When you are still trying - Some modelling tips
When looking for work, head for recognised
agencies, ad film producers, freelance coordinators and production stylists. Research
the market and target your clients specifically. Being interviewed as a model
is just like being interviewed for any other job - you have to focus on selling
Keep your clothes clean and casual. They should not be very
tight or very loose; just fit you comfortably. Go with minimal or no make-up,
clean and simply styled hair, well manicured hands and feet, with your nails cleaned,
filed and buffed. Take your latest pictures and a copy of your bio-data. Also,
your own stationery - pen, pad or diary- to take down any numbers or other information.
Remember to always be either a few minutes ahead or on time - never late.
If, however, you are likely to be late due to unavoidable circumstances, call
and request that your appointment be rescheduled at a time that's mutually convenient.
If your client is delayed, be patient - chances are, other business activities
and unexpected emergencies take precedence. While waiting, don't use agency phones
to make personal calls. This is considered tacky, unprofessional and out of line
- unless there is an emergency.
Take along a friend or a family member,
if that helps. Just make sure you leave your girlfriends and boyfriends at home.
Ask your companion to wait in the visitors' foyer while you conduct your business
affairs yourself. Minors should be accompanied by at least one parent or a local
AT THE INTERVIEW
First, switch off your pager or mobile phone.
Make your introduction brief and cut out the accent. Smile and be your natural
self (we know a fake when we see one). Don't pull out your pictures till you are
asked, and, then, place them in the view of the person concerned.
personality plays a major part in the final decision. Personally, when I sign
on a model, I assume that he or she will interact with clients in the same manner
that he or she interacts with me. A model must be able to communicate. In fact,
I've signed many models who may not have had a look that I immediately believed
in, but because I was sold on their motivation and personality. I'm always on
the lookout for that special quality that makes a great face and body outstanding.
REJECTION IS NOT FAILURE
Always, but always, be alert and keep your eyes open and
your ears to the ground for any opportunity. Let me give you a simple analogy
to help you understand the process. As a consumer, there are products you have
used for a long time for various reasons - they could be within your budget, easily
accessible, durable, beautifully packaged, etc. And there are products you have
discarded after the first use, since they weren't exactly what you expected. Similarly,
photographers, coordinators, casting directors, producers, choreographers and
clients may want to continue with the same models or change them after their first-ever
experience. So you can never tell what clients are really looking for. But it
pays to be consistent in your behaviour and attitude and approach each professional
When rejection comes your way, learn to handle
it professionally. Treat it as a learning experience and move on. You've got to
have endurance, especially because most people in this business are temper-amental.
In the early days, I used to cry myself to sleep because I thought I wasn't good
enough. But I kept forging on. Like me, you could possibly make mistakes, but
the important fact remains that you've made a decision and taken a step forward.
At every step of the way, and especially in the beginning, try to develop an enthusiastic,
positive and dependable reputation. For your reputation is closely linked to your
attitude in this industry and it always precedes you throughout your career.
THE 'INDUSTRY BIBLE'
Once you start working, your daily diary or date book should be your industry
bible. If you prefer to put together your own bible, a filofax is ideal as it
has masses of pockets and can expand to fit your needs. The important thing is
to have enough room to write on each page (that's positive thinking at work -
you'll need lots of room to write down all the things you'll be doing!) This is
all part of becoming organised and professional, and the benefits are unlimited.
For a start, it will remind you of your bookings and, perhaps, keep
a note of how the client wants you to look for a particular shoot. It will also
provide a valuable record, especially for audits - you can always refer to your
diary to check queries about receipts, payments and hours worked. If a coordinator
is organising an audition, always check the booking date to make sure that you
don't have a conflicting engagement. Keep a record of all your interactions and
it will help you build up a network of contacts.
If your wardrobe is the packaging
for your product, make sure that your package always looks fresh and planned.
When you look at yourself, ask yourself if your outfit is consistent with your
advertising scheme. Ask the agency concerned what is appropriate for the psychographic
profile. Each market has its own require-ments. In Delhi and Bangalore, agencies
prefer models to dress up and use a lot of make-up. In Mumbai, however, models
tend to dress down, wearing minimal accessories and make-up. But do use your common
sense. Don't imitate others. Everyone has his or her own style and if it's not
you, and you're not comfortable with your clothes, it will be difficult to sell
yourself at auditions, video tests, and personal interviews.
The indispensable 'model's bag'
carries the tools of your trade, which can vary from city to city. With time and
experience, you will learn what to carry and be able to anticipate what clients
will want. For me, the fact that models bring their model's bag along is just
as important as their looks. If they haven't brought anything to assist the shoot,
I consider that a point against them.
