Love this all-white-everything shot by NYC-based photographer Adam Pass!!

Rebuilding a modeling portfolio is a process, especially after 15 years of success as a “brunette” brand.

Photography by editorial visionary Roberto Ligresti.
Hair and makeup by the Internationally-renowned Livio Angileri.

Choices have sacrifices. That means giving up something that you want for something that you want more.

open call models sign

Were you handed a card at the mall by a “Scout” who thinks your child is perfect for the Baby Gap campaign? Heard a radio ad that “advertisers are looking for talent in your area for tv commercials”? 

You probably wondered if it’s too good to be true, and I hate to break your reality bubble but yes, you’re probably about to get scammed.

Do you know the difference between a Casting Agent and a Model Scout? If the answer is “No” then you’re putting your child’s safety (and your wallet) at risk. 

Talent Scouts are nothing more than middle men who, in turn, pitch the talent they find to Casting Directors. Talent Scouts are recruiters; they need to move volume in order to bank commissions.

Casting Agents work on behalf of real clients to find appropriate talent options for a specific job. They may “cast” 500 kids to find the perfect one, but all 500 of those kids did, in fact, have a chance at an actual job.

This isn’t to say that Talent Scouts don’t occasionally place a model with a top agency… But the odds are not in your favor.

So I pose this question:

If you were looking for a job would you apply directly to a company’s Human Resource Department or would you go to a Job Fair, pay a Recruiter to post your resume on their website and nervously await feedback?

You probably just answered your own question. Business is business, even when it’s the business of modeling. You’re applying for a job. It should feel professional and be free of charge.

And by the way, I posted the Fall 2013 Baby GAP casting in my Facebook feed and a FB friend’s son booked the ENTIRE campaign. Casting directors use their trusted social network to find new talent. So, don’t be shy… Connect with me on FB!

 

Are you sure you want to model for a living? Read my article on the changing fashion industry and how it’s affecting model work.

Other discussions coming soon:
Casting Director vs Casting Agent
Submitting Directly To Agencies
Online Agencies And Casting Websites

Models need to shoot “digital polaroids” every few months to show clients how they really look. They’re also the type of pics to snap when submitting to agencies for representation.

It’s important not to retouch, to have a clean no-makeup face and show all angles of your face. Agencies post these online for clients to reference how the model looks in person. You’d better look exactly like your digis when you walk through the door!

Here are my new digi polas, requested for a job in Paris. What do you think?

You learned how to Smize in a previous post, smiling with your eyes. It’s an emotional connection that a model makes with the camera lens.

Here, NYC fashion photographer Peter Hurley teaches the art of the “Squinch”, a physical trick that gives the perception that a connection is made. That a model isn’t blankly gazing but is engaging.

Watch, learn and practice. You’ll look cooler in your Instagram photos.

Tyra Banks Smizing

Models work hard to perfect their camera gaze. Photographers often instruct “Give me more.” But what’s more to give?

Tyra Banks coined the phrase “smizing”, when a model smiles with their eyes. Here’s a quick tutorial; now grab a mirror and start practicing.

fired-actor

Celebrities’ bad behavior is glorified in the press, but you aren’t Justin Bieber, Naomi Campbell or Charlie Sheen. Unless you’re a high-earning celebrity, the high-maintenance ‘tude is a red flag to agents and eventually will land you back on the street.

Adam Lieblein, founder of Acme Talent Agency, tells us 7 ways to Lose An Agent In One Step:

1- Call daily and nag your agent about your schedule.
Your agent is doing their best to get you seen. Stop doubting their abilities.

2- Ask to reschedule audition times.
Agencies consider themselves lucky to get slots from casting directors. Be grateful you got a slot.

3- Skip auditions; hope nobody notices.
See #2. You just took up a slot that could have been reassigned to a grateful actor.

4- Badmouth agents and clients on Facebook.
We actually sign confidentiality agreements at auditions and jobs these days.

