of gorgeous women, and most of them will tell you they’re not models. And what’s the problem with that? I’ll tell you – there isn’t one. I drive a car but I’m no Sebastian Vettel. I can’t say I’ve lost any sleep over it.
The long and short of all this is, if you want to get into modelling, you need to practice. And when you’ve finished practising, you need to practice some more. Standing in front of a camera and looking pretty is not modelling, that’s just standing in front of a camera and looking pretty. Modelling is a job, and much like any other job, you need to be good at what you do for anybody to take any notice of you. Work hard and learn from others. Research. Read. Watch. Absorb.
I’m not going to stand here and say you’re not suitable, that’s not up to me. What I or my clients find appropriate might not be somebody else’s cup of tea. Fashion, catwalk, glamour, alternative, plus-size, petite and more – it’s all there and somebody will always need a certain look. But you need to be on top of your game. We all learn as we go along but if you put in the effort to begin with (and keep up that hard work), you’ll be giving yourself a massive advantage over the rest of the pack.
One more thing, and this bugs me quite a bit. There will be some models out there that completely disagree with me on this, and that’s cool – but this is my blog and my viewpoint. Don’t get into modelling if you’re just doing it to “boost your self-confidence”. As you start out, for every job you cast for, you’ll get turned down for 99% of them. When you become established, this may come down to 90%. Think about this – can you cope with being rejected time and again? You’re going to be judged purely on your looks, plain and simple. You may be the most amazingly warm, funny, caring person in the world but that rarely counts for anything. If you have self-confidence issues, that’s not something you should be bringing to the table, especially when this business is all about confidence. I know I’ve been a bit sweeping with that statement but don’t expose yourself to pressures that you don’t need to. Self confidence comes from self worth, and you won’t necessarily find that in a photography studio.
OK, I’ve slated pretty much everybody who wants to be a model, so what’s next? Actually, I haven’t. All I’ve said is you need to work hard if this is what you want to get into, and make sure you understand how much hard work it actually is. Believe it or not, I’m on your side. I’m always happy to help but you have to meet me halfway.
I’ve offered no real answers here, but that’s to come in the next couple of blogs - I’m not going to criticise and then offer no answers or solutions, that’s just a crappy thing to do. But in the coming weeks, I will be ranting (for your benefit, trust me on this one) on a whole host of subjects, including portfolios, modelling agencies that aren’t really agencies, why you shouldn’t work with any old photographer who offers to take some photos of you, and more.
Like I said, I am on your side.