What is a Modelling Agency?
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If you’re an aspiring model, you’ll have likely Googled something like, ‘How do I become a model?’
And in that article, there will have been plenty of talk about modelling agencies. More specifically, you will probably have been told to get signed to one if you want to be a successful model.
But what even is a modelling agency, and how do you go about getting noticed by one?
Read on to find out everything you need to know.
What is a Modelling Agency?
A modelling agency is a bit like any other type of talent agency. It is essentially a company that keeps a roster, or portfolio, of models.
A modelling agency is a handy place to brands and companies to go when they need a model. A brand might need a model for advertising, runway or publishing purposes. Rather than having to find one themselves, an agency can provide a brand with a booklet of models that might suit the brand’s needs. All the brand has to do is choose their favourite.
Just because a model is signed to an agency doesn’t mean they don’t have to audition for work. Also known as the casting call, a model will still need to audition so the brand can meet them in person and make sure they’re the right person for the part.
A model will also have to audition to join an agency – but we’ll go into this in more detail later.
Is it Easy to Get Signed to a Modelling Agency?
Simple? Yes. Easy – unfortunately not. Joining a modelling agency is the best chance of success for a model, so as you can imagine spaces are extremely competitive. Agencies get inundated with applications every week, and it’s very difficult to stand out from hundreds – sometimes thousands – of other tall, stunning models.
It’s difficult to get signed, but it’s a simple process. Most agencies now having application forms on their websites, so you can fill out an application in minutes.
What Type of Models Get Signed to a Modelling Agency?
There is no specific type of model that gets signed to an agency. Take a look at the top supermodels of today – they all look different. Each is beautiful in a unique way.
However, typically the types of models who do best are over 5’8″ and naturally slender, because this means they meet the requirements for runway/catwalk modelling. This type of high-fashion modelling famously pays the best.
The types of models who get signed will also depend on what is currently in fashion. Trends come and go, and that’s as true for models as it is for clothing, accessories and hairstyles. Of course, the best models are able to set trends themselves, not just follow them- think Linda Evangelista with her short pixie crop.
Truly, the type of model an agency will pick is the model that is able to land the most jobs, and earn the agency the most money.
Finding a Modelling Agency
Modelling agencies are easy to find. Most have online websites now to make it easier for brands to browse their models.
The biggest models in the world were usually scouted – that is, approached by an agency by a modelling scout while out and about. This is usually down to being in the right place at the right time and is very uncommon.
If you don’t want to wait for fate to lend a helping hand, you will have to apply to the agency yourself. The application are typically straightforward and will ask you for your measurements, dress size, age and height, as well as your contact information. They will also ask to see some photos of you. These photos are the most important aspect of your application – one quick glance will tell the agency everything they need to know about whether you have what it takes to make it in the industry. You should therefore make sure your photos are high-quality and really show off your range and experience as a model. We recommend studying supermodel’s headshots and portfolio photos, and taking inspiration from them.
Make sure the information on your application is as accurate as possible, particularly your measurements. If you haven’t measured yourself in a while, make sure you do so – we are all constantly fluctuating and changing shape and size. Providing the wrong information may cost you a job, or may lose an agency’s interest.
You can apply to as many modelling agencies as you like, as many times as you want. Don’t apply to the same agency over and over again in a small time frame – you’ll only annoy them, and waste your own time.
For the best chances of success, do some research first and make sure the agencies you apply to are suitable for you. That means understanding what category of modelling you best fit into (commercial, high fashion, petite, plus-size… there are many). You should also check any reviews from models who have previously been signed with them. Some agencies treat their models better than others and you’ll want to make sure you’re applying to the good ones only.
If an agency is not interested, most likely you won’t hear back from them. Don’t lose heart – rejection is a real part of modelling and one you need to get used to if you want to pursue a successful career as a fashion model.
If an agency is interested, they’ll get in touch with you and ask to meet for an in-person audition.
Your Application Photos
Normally, you’ll be asked to attach two or three modelling photos to show off your look. It’s a good idea to include at least one close-up photo of your face, as well as a full-length body shot to show off your figure.
If you don’t have any experience modelling yet, you might want to look into hiring a professional photographer for the day. A properly lit photo shoot will provide you with the best photos for your application – you can also use these photos in your modelling portfolio, which can be taken with you to auditions and shown to potential clients.
If you are invited to an in-audition, this is a great sign. It doesn’t mean you’re signed yet, but it means you are one step closer.
An agency will contact you and let you know if you need to bring anything. However, a good rule of thumb is to bring a bag with some nude underwear in and a pair of heels you can walk in. The nude underwear will come in handy if the agency asks you to try on any clothing (you can wear a nude thong underneath any lingerie or swimwear they may ask you to try on, which is better for hygiene – nude underwear also won’t show through as much as any other underwear). The heels are just in case the agency wants to see your walk – make sure they fit you will and aren’t too high.
Most agencies are located in major cities like London and Manchester, so you’ll have to make sure you can travel to these locations with relative ease. Remember, if you get signed many of your modelling jobs will require travel.
Make sure you arrive early – allow yourself time to get lost or delayed. It’s not a good look to turn up late, so it’s better to over-prepare and arrive early than it is to arrive late.
Dress with care – you want to look professional but also show off your figure in a flattering way. It’s a good idea to wear flat shoes because you will be more comfortable. Bring a bag with water, snacks and something to keep you occupied like a magazine in case you have to wait to be seen.
If an agency likes your look and personality, you might be told there and then, or they might ring you in a few days.
Look Out for Scams
Unfortunately, there are some scam agencies who just want to take your money. A legitimate agency will not ask for money upfront, nor will they ask for a membership fee. Always read contracts thoroughly before signing anything and do your research before committing to anything. When going to auditions, always tell someone where you are going and how long you will be – you can even take someone with you if you feel at all worried.