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Tips on Getting Into the Modeling Industry

Getting into the modeling industry isn’t quite as easy as many think. So much more goes into being a model than having a pretty face and a nice body. And while there is never any guarantee that you will “make it” in the industry, there are six key things every model must do if they want to have a shot at success!

A model on set during a photoshoot in a studio.
Behind the scenes with Kirstin Anne

Reality Check

Regardless of whether you think it’s right or not, the modeling industry is one where, first and foremost, you will be judged on your looks. With that comes a lot of mental and physical pressure. Because of this, you have to be brutally honest with yourself and ask yourself if getting into this kind of industry is something you really want to do and can mentally handle. 

You also need to be very realistic about where you fit into the industry, taking your age, body type, and location into account. Everyone wants to do just editorial or runway jobs, but the reality is that a tiny percentage of models fit those categories, and those types of jobs are very limited. Most models fit more into the commercial/lifestyle category but, for some reason, turn their noses up at those types of bookings. Being realistic about where you fit will only lead to more success for you as a model, so be open-minded! 

Being a successful model is also a lifestyle, not just a hobby. If you want to be represented by an agency, there will be restrictions on what you can do with your hair and nails and what you post on social media, and there will be constant body measurement checks. If that doesn’t sound fun, being a professional model is probably not in your best interest.

Research/Know Your Options

Under the large modeling industry umbrella, there are many different types of modeling niches. Become familiar with the industry and the different options to determine where you would fit best.

Once you have an idea of what the industry is like and where you could fit into it, you need to carefully research modeling agencies to ensure they’re legit and not scams. If an agency asks for money upfront, whether for a portfolio package, mandatory classes, or a “signing fee,” that should be your first red flag. Don’t hesitate to reach out to models signed to the agency and ask them what their experience has been working with that agency and if they would recommend signing with them. You may be surprised at some of their answers! 

Don’t be so eager to sign an agency contract that you ignore all the warning signs. It’s better to turn down an offer than to be legally stuck in a less-than-ideal situation because you didn’t do your due diligence!

Develop Your Skills

This step is so important and should be started the moment you decide you want to be a model.

Their skill and versatility are what separates a pretty model from any other pretty model. Modeling, just like many other professions, is something that needs to be practiced to become good at. While it may feel silly practicing posing in front of a mirror or doing a runway walk down a sidewalk, the more you do it, the more comfortable you get. 

Enlisting a qualified and experienced model coach can also do amazing things for your career, and is someone who can help you navigate the fast-paced industry.

Be Strategic 

When you’re a new model working to establish yourself in the industry, you must be strategic about how you do it. So many new models have the idea that they should take any and every opportunity that comes their way, shoot with every photographer that slides into their DMs, and do tons of themed photoshoots. The truth is, this can hurt your career more than help it. 

When you’re just starting, you need to think about what you want to achieve long-term and immediately take the steps to help you get there. If you want to be agency-represented and work with well-known brands, you must be extremely picky about what photographers you work with and what kind of photoshoots you do. Quality is better than quantity; if an agent or client sees your sub-par work floating around the internet, it could deter them from working with you. 

Modeling is a business; you are your own brand, so move accordingly! 

Put in the Work

Modeling isn’t just playing dress up and standing in front of the camera for a few hours or walking a runway for 60 seconds. It’s a job. And just like any other job, success requires a lot of dedication and hard work. You won’t get signed to an agency or book many jobs just because you’re pretty. Everyone in the modeling industry is pretty, so you must have the drive to set yourself apart.

The reality is that 80-90% of the time, you won’t get booked for the jobs you audition for. You will hear the word “no” far more than “yes,” which can very quickly get discouraging, so you have to be 100% committed to putting in the work even when feeling down. 

Your agents can only do so much for you. It’s up to you to put in the extra effort to be successful, like taking classes to improve your skills, showing up for castings even when you don’t feel like it, and taking the initiative to make business decisions like moving to another market. The modeling industry is fast-paced and constantly changing, so it takes work to keep up and keep yourself relevant! 

Take Nothing Personally

As I have stated several times in this post, modeling is a business. Agencies sign models they believe can make them money, and clients book models they think can sell and promote their brand. You either have the ‘look’ agencies or clients want at that given moment, or you don’t, and that’s something that you have no control over. They think of the dollar and making their business successful, not your personal feelings. 

Rejection is part of the industry, and you must have tough skin. The sooner you understand and accept that the better off you will be. Every agent and client has a different idea of what they want in a model, and it is impossible to know what they are looking for, so you can’t take it personally if you aren’t the one they are looking for at the moment. Just remind yourself they are making a business decision; it’s not a personal attack. Holding grudges because they didn’t pick you won’t get you anywhere; take it for what it is and move on to the next opportunity. Keep your head up and keep getting in front of them. Their idea of the ‘ideal model’ will change in a week!


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