For models, casting calls are very much like speed job interviews. For runway castings, you may not have to answer any tough questions, but you still need to show up prepared and always be professional.
Many factors go into whether or not you make the show model roster, not just your runway walk skills. Check out some common runway casting call mistakes and tips on how you can avoid making them!
You don’t pre-register. Many runway castings have begun to require you to pre-register before attending the casting, even open calls. By pre-registering, you are making it much easier for the production team and cutting down the time it takes to get your information, which helps keep the casting call running smoothly and on time. By not pre-registering before showing up to the casting, you’re showing the production team that you didn’t thoroughly read the casting instructions and also run the risk of being turned away and not allowed to cast.
You disregard the casting restrictions. Many casting calls have age, height, and/or size limits that they want models to follow. If the casting call lists in its restrictions that they only want models 18 years or older and a minimum height of 5’9”, you should not attend that casting call if you don’t meet both requirements. By attending anyway despite not meeting all the requirements, again, you’re showing that you can’t follow directions and are wasting the production team’s valuable time.
You don’t provide correct or reliable contact information. This is a big one. If you don’t give accurate contact information, how do you expect to get booked for the show? The producers do not have the time to track you down, so if you have a typo in your email or phone number or your email inbox is full, they will skip over you and move on to the next model, who provided accurate information.
You don’t pay attention when at the casting call. The modeling industry is a small world, and I totally get that you watch to catch up with your fellow model friends when you run into them at casting calls. However, it is incredibly frustrating for the production team if you’re not listening to directions or standing where you’re supposed to be because you’re too busy socializing. Instead of chatting with your friends during the casting, try to catch them after you finish.
You don’t follow the dress code. Casting calls have a dress code for a reason. They want to focus on the model’s walking technique and be able to see their body composition. So, when they ask you to wear all black form-fitting clothes, it’s not really open to your creative interpretation. By not following the dress code, you’re showing that you 1. didn’t read the instructions or 2. read them and didn’t follow them. If the dress code isn’t super specific, it’s always good practice to avoid wearing brightly colored clothing, clothing with patterns or large logos, baggy clothing (they can’t see your physique), or distressed clothing (looks unprofessional). The safest bet is to always default to the “model uniform” of a fitted black tank top or tee shirt & fitted black jeans, with no distracting accessories.
You wear the wrong shoes. The dress code guidelines often don’t give many shoe details, but they can significantly impact your casting call. For men, nice clean sneakers, boots, or dress shoes are always great options. For women, high heels are a must. Simple stiletto heels 3” or higher with an ankle strap are best. Avoid wedge-style heels (they make your walk look clunky), heels in bright colors, or with a lot of bling. You don’t want the casting judges paying more attention to your feet than they are to your runway walk.
You go full-glam. Fashion industry professionals know the power of hair and makeup, so when it comes to casting calls, showing up with little to no makeup and lightly styled hair is best. The casting producers will want to see a blank canvas so they know what they’re working with.
You have long/brightly colored finger and/or toenails. Although fun mani/pedi’s and long acrylic fingernails are trending, they are quite distracting at a casting call and are a huge indicator of a non-professional model. Again, it’s always best to arrive as a blank canvas with as little distraction as possible.
You arrive shortly before the casting is set to end. Casting calls are a constant flow of models, and open calls can be pretty hectic, often with very long lines. If the casting is set to end at 4pm and you show up at 3:50 to a line of models still waiting to go, don’t be surprised if you are turned away. If the casting ends at 4pm, that means they are packing up and leaving at 4pm, so they will stop accepting new arrivals before 4pm if it will take them a long time to get through the line that’s accumulated. Always plan to arrive early and be prepared to wait.