The correct way to launch your modeling career
The modeling industry is still in a critical state given the pandemic restrictions and mandates worldwide. The fashion industry is going through a revolution of its own, not just to survive but to be better than ever. Scores of new designers are making their debuts, and some have thrown caution and rules to the wind. Wear what you like, where you like and when you like, seems to be the mantra of the laissez-faire group.
In the United States, there are still a myriad of young men, women and their parents who are wondering what they should do to pursue a modeling career. I have been inundated with questions from people in local, regional, and international markets.
First a warning, do not ever try to launch your own modeling career. When you read about the glamour, fame, and fortune that fashion capitals offer, don’t be tempted to grab a passport, vaccination card and to head for Paris and Milan. That is not how it works. You must have a mother agent, the title given to the first agency who represents you, in this country. He or she will work with their counter parts abroad, who in turn will do their utmost to book prestigious assignments. All of these international agents are dedicated and know the business worldwide. I have had the pleasure of sitting in their agencies watching them negotiate and book models for assignments, in awe when they switched from language to language.
I have interviewed hundreds of agents worldwide on the warnings and advice they would give to new models. They all had a story to tell. There are many problems facing newcomers, even when they have beautiful features and perfect measurements. Culture shock, unrealistic expectations and lack of knowledge of the business head the list. This lull in activity as a result of the pandemic is a perfect opportunity to study the countries you would like to model in and to learn a little of the language and culture. One top agent opined; “American girls traveling to Europe for the first time should go to London first to avoid a language barrier. If the girls are not secure, the culture shock will be overwhelming. Paris and Milan will really throw them if they are not prepared. It makes life so much simpler if they can understand some of the language. This business is tough enough as it is, and it is getting so much harder all the time. A girl must be totally dedicated. This is a very serious business.”
In the early stages while you are still in high school, investigate opportunities where you live. To use the advice of many agents: bloom where you are planted! In the beginning, be prepared to help without reimbursement. Ask at boutiques or in department stores if they would consider you for a fashion show or in-house model. Try to do small jobs to see if you like the business. Social media is at your fingertips. An immense amount of information is just a few clicks away. Some of it is good, some is outdated or incorrect and a great deal is downright dangerous. You should not do this unsupervised. Scams are rampant. Human trafficking is a $150 billion dollar industry, and it is estimated that half of this will be done online. Average age of recruitment is 14. (For more information contact #ModelsAgainstTrafficking.)
It is sad, but necessary that I must emphasize the dark side of the profession. Be aware of it but concentrate on the many positive aspects of the business and the many caring, creative beautiful people who will help launch your career.
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