For now, the basic requirements
for auditions and video tests are:
Bras - skin-coloured, white and black
Panties - skin-coloured, white and black
Body stocking - to match your skin tone
Boob tube - any colour
Tights - black and skin-coloured
Hair and make-up bags
Nail care bag - emery boards, clippers, buffer, polish
Hygiene necessities - tampons, deodorants, razors
Your wardrobe should include jeans, T-shirts and two basic outfits - casual and
formal. Take along saris with matching blouses and petticoats since they are requested
for frequently. Pastel shades work best.
Accessories - scarves, headbands, hats, gloves, sunglasses, prop spectacles, belts
Shoes - high-heeled black and neutral courts, flat black pumps
client, agency or coordinator asks for additional items before a shoot, you have
time to prepare. If you are unable to supply the required items, notify the client
so that the client's company can supply them, instead. You do not need to take
your model's bag to personal interviews and casting calls, but do take along a
skin-coloured bra and panty, tights (skin-coloured and black), shoes (flat and
high-heeled) and clean hands and nails (polish must be unchipped).
Underwear - white and skin-coloured briefs with athletic
- various colours and styles
- white trainers, classic black shoes
Trousers - various colours and seasonal fabrics
* Jeans - classic blue and
- foundation and powder to match your skin tone
Hair products - spray, gel, brush, comb, etc.
* Hygiene necessities - deodorant,
eye drops, contact lens solution, razors, etc. What men require for editorial
and fashion modelling
- trainers, black and brown dress shoes, black and brown casual shoes, cowboy
boots and sandals
- dress shirts, sports shirts, casual shirts in a variety of colours
* Trousers - various colours
and fabrics, including denim
- boxer-style shorts and self-coloured briefs
Accessories - prop spectacles, watch, gold band, etc.
ETIQUETTE - ESSENTIAL YET NEGLECTED
The following information on etiquette may seem obvious,
but, unfortunately, is often neglected. Common sense and consideration towards
others are vital elements for success in any career. But when you are establi-shing
your reputation, it is even more important to begin your new career with good
you visit an agency, make sure you arrive on time, and leave as soon as your business
is over. It can be very disturbing to have a lot of people just hanging around.
If you have to wait, try to smile and say hello to the people around. Don't be
dismayed if no one responds. Most likely, they are as shy or nervous as you are.
You might start up a quiet conversation with someone, but avoid loud conversation
where people are trying to work. Also, no gossip! Bringing a book or magazine
You should be prepared to wait anything from a few seconds
to an hour and sometimes longer. If you have another engagement or assignment,
tell the receptionist very politely about it. You'll possibly be allowed in next.
If this is the case, apologise to the other people waiting and say your thank
Make sure you are dressed as the agency has told you to - you'll
have a better chance of getting the job if you walk in looking like the photo
they have in mind. If the coordinator or production stylist did not make a suggestion
on how to dress, ask her for ideas. If she does not know, dress mid-stream - not
too high fashion and not too casual.
When your name is called, follow
the person who addressed you into the interview room. Smile, greet the interviewers,
say who you are and why you are there. Shake hands firmly if you choose to (a
limp handshake is very off-putting). Wait for an invitation to sit down. (Some
clients will interview you as you stand. Don't worry, this is not unusual). Have
a list of things to discuss, so you have an agenda once the conversation gets
going. Also, make a habit of taking notes in your filofax. Be prepared to hand
over your portfolio for inspection. An interview may last from 30 seconds to 30
minutes; you cannot predict how long or short it will be. Just flow with it.
Normally, when you go into an interview, everyone is under pressure to find
the right model(s) as quickly as possible, book them and produce the rest of the
advertising campaign while juggling other daily activities. It is not unusual
for a client to have a couple of auditions for different jobs on the same day.
If time allows, take the opportunity to bring out your personality. You don't
have to go into a song or tap dance - just be yourself. At social gatherings,
you know when you click immediately with someone; there are others who take a
little longer to warm up. It has all to do with personal chemistry. Photographers
and clients are like that, too. Sometimes, you get along spontaneously and, at
other times, it takes longer.
Your mood and their mood are factors in
determining the success of the interview. Regardless of their behaviour, always
remain friendly, calm and professional. Don't push too hard. Always be direct.
Don't waste the client's time or yours. This is also part of establishing your
reputation. Photographers and clients often have incredible memories. They may
not book you for that particular job, but they will keep you in mind for the future.
It is not uncommon for weeks, even months, to go by before the photographer or
client phones the agency and requests to see you again for a new job being cast.
