Where to Learn More
Big modeling agencies will teach you what they want you to know
for the type of work that they want you to do. Just run off and
become a super model and don't worry about any of this. For the
rest of you, here are some suggestions.
Books, Magazines and other Media
There are always new books coming on the market about modeling
and how to be a model. Some I have seen relate only to the top
fashion market, some are just gossip books and some have good
starting information. Add to this specialty areas, like makeup
books, and there is quite a base of knowledge available on modeling.
If one wants to learn about the modeling industry all you need
to do is take time to read. I have book reviews and a list of
modeling related books on the Book page.
Can you learn to be a model from just reading a book? Well no,
but it will give you some understanding of the industry, what
it will take to be a model, and help you avoid some of the scams.
I checked with my local library for books on modeling and found
they had only nine books and only one of those was published
in the last ten years. You may want to start with your school
or local library, but you may have to purchase a book to get
There are magazine and newspaper articles popping up on modeling
all of the time. Most relate to the top level of fashion modeling
and being a super model but sometimes other things will slip
through. These articles do not teach you the how-to of modeling.
They do, however, give some insight into the industry. I understand
there are programs on cable TV about the modeling world. I have
seen references to these shows and comments that they give some
good insight into the world of fashion modeling. Sorry, I have
not seen them. My MTV was 15 years ago.
I have worked with some modeling schools and I found most
of them were harmless. One I worked with was more of a finishing
school than a 'how to be a model' school. If you could find a
school that really knew what a working model needs to know (in
secondary market there is a lot to know) and could teach it to
you quickly, it might be a good investment. All of the ones I
have seen are better at teaching their model wannabes how to
look and move well in public rather than how to work in front
of a camera or on a cat walk. Remember, a school that promises
you work when you graduate is giving you a "come-on"
The only way you will learn to model is to get in front of
the camera. Any school that is teaching modeling and does not
spend 50 to 75% of your training time in front of the camera
is questionable. This time in front of the camera can be dry
shooting (shooting without film) while video taping, digital
shooting, or best, actual test photo shoots.
Now with that said, here is how I am view the current state
of the modeling school market.
Many of the modeling schools around are franchise operations.
Local operators buys into a franchise just like a hamburger joint.
They may have no experience in the modeling industry, but after
putting down a good chunk of change, they are now experts teaching
classes. Chain operations include Barbizon Modeling Schools,
John Casablancan Modeling, John Robert Powers Modeling and there
are others. These chain schools can vary in quality just as independent
schools can. Some operators do have extensive knowledge of the
industry and can give students good insight into the industry
- many don't. Although what these schools teach may not lead
to a career in modeling, what one learns in their "image
enhancement" or finishing school classes can be useful for
later life. If you can afford one (these schools are very expensive),
they can be a lot of fun and can improve one's self-esteem and
confidence. A few of these school's students, and I do mean a
very few, may even go on to a career in modeling. The main point
is that these schools rarely lead to modeling careers and people
who do go on to careers probably would have been accepted into
agencies anyway had they never attended the school.
Schools tend to do a fair amount of advertising to attract
new students, so they generally have high visibility with the
general public. One of their favorite recruitment methods is
to go to malls where they will tie in with a fashion show. They
also advertise for model screening where any one who has money
for tuition will look good to them. They often use pressure sales
tactics like there are only two spots left for our class
so sign up now' or when you complete our modeling classes
you can be part of our modeling agency.' Don't get pressured
into one of their contracts and no one in a major market hires
models out of these schools.
There has been a new aspect added to modeling schools recently.
This deals with the model competitions and conventions. Twenty
years ago modeling schools were tied into the whole beauty pageant
system. Back then part of the school's program was getting young
women ready for these competitions. It seems these days the pageant
system has fallen out of favor with the general public, but the
market demand for the beauty contest has continued and now the
modeling contest is filling that demand. As with the pageant
system, the wannabes pour lots of money and time into the process
of trying to make it to the top as they hope that some type of
excellent career is waiting if they win; and it's Ok if thousands
of others spend lots of money and end up with just an interesting
(hopefully, personally rewarding) experience. It seems there
are now a number of the chain schools and local schools that
focus on the model competition path. Does this have much to do
with modeling on the runways of Paris? Well, about as much as
becoming Miss America has to do with becoming a famous Hollywood
actress. It might lead to it but it is no guarantee. If your
desire is to be a top fashion model and you have what it takes,
there are more direct routes to a career then going through modeling
schools, conventions, and competitions.
Local modeling schools can vary a great deal in quality. Many
are like the chain schools and are better as finishing schools
than teaching what you need to know to model. Others are run
by individuals who are former models and really have worked at
the top rungs of the fashion modeling industry. You would need
to study carefully the qualifications of the instructors, what
the classes cover, how much actual in-front-of camera time you
get, and the biggest part, how many of the graduates go on to
actual careers in modeling. These schools strive to get one or
two graduates out working as professional models and use this
as the hook saying "yes, you too could be a successful,
high paid model" (top schools or agencies will have dozens
of working models). A lot of these school, however, are run by
individuals with no real experience in the modeling industry
(maybe even as a hobby) and the classes are more finishing school
oriented (how to stand up straight, put on street make-up, coordinate
your wardrobe, and go to a job interview).
Modeling Coaches & Camps
Modeling coaches and camps are a very special form of schooling
and there are very few around. A modeling coach is someone who
has extensive knowledge in one aspect of modeling and works one
on one with a model in that area. An example is a runway coach
who might work with a model for just a couple of hours of intense
training. Another example is a photography coach who will photograph
and teach in a short session how to work in front of a camera.
Of course there are acting and voice coaches that we all hear
so much about, too. A coach might be used if a model is weak
in one curtain area or is having difficulty breaking through
to a new skill level. Modeling coaches have many years of experience
in their areas of expertise, are normally located in larger markets,
and are expensive. A coach comes into a model's career after
she/he is already signed with an agency and is starting to work.
You do not start a career with a coach; they are more for improving
your skills after you have started working.
Modeling camps, often tied in with acting camps, provide another
short but intense learning situation. There are only a few of
these around and they tend to be very selective and are fairly
expensive. Modeling camps tend to be hard to find and you have
to be "in the know" to locate one. So far, the scam
artist and bad business folks have not reached into this area.
I am sure it won't be long before they will.
I have found a lot of web sites on the net either have bad
info or have hidden agendas (scams) behind them. There are a
few sites that do have good information and will give you another
perspective on becoming a model. You can find these sites on
the Site with More Information Page.
The number one teacher in this business is doing. Once you
have been through a photo shoot things start to make more sense.
And as you work with other professionals you can learn from them.
But getting photo shoots when you are starting out can be hard
to impossible. If a photographer has a job, he or she won't want
to risk it on a wannabe model. And if you can't find a photographer
to do test shoots, you may be left out. If you have to pay for
shoots, that can truly be expensive and with no guarantee of
ever earning your money back. Hopefully, a good agency can find
test shoots, shoot where they want a new face or shoots where
they want a less expensive model for you. Getting shoots, gaining
experience and building your portfolio are the greatest challenges
a new model faces.