How to Self-Market Yourself as a Model
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Modelling is a bit like having your own company – except you are the merchandise! And as with every business, you need to know how to sell your best product – you!
So how do you go about selling yourself to agencies, brands and the like? Read on for our top tips on how to self-market yourself as a model.
Becoming a Successful Model
Becoming a successful model doesn’t happen overnight. It also doesn’t just rely on hard work – a fair bit of luck is required to reach the height of supermodel fame and fortune. Most top models are scouted by their modelling agencies – they are simply born with the right look at the right time, and spotted by the right people.
The modelling industry is extremely competitive and ever-changing. While most models want to work full-time, for the majority this simply isn’t possible, especially when first starting out.
For the best chances of success, models tend to start young – in their early or mid-teens. Unfortunately, this is an age where individuals are more sensitive and unused to criticism, of which there is a lot of in the modelling world. Youngsters who want to get into modelling should make sure they have a strong support network around them. They should also ensure they are well-informed about nutrition, fast fashion, exercise, body image and the importance of good mental health.
Start by creating a strong model portfolio. This can be taken with you to auditions and casting calls, and shown to potential employers. Regular selfies won’t stand out from the crowd; you’ll need high-quality, professional photos to get noticed.
You will also have to network. The modelling industry is nepotistic – that means they like to hire people that already have a foot in the door. (Ever noticed how many top models are related to other models/celebrities?) The more people you know in the business, the better your chances.
Top models tend to live in major cities as this makes it easier to travel for work. In the UK, London and Manchester are favoured for this reason.
Work hard to create a positive name for yourself in the industry. Always be polite and courteous, always be on time, work hard and don’t have an attitude. You must also be able to handle rejection and criticism in a healthy way.
A model must also look after their looks as much as possible. This means eating healthily, working out and having a good skincare routine.
Self-Market to Get Noticed
Getting noticed is the most important thing you can do to succeed as a model. It is an extremely competitive industry, so you have to work hard to stand out from the crowd of other beautiful aspiring models.
The first thing you should do is try to get signed to a modelling agency. A modelling agency will help increase your job opportunities and give you more places to audition for work. To join a modelling agency, you will need a strong portfolio. That doesn’t mean you’ll need loads of experience, but it does mean you’ll need two or three really strong high-quality photos of you to apply with.
You should also work to have a strong social media presence, particularly on Instagram (the Twitter and Facebook platforms can also be good). Having a good social media following will put you in front of the masses and build you a fanbase, attracting the attention of potential employers. You can also make good money through your Instagram profile if you have enough followers, especially if you are able to get some brand deals and endorsements. Potential clients can find you far more easily if you have a good online presence, so it’s the perfect place for self-promotion.
We mentioned above that getting signed to a modelling agency is the best way to succeed as a model – but how do you get signed to one?
Getting signed to an agency is simple, in theory. Unfortunately, it’s extremely competitive and it can be difficult to stand out from the thousands of other applicants. Most modelling agencies have application forms on their websites, so it’s easy to send in your own application. They will ask you a couple of questions (mostly about your measurements, dress and shoe size etc). You will also be asked to send them some photos. These photos are the most important aspect of your application; one glance will tell the agency everything they need to know about whether you’d be a good investment.
You’ll face a lot of rejection when trying to get signed to an agency. Don’t let this dishearten you; it’s the nature of the business. The important thing is to keep going.
You’ll also need a strong portfolio to do well. Your modelling portfolio will become an essential tool that you will take with you to auditions. A portfolio is a folder filled with your best modelling photos.
You don’t need lots of experience to have a strong portfolio, but if you don’t yet have any experience in front of the camera, you might want to look into hiring a professional photography studio to have a photo shoot where you can purchase your best photos. These photos can then be used for your agency applications and on z-cards as well as in your modelling portfolio. As your experience grows, you can swap out older photos and update them so your portfolio is always relevant and up to date.
You can also have an online portfolio, also known as an eFolio. This can make it easier to send your portfolio to people. Don’t forget to put your contact information on there. WordPress is one of many excellent free web host platforms to create a website if you’ve never made one before.
Looking Out for Scams
There are many of companies out there who would want to take advantage of new models desperate to enter such a difficult industry. These scam agencies may ask for money upfront. A legitimate agency will never ask for payment; they make money by taking a percentage from whatever money the model makes.
To avoid scam agencies, always do your research. Make sure they have a proper website and check their reviews. If you are at all concerned, never sign anything and take someone with you when meeting new people. Always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back.
Never hand out your contact details to someone you haven’t authenticated. If someone approaches you, take their e-mail/number and make sure they are a legitimate person from a legitimate agency. A real agency will not mind providing you with information you require about a staff member who has contacted you.
Sometimes, a model is approached by a modelling agency. This depends on being in the right place at the right time, but there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of being scouted. This includes dressing mindfully, styling your hair nicely, learning how to do “no make-up make-up”, and making the most of your beauty. Try looking for outfit inspiration by Googling “off-duty models”.