OVER THE PHONE
is a crucial element of success. When you are calling a place of business, remember
every second you waste is time - and time is money. You'll make quick friends
with people if you are direct and don't waste their time. Say who you are and
why you are calling. Often, I've made appointments with people immediately just
because I liked the way they handled themselves on the phone.
are nervous, practise with your friends. It may feel silly, but you'll learn the
habit of preparing yourself for all sorts of telephone conversations. Try to get
on and off the telephone as quickly as possible - excessive conversation can be
distracting to the flow of business at that moment. If you are making an inquiry,
be ready to write down the information. Don't call people and interrupt their
answers to your questions with, "Oh, can you hold on while I get my pen?" They
have many other priorities in their day, have little time to spare and are under
a lot of pressure. So try not to irritate them.
SOCIALISING -AN INTEGRAL PART
help to be seen in the right places, but proceed with caution! If not handled
properly, it could have a negative effect on your reputation. Now, here's the
tricky part - what is 'proper'? Everyone marches to a different drummer and what
is proper for you may not necessarily be proper for another person. Numerous business
situations will present themselves in restaurants, studios, hotel rooms and so
on. Who pays the bill? Should you drink alcohol or refuse drugs? What should you
wear? Should you go off your diet to make a client more comfortable? Should you
sleep with a client in order to get a job?
Well, if you have issued the
invitation - to lunch, dinner or whatever - you should pay the bill. If you've
been invited, your host should pay. If it was a mutual decision, each person should
pay his or her share. If there's any doubt or discomfort, just ask, 'Shall we
split the bill?' It is not considered unprofessional to have a glass of wine or
a cocktail with dinner. Only, know how much alcohol you can handle and never drink
too much while doing business. Drugs are bad for your skin, your mind, your hair,
your body and your general health and well-being. They are destructive elements
in a professional model's career. If they are offered, refuse politely .
What you should wear depends upon the situation. If you are dining at a smart
restaurant or going to a formal event, dress up; for a more relaxed atmosphere,
dress casually. Be comfortable with yourself and the way you look. Clean and simple
is always the best choice. Avoid items that are too trendy and do not wear heavy
make-up. Always remember that your clothing is an extension of yourself and perceived
that way by others. Parties and social gatherings can present great temptations
by way of food and drink. Don't feel pressurised by people offering you calorie-rich
cheesecake when you are on a diet. They should understand; even if they don't,
it is not impolite to refuse.
No matter how old, how experienced or
how professional you are, there will always be tricky situations to handle. Whatever
your behaviour, be aware of it and accept the consequences.
be respected a lot more if you stay professional and don't mix business with pleasure.
In other words, no matter who may proposition you, never compromise your virtue
or lose your dignity. Don't ever sleep with someone who promises you a job in
return. Chances are you won't be given the job, and you will simply get a bad
name for yourself.
Modelling has a promiscuous reputation (not entirely
unfounded), but the best rule is always to follow your instincts. If you don't
want to do something, don't do it. And if you want to, go right ahead. Behave
professionally and others will respond in the same vein.
If you are
out socialising and a client doesn't remember you, don't be hurt. There are hundreds
of models and it's difficult to remember everyone. Defuse any embarrassment by
reintroducing yourself. Don't be surprised if some people pretend not to know
you - this happens a lot. I laugh when people do this to me - if it makes them
feel more important, who am I to spoil their fun?
Insecurity can also
alter people's behaviour. And modelling tends to breed insecurity, perhaps because
the future's always uncertain. Regardless of your environment and what is going
on, insecurity can pop up at any time. It's understandable that you may be overwhelmed
by people when you are just beginning your career, but the more experienced you
get, the more secure you should become.
Try to cultivate a positive attitude and treat people as you want them to treat
you. Yes, this is an old adage, but you'll be amazed how well it works. It's very
important to get out there and try. You'll eventually find a system that works
are not so common any more!) Who doesn't like a bit of appreciation? Simple things
like a card, a rose, a cigar or a basket of fruit, just to say 'thank you' to
someone special, are always appreciated and your thoughtfulness remembered. It
doesn't have to cost a lot. The small investment you make will undoubtedly come
back to you, over and over again. If you have made a faux pas or a mistake you
regret, a simple gesture to show your regret can easily persuade someone to forgive
your foolishness. If you find yourself in a spot, the least you should do is write
a brief letter of apology to the client, depending on how well you know him or
her. Don't hesitate to say sorry for your mistakes. A graceful apology can work
Whether you're new to the modelling business or an
old hand, it's important to keep up with trends in fashion photography. The best
way to do this is to subscribe to a wide variety of magazines. You will also need
to monitor your diet, exercise, sleep, skin care, make-up, hair, clothes... and
Once you get caught up in hectic schedules, you will
be immersed in a whole new world which you will have to juggle simultaneously
with your existing lifestyle. There will be endless and inevitable changes. Modelling
is a very self-centred career and your family and friends may be slow to realise
that your time with them will be necessarily curtailed. Certain things, such as
going to the movies with friends, become inconsequential next to working out or
having a make-up lesson.
