How to Become a Professional
Many people want to become a promotional or event model. Maybe you read about it on the web or had a friend who worked a job and told you how much fun she had; that the pay was good; that it is glamorous and lucrative. Modeling is all of that but it is also extremely competitive. The following is some realistic advice to help you become a professional promotional model.
1. Be honest with yourself. Do you have the look and body type it takes to be successful? Take a look at modeling and agency websites and the models on them. How do you compare? Are you fit? Healthy? Attractive? Charismatic? Friendly? Height is not as important as it used to be but an attractive face, great smile, and fit physique are extremely important.
Also of great importance is that you are outgoing, friendly, responsible and intelligent. Corporate clients don't just want a pretty face, especially if it comes with an attitude. We strongly advise leaving your attitude at the door or face never being rebooked by the same agency.
2. Decide what kind of model you want to be. There are many different types of models including, but not limited to, print, runway, spokes modeling, promotional modeling, plus size modeling, and body parts modeling. Are you curvy or tall and svelte with a European look; girl next door or sexy swimsuit? Make sure you have the look but don't be afraid to venture into other types of modeling. You must take your personality into account as well. That NY City model attitude might be great for print but a complete failure for promotional modeling.
3. Know your measurements and stats and represent yourself honestly. Basic measurements like height, weight, and shoe size are a must. Know your clothing measurements such as dress size, hip, waist, and chest. You must be honest with your resume and modeling profiles. No client or agency is going to appreciate that you exaggerated your height by two inches, only to find out the truth when you show up for the job.
Many models change their physical appearance and you must keep your resume and model profiles updated with your changes. Did you dye your hair? Gain or loose weight? Make sure your photos are up to date and represent you honestly.
Don't let your photographer, or the amateur photo retoucher in you, make too many changes to your photos. Again you must represent yourself honestly. Waxy looking skin and altered curves aren't doing you any favors.
4. Develop a professional portfolio. Find a quality photographer and setup a photo shoot. Fewer better images are better than a large selection of poor ones. Today, many photographers will perform what is called a trade for print or trade for CD shoot. This is a photo session where the model does not pay the photographer and the photographer does not pay the model for their time. They each benefit through improving and adding to their portfolios.
You must have quality images in order show yourself off in the best light. Again, take a look at model and agency websites and the quality of the photos other models are posting to represent themselves. Never submit a photo of yourself, taken by you, in a mirror reflection; you must find someone, a friend or family member, to take some photos of you. Ask yourself, why would a client be interested in a model with poor quality photos, one that doesn't take her profession seriously enough to get them made, when there are many models to choose from that do?
5. Contact modeling agencies. You will never become a model if you don't put yourself out there. You have nothing to loose by submitting yourself, accept a few minutes of your time. Agencies typically frown on phone calls or spontaneous visits, they are simply contacted by too many males and females. Unfortunately, everyone thinks they are a model and agencies are contacted by sometimes tens of thousands of candidates a year. It is not possible or necessary to get back to everyone of them. If an agency likes your look they will contact you or accept your profile. There is no need on your end to follow up with them.
Have your ducks in a row before you start contacting modeling and model staffing agencies.You only get one chance to make a first impression so by following the steps mentioned previously (photos, knowing your stats, etc) you will better equip yourself to make a better first impression or enable yourself to fill out an application more completely. This will increase your chance of being accepted by an agency, and eventually, be contacted for paying jobs.
6. Be accessible. If you have signed up with and been accepted by an agency, they now have your information on file. Make sure you have included a primary phone number and email address that you frequently check. Many times a model may use a secondary email address that she rarely checks and will miss out on opportunities. It is also important to proof your profile for typos. One wrong character in an email address or a digit in a phone number could prevent you from be eligible for that dream assignment.
You must also answer your phone or return messages as soon as possible. Agencies often work on tight deadlines and clients want to know immediately if talent is available. Holding off on returning a phone call or email by even a couple of days can often loose you the job. Your responsiveness is a reflection of you and your professionalism. You may be portraying an impression that you don't care or are not reliable by not being timely. Positions are typically filled very quickly.
7. Don't burn bridges. You did everything right; had a professional photo shoot, filled out a complete and accurate profile, responded timely and landed your first job with an agency....only to be ill-prepared. You show up late, can't find the booth or contact person, need to finish your makeup or forget to introduce yourself because you are a bit frazzled. You didn't ask what your responsibilities were and feel awkward, and it shows. You did ok, nothing majorly bad, but the client is left with a neutral to poor reaction to your performance. The agency asks for feedback and the client fills them in. The agency went out on a limb for you, recommending a model they had never worked with before and then they receive poor feedback. All the effort you put in to getting a job is now wasted because the chance the agency will use you again is slim to none.