An Introduction

I have found it difficult to write a good, brief introduction so I have gone with three long winded ones instead. It does capture how complex the modeling industry is even for one who is it.

 

Introduction #1

Since I first put together the Modeling Advice.com web site I have found writing an introduction to be most difficult. How do I sum up what to look for and learn from the rest of the material on the web site? How do I lead into the knowledge one needs to build the dream of becoming a model and yet make folks aware of the many scams, rip-offs, sexual hank-panky, dangers and a wannabe's own unreal expectation that take away from that dream? I also struggled with trying to capture the creativity and fun side of modeling with out going all corporate capitalist. But after much thought on this I have come to the conclusion that the popular line "show me the money" is the best lead in one can have. I don't mean to support the notion I hear far to often, "well if they pay me lots of money I might consider modeling." With me that attitude would have you out the door on the street. I mean when one digs down through all of the talk, the glitz, the glamour, the hype, and takes a look at the money steam it tells you a lot.

 Following the money stream, either going out or coming in, can quickly show one what they might be getting into. The term "modeling" covers a vast and varied area of endeavor and not just the high fashion modeling popularized on TV. If one is looking to become a "professional model" you need a positive money stream or more money coming in then going out. One can also look at different types of modeling and quickly see what are the chances of having a positive cash flow and how much that might be. If you have as much going out as coming in then by IRS definition, that is a hobby. Hobby modeling can be great fun, a positive experience, and some may even work though a hobby period to go on to be a professional model. If large amounts of the money seem to going out with very little certainty of any money coming in then you can be assured your being scammed or ripped-off. Modeling is not like becoming a doctor where you have a set path of schooling that costs a large amount of money but you are assured if you complete the program of study you will become a doctor and you will have an income. For a lot of modeling you either have the talent and look or you don't. It does not matter how much you want it or how hard you work at it or how much you pay for schooling and photos, if you do not meet the basic physical characteristic of some types of modeling (thinking of high fashion here) you will never become that type of model.

Now having said that let me confuse matter by saying a model is generally an independent contractor (an independent business) and with any business there are some start up cost involved. The challenge is coming to understand what are reasonable cost of getting into the modeling game and at what point is someone taking advantage of your dreams and ignorance of the modeling profession to part you from large amounts of your money. Only through education can you hope to know the difference. This site does not offer all of the answers but I hope the following material will start you on the right road to learning about modeling.

 
 

Introduction #2

Do you have what it takes to be come a highly paid high fashion model? No you do not! I can make a bold, general statement like that and be right 99% of the time. Most people who read this are looking for the dream of becoming a high fashion model, for themselves or someone they know. The world of "modeling" includes many types of modeling but the high fashion model on the Paris runway or the cover of Vogue is the one that most know about. This high fashion world is distant, unknown, glamorous and for most unattainable. This world of high fashion modeling is the most financially rewarding form of modeling but it is only one of many different types of modeling. When you say, "I want to become a model," you need to be sure what category of model you are talking about. The road to "how do I become a model" or "can I become a model" is different for different market location and for each category of modeling. Your first, best step (and before you spend any money) is to learn as much as possible about the modeling industry. This education not only can answer your questions and help to build a possible career but more importantly help you avoid the scams, the rip offs, the bad businesses and the hanky-panky that surrounds modeling.

There is a whole industry built around taking advantage of your dream of becoming a model. This industry thrives on your enthusiasm, you ignorance and your money. But mostly it thrives on the uncertainty and lack of information generally available on modeling. It is far more likely to you will fall into a rip-off situation while trying to become a model then to find an actual legitimate path to see if modeling is for you.

What is legitimate and what is not legitimate in modeling. With modeling it can be hard to tell the difference at times. In my view the whole modeling industry is made up of "sharks," the difference between legit and not legit is that the shark is working for your interest and not eating you for lunch. Or a legitimate entity makes money when you make money or actually provides a service that in most cases leads to actual paid work. A non-legit entity thrives on your money that you pay to them and it never leads to any significant work.

I think key to finding if you have a chance of becoming a model and to avoid getting ripped off is to understand the markets that actually use models. Modeling is not an end in its self. Models are used by different industries to promote products and services or entertain. Without industries using models to promote their products or service or for entertainment then there are no legitimate (paid) modeling opportunities. So it is important to know what industries use models, what types of models they use and where they are located.

In the following sections I briefly look at the idea of the different industries that use models, what type of person makes the best model, how does one find work as a model, and how do you prepare to become a model.

 
 

Original Introduction

If you want to be a top fashion model, it only happens in New York. Fashion modeling does not take place in small town America. The designers are not there, the fashion magazines are not there, and the show rooms are not there. The really BIG FASHION happens in New York and they play by their own rules. If they find you and you have the look they want for that season, then they have the photographers, make-up artists, hair stylists, clothing stylists, art directors, and budgets to make it work. What I am about to say means very little to the fashion elite. But if you are trying to get into modeling or you're in a minor fashion market doing catalog work, character work, product support work, or other secondary work, then this information holds true.

The modeling industry is quite diverse. However, the part that most people have seen glamorized is the life of the fashion Supermodel. For some, the idea of a jet-set life style is very appealing but, let me tell you, you stand a better chance of winning the power ball lottery then becoming one of the dozen or so Supermodels. Which points to a harsh reality of modeling - most people who try to make a living as a model will fail. Fortunately, for many, just trying to make it is personally rewarding. You will never know if you might have what it takes if you never try.
  The following information may give you some ideas of what it takes to be a model and how to get started. This information not only looks at fashion modeling but, also, other types of modeling. The material covers some of the basics. Only through proper training and hard work, however, can you become a professional model. I hope you will use this as a starting point to decide if modeling is right for you and may it give you some direction towards starting a career.

An Outsiders View

In becoming informed about modeling you should question the information you read. I have found many sources of information on modeling that present themselves as legitimate and caring often have a hidden agenda. To this end let me tell you up front my view of the modeling industry is that of an outsider. I have never worked in New York (and have no desire to) and I have never modeled for or worked in a big modeling agency. I have been in photography since 1972 and have made my living as a commercial photographer (the folks that hire models) for the past 25 years (more on my background and this site can found on the "about this site" section of the web site). I do not have fantastic "insider information." What is presented here is what I have gained through the experience of working with models, modeling agencies, and clients in smaller markets. These are the same smaller markets and towns that most models come from. Also, this information comes from my personal research and study of the industry (ha, I am trying to find work to). I don't have all of the answers, so please just take this information as an old photographers outsiders view of the modeling industry.

 
     

 

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