Your family and friends will see a dramatic
physical change in you as you become more educated about how to present yourself.
And they'll see an emotional change as you become more confident.
I've seen models suffer on account of these factors because of concerned parents,
jealous girlfriends and intimidated boyfriends.
It takes strength of
character to focus on yourself and your career constantly without hurting those
around you. So, keep your family and close friends abreast of your daily activities.
This way they'll understand your involvement with some of your other concerns.
Because modelling is such a selfish profession and each job could be
your last, try to learn from each one and move forward. It takes a special kind
of person to be able to live without knowing where the next pay cheque is coming
from - if at all there is going to be one! To accept the possibility of never
working again, and still feel very positive about yourself, is difficult. In promoting
yourself and competing in this industry, people will inevitably misunderstand
you and mistake your confidence for arrogance. But, tell me, what's wrong with
believing in yourself? Nothing!
I know this can be a frustrating, expensive
and sometimes depressing career. But, on the other hand, it can also be educational,
lucrative, uplifting and confidence-building. To remain true to yourself, you
have to maintain your own ethics and morals. Take care of yourself and the people
around you, and always, but always, be professional.
IN THE STUDIO
Treat a photographer's
studio as if it were his or her home -- very often it is. Remember, you are welcome
inside on the understanding that you will respect the property and the environment.
Always be professional. Never forget that you are there to work, no
matter how friendly the atmosphere.
Be prepared. You should always arrive
with your requested wardrobe intact, pressed and clean. Always bring your model's
bag. Don't rely on any other person, such as the stylist, make-up artist or hairdresser,
to cover for you.
Arrive promptly at the time specified. You may develop
a close relationship with various studio personnel and they might allow you to
arrive early. But always telephone first to ask if you can come in early. Don't
Introduce yourself to everyone when you arrive. Be friendly.
Shyness often comes across as arrogance. Write down the names and occupations
of everyone in the studio.
Always ask before you take or use anything
that does not belong to you.
You may offer to bring coffee or croissants
to the shoot. You may be told it is not necessary, but the thought will be remembered
Personal stereos do not allow you to hear if someone
is calling you. If you want something to pass the time while waiting to go on
the set, take a book along to read.
Don't send the photo assistant to run errands for you. If there is an emergency,
ask the photographer before getting an employee to leave the studio.
Only use the telephone if absolutely necessary and be sure to ask first. Make
your call brief.
Watch your step while walking on and off the set. You
could stumble over the cords, lights and other equipment.
Don't chat with others when on the set. This is very distracting for the photographer
and will affect his concentration. Also, you won't be able to hear him if you're
talking. Excessive talk or gossip is always rude.
Don't ever chew gum
in the studio. Not only is it unpleasant, it is also rather offensive in a corporate
If you make any sort of mess, be it from food, drink, make-up
or hair supplies, clean it up.
When changing, take care not to get make-up on the clothes you are to model. Get
them on and off as quickly as possible and hang them up immediately.
Don't sit, eat or smoke while wearing the client's clothes. They are often samples
and have taken a long time to iron.
Ask the stylist about wearing dress shields to prevent perspiration stains.
If you like the garment you are modelling, you may ask the stylist about purchasing
it, but only after the photo session. Don't assume you can just take it and don't
pressurise the client to give it to you. This will really put you in a bad standing.
If you don't like your client's outfit -- just shut up.
are absolutely forbidden. They can ruin your career and you.
Respect, courtesy and consideration are essential in a professional model. They
make the difference between a short or long term career.
models are self-employed, which means the model is responsible for their own tax
It is important therefore that you keep all receipts
from everything that is purchased or any service that has been used in relation
to your modeling career.
For example: · Test shots · Photographs · Index
Cards · Model Book · Clothes · Travelling expenses · Sun-bed · Gym membership
· Hair care/make-up/accessories · Mobile Phone
Once working on a regular
basis, you will need to employ an independent accountant to process your accounts
for tax and insurance purposes. If you need advice on this, your agency should
be able to offer assistance and recommend a reputable accountant.
agency will invoice all clients on your behalf. Under no circumstances should
you do the invoicing yourself. It is imperative therefore that you telephone the
agency with your hours immediately after the job as they cannot invoice until
they have this information.
NOTE: The time you finish is the time you leave the set, not the time you leave
You should call into your agency every evening to check
if there are any castings/jobs for the next day and to book out times when you
are not available.
agency will take a commission from you on all bookings - look at it as their pay
for getting you the work…like I said, they are working for you not the other way
around. A standard commission is around 20%. On receipt of the monies from the
client your agency prepare remittance advice for you which will contain details
of each job paid, together with a cheque for the total amount.
that it can take up to 3 months for clients to pay! Any outstanding accounts should
be written down and handed to your booker for collections.