Frequently asked Modeling Questions
Do you really have what it takes?
Generally speaking, the industry is always searching for a particular “look.” Having a great face, excellent physique, bigger-than-life personality, etc. are more than helpful assets when starting a modeling career – they are requirements. Experienced models will tell you that personality rates more than looks at almost every go-see (model interview) or casting.
Especially for runway and editorial assignments, a distinguishing characteristic can also make a difference. That can be anything that separates you from the crowd; your ethnicity, personal style, sensuality, sense of humor or anything unique about you that make you truly stand out at a casting. You need to make the camera your new best friend and above all for male models – no small town modesty or obvious inhibitions, please!
How do you find your “Niche” in this business?
There are different “markets” within the modeling industry that are all looking for different types of models. The markets are generally broken down for males into three major categories:
Runway & Editorial – recruits slender males with a well-proportioned body type; at least 6′ tall; usually between 16 and 25 years of age; evokes a little “attitude” and strong self-confidence; ability to live and work in Europe for most of the season; possesses unique characteristics that give them that “European look” that dominates the fashion runways of New York, Paris and Milan. Editorial assignments are all about exposure for a model in major international fashion magazines. (Vogue, Details, V, etc.) Editorials are not ads but rather featured stories on fashion so the models need to be able to play a visual role in each assignment. The right editorial assignment can launch as model’s career.
Advertising or Commercial Print – recruits from all age groups, looks, shapes and sizes depending upon the demographic requirements of the advertiser. Male models working the catalog and print market can work well into their later years of life. Print assignments can focus on fashion or on product. Whether it is an ad campaign for Ralph Lauren or for Rolex watches, this market has countless opportunities, pays very well and for the most part, goes more for the “boy next door” type of model. Models are paid a “day rate” for shooting the images and often additional “usage fees” for each medium their images appear in. (posters, catalogs, billboards, mailers, etc.) Catalog work often starts a new model’s career in print and includes major retailers like Abercrombie, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Saks, J. Crew, etc.
Fitness or Athletic – requires an obvious “six-pack” as part of a well-defined body, good looks and “soap star” type of demeanor. Since fitness models are booked for fashion assignments and product lines, the “body builder” types are actually not sought after as fitness models. Models need an athletic look without being too bulked or too defined. Most assignments in fitness are for major brand campaigns. The editorial possibilities in magazines like Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, etc. pay very little and go more for the body builder types rather than the more proportioned male fitness models.
Will I make it as a model?
No one can answer that question for you. Modeling is a highly competitive business. Looks play only a small part in a model’s ultimate achievements. Personality, dedication, professional demeanor, people-skills and above all, perseverance are often more important than looks.
There are common traits among today’s successful models. They include “yes” answers to questions like:
- Do you like a lot of attention, enjoy being in the spotlight and on camera?
- Do you feel you are not overly modest about your body and have few inhibitions?
- Do you spend more than the average amount of time grooming yourself each day?
- Do you enjoy “looking your best” and maintaining a great ward robe?
- Do you like making money, traveling and meeting people from all parts of the world?
- Do you have 20 hours each week to seriously devote to interviews and developing your career?
Where you live plays a role in your success as a model. Models based in New York work more frequently than models living in Salt Lake City. New York is a great market for high-fashion models (Runway & Editorial) with experience but, it is a tough market to break into as a new model.
Print markets like Chicago, DC, Dallas and Miami offer good opportunities for new models living in those areas. Clients will fly experienced models in for assignments from anywhere in the world but, are less likely to want to expense travel costs for “new faces” that have little or no experience in the business. If possible, start booking assignments first in your own area. Follow the guidance of your representative.
If you are a “new face” your representatives may need to negotiate your initial rates, push for more magazine or editorial exposure to get you noticed and otherwise take time to develop you as a professional male model.
It is never an overnight experience and requires dedication, professionalism and persistence from you. Always, its requires counsel and guidance from industry experts so follow the advice of your representative; avoid online advice from “unknown” or self-proclaimed experts and remember, unless friends or family have direct experience in the modeling industry – limit the amount of advice you seek from people outside the industry.
How important is a model’s portfolio?
In person, your looks and personality provide an art director, photo editor, booker or photographer a quick sense of who you are and how your looks match the criteria of the assignment they are booking. Your portfolio (images) shows them how your work in front of a professional camera and as a paid model, what you can bring to the assignment. Your photos will actually be the key determining factor in getting work.
Images can stay with you a life time. New models should photograph only with “nationally published” photographers and always under the direction of their agent or representative. As tempting as offers of “free photography” can be, avoid Internet solicitations and offers from amateur photographers at all costs. If you want the rewards of a professional modeling career you may need to expense a few dollars to test with agency-quality fashion photographers. It is all about building your book!