Reasons for Agency Rejection

If you’re a model, chances are you’ve applied to a few agencies by submitting yourself to their online application page. If you’re lucky, they answered and set up an interview with you, but most of the time you don’t hear anything back at all. Sometimes, you may receive an email back with the general statement of "Sorry, but you are not a good fit for our agency at this time" which is nice because you don’t have to keep waiting for a response, but doesn’t give you much feedback on why you’re not a good fit.

Photo by Jeremy Ellsworth

Because agencies are so particular about what they’re looking for in a model at any given time, it is very important that you don’t take the rejection personally. I know that is much easier said than done, but you have to remember an agency is a business. Just because they said no in that instance, it does not mean no indefinitely.


More often than not, the agencies are not very clear on why they will not be extending a contract to you, which usually leaves models with unanswered questions about how to improve their chances the next time around.


While each agency is different and will have different preferences in what they look for in a model, there are a few common things that could impact your success rate when submitting to agencies. Below I lay out some common reasons agencies pass on models for you to keep in mind next time you’re submitting.


1. You don't fit their requirements

This is obviously something you have no control over, and is something that varies from agency to agency and constantly changes. Most agencies will have a few requirements listed on their submission page that give you a little bit of an idea of what they’re looking for. If they state that their minimum height requirement is 5’8” but you’re only 5’5”, you can almost guarantee that they will not be interested in signing you. While there are always exceptions, most of the time these requirements are based on what their clients want in a model, so a model that is only 5’5” wouldn’t be getting many/any bookings from that agency.


This is not the same for every agency though, so you may find an agency that has more commercial based clients that don’t have such strict height requirements where you would get a lot of bookings.


This is why it’s important to remain realistic about what type of modeling market your look best fits in. Even if you’re interested in high-fashion or runway modeling, your body type just may not fit those requirements, so you need to be able to adapt and find the right niche for your look.


2. You don’t have strong digitals

When submitting to modeling agencies, they often request that you submit “digital” images instead of professional images. More often than not, models fail to follow the instructions outlined on their submission page detailing exactly what the agency wants in the images, and instead submit images that they think look best. This is a multi-strike mistake, because not only are you not submitting what they need, you’re showing that you can’t take direction. It’s important that you follow exactly what they request, even if you have amazing professional images you’d rather submit.


If you do follow all the instructions and still aren't getting good feedback, it could be that your digitals simply aren’t strong enough to catch their attention. This could be due to bad lighting, not so flattering poses or angles, or low photo quality.


For tips on how to take proper modeling digitals that will help improve your chances of an agency giving your submission another glance, check out this post.


3. Lack of professionalism

Agencies are very perceptive to professionalism in a model and take it very seriously when consideringl offering a model a contract. As a model, your behavior represents not only yourself but your agency, and your agent needs to be sure that they can send you to their top clients and know that you will be professional.


Before setting up a meeting with you, an agency will often look at your social media accounts. Is yours full of a bunch of selfies or inappropriate/controversial content?


If they set up a meeting or virtual call, were you on time, presentable and professional during that call?


Did you promptly respond to any messages they may have left you?


Do you have a bad reputation from previous bookings you have had?


These questions may seem trivial, but the reality is that they are all things agencies take into consideration when interviewing a potential new model. Make sure you take the time to review your social media pages and be prompt in any communications you may have with an agency to show that you are professional and someone they would want to have on their roster.


4. The agency already has your look

I have heard more than once that an agency already has a model (or two) with a look that is very similar to mine. Because of this, they are not going to want to add yet another model with that profile to their roster. Agencies want a diverse range of models for clients to choose from, so if you take a look at their website before submitting and see that they already have a few models that look similar to you with similar stats, chances are they would pass on signing you.


Keep tabs on that agency though if it is one you really want to be signed to. Over time they may lose the models that look like you, so then it would be a great time for you to submit.


5. Bad Timing

In most markets, there is a certain time of the year when agencies are incredibly busy and booking lots of jobs for their models, and other times where they are really slow and not booking much at all. Paying attention to when these times are could have an impact on whether an agency is looking to add more models to their roster or if they’re in a spot where they don't want to add any.


The holiday season is a very common slow time for agencies, and many are not looking to add models to their rosters until after the beginning of the new year when the slow holiday times are over, so it’s important to time your submission right to give yourself the best chance of getting signed.





Again, modeling agencies are business, so it’s important that you do not take any rejection personally- what they’re looking for in that moment has no reflection on your self-worth. “No” is also not always a final answer, many times it’s just “not right now”. If you happen to get denied by an agency that you feel is a great fit for you, don’t be afraid to apply again in 3-6 months!



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