5- Complain a lot on set.
Jobs are handled by production experts and you aren’t one of them. Roll with it.

6- Be late for an early morning call time.
Every. Minute. Counts. If you’re missing at a 5:10am call time the client will call your agent at 5:14am. At home.

7- Leave drunken messages on agent voicemails.
Brainstorms, messages of appreciation, appointment confirmations… 
Keep it short, sweet and sober.

These things seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how frequently they happen. Don’t let them happen to you. Be a Professional, say please and thank you, and keep your opinions to yourself.

Read Adam’s entire article in the Casting Networker here.

Bella Agency logo

There are three big, famous modeling agencies: Ford, Elite and Wilhelmina. They’re the powerhouses, but it’s hard to pivot a large corporate entity in a new direction. 

And fashion, my darlings, is moving in a new direction. Either move with it or move out of the way!

Let me explain:

Fashion used to have a defined cycle: runway, editorial, catalog, fit/showroom, commercial advertising. Each had it’s own time of the year so girls would move one cycle to the next, walk the runway one month, shoot the editorials the next month, shoot the catalogs in the months to follow. Fit and showroom girls were a full size 6 and worked a local market with the Fashion Coterie week every six months. Commercial was a frowned-upon adjective that implied cheesy lifestyle-type work and less money.

Europe was where models built their portfolios, starting in Milan and hopefully ending up in Paris. Germany had the money. Models would only move to NYC once their portfolios were strong and they’d compete in the high-stakes world of ad agencies and department stores. Japan was where models secretly went on six-week contracts to pad their bank accounts.

Fast forward to  today’s GLOBAL commercial fashion market generating over a trillion dollars per year. The Brazilians took over IMG’s booty-market (hello SI & Victoria’s Secret), Anina left NYC as an unknown model to break out as the most recognizable model in China, and Stephanie Winston Wolkoff took NY Fashion Week to Lincoln Center with the intention of making it a year-round event. The high-end fashion economy sunk to new lows and the retail sector reacted with severe downsizing and less-tailored garments; Macy’s acquired May Company, merging over 50% of US department store holdings into a single corporate entity while shuttering Macy’s West corporate headquarters.

Gone are the days of big budgets, trips to exotic locations with full teams shooting 6 shots in a day, and full-length catalog pages. Airfares hiked and models absorbed overhead costs in the hopes of keeping their clientele. Day rates dropped, but more models are willing to work for less, so clients cast a wider net. And then came eCommerce, the perfect solution for a resource-constrained retail world.

Ford NY has downsized to one division of models with a spectrum of ages & sizes. Consolidation is taking place across the entire industry. 

Think I’m wrong? Ford Models NY closed their Plus, Lifestyle and Classic boards on July 1st, 2013. Over 500 models and 20 agents went running for the doors to find new homes. Other agencies have followed suit, downsizing to their strongest, often youngest core of talent. Boutique agencies like DNA, Q Models, One Management and Muse are standing strong with solid, diverse, selective talent. Less models equals less overhead, which equals a better profit margin.

Photographers are shooting everything on white seamless in studio, 40 shots per day. Clothes are shown as still-life shots. Soon, it’ll just be one quick 360 degree video of a model in the clothes, and digital stills will be lifted from there. Faster and faster, until it all ends up feeling nothing like inspired art and more like a mass-production factory.

Fashion modeling has become commercially-driven and Warhol-ian. 
In the end, it’s a trillion-dollar business.

So, how does that affect my choice of agency representation? I’m betting on global commercial fashion and advertising to be the big consistent earners. Keep Reading »

model photo business card

Leave behind an impression! You never know when opportunity will call, but you can’t be walking around with a huge headshot or comp card. 

Put a different photo on every card and hand them out according to the circumstances: editorial for that edgy designer you meet, and natural for the tv agent you network with.

Much less expensive than printing comp cards, especially if you’re a parent whose child is quickly growing.

Click for 10% off your first order. This is where I get mine, so I know the quality is faboosh!

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