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.
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.
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.
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