1. Know your market: The first thing you need to do is identify which modeling market you are eligible to work in. There are modeling opportunities for almost everyone, but this may take some honest reflection on yourself, your personality, and your body type. For example, if you are a female who is 5’4, you probably won’t have a future career as a high fashion model walking the runways of New York based on the current industry climate and qualifications. But there may be great opportunities for you in print or commercials, or even promotional modeling. There are dozens of different types of modeling that you might not have considered, so you will need to get educated on what kinds of modeling are available, and which categories you fit into.
2. Get training: Just like doctors need to attend medical school before they can begin their careers, getting training in modeling is recommended for you to get ahead. Clients want to know that the models they are hiring are prepared and experienced. Those with modeling training really stand out at auditions, so take classes to give yourself an edge over the competition.
3. Invest in great photos: Photography is a necessary expense as a professional model. Study magazines and advertisements that are similar to the market you’d like to work in, and strive to have your photos appear similar in style and quality. Creating a solid portfolio will demonstrate to agents and clients that you have experience in front of the camera and show them your photographic versatility. Choose photographers that have experience photographing for modeling agencies and advertisements; it will cost you a little more, but the results will be worth it.
4. Promote yourself: To be successful, you need to be your own advocate. Modeling opportunities aren’t going to just fall at your feet without putting in effort to get yourself seen. It’s important to promote yourself to get exposed to as many agents, casting directors, and other industry professionals as you can. You never know who will be able to help you with your career! Just make sure you are working with reputable people and companies who are well-established in the industry, and be wary of advertisements looking for models on websites like Craigslist and Model Mayhem. Anyone could post an ad “looking for models,” and your safety comes before anything!
5. Be reliable: Modeling is a career, and should be treated as such. Always act professionally and be on time. If you have committed to a modeling job, make sure you follow through with all of your obligations. If you are needed to go to a fitting, show up on time and prepared. Flakey models who drop out of events at the last minute will earn poor reputations in the industry, which may affect who hires you in the future. Not sure what your obligations are for a job you booked? Take initiative to ask important questions about call times, wardrobe, hair/makeup styling, and what is expected of you.
6. Practice makes perfect: Take advantage of as many modeling opportunities as you can. When you are just starting out, you can work against yourself by being overly picky when it comes to selecting jobs. You can build a strong resume by modeling for local companies, even if the job isn’t paid. Your well-developed resume will impress future clients and your skills will improve, taking you from a novice model to an expert with experience. Keep up your photo posing skills with frequent photo shoots, even if they are just for practice.
7. Be confident, and don’t give up! Confidence is the most important ingredient for a successful modeling career. If you don’t believe in yourself and your potential, how will anyone else? A smile, great posture, and eye contact will all give off the impression of confidence. In this industry, you may not get every part you audition for. Don’t get discouraged! Resilience and confidence go hand-in-hand, and sometimes it takes a while to find a good fit. If someone tells you “no,” instead of feeling rejected, ask for specific feedback on what you can do to improve.