May 3, 2011

Modeling Basics

I get a lot of requests for girls to become models and I forward all their photos to my agents.  But I think it would even more helpful to give you the information straight from someone that climbed the ranks to the top.  Wanna be on top? Nay nah nah nah na na. Nay nah nah na na. (Insert ANTM theme music from your mind here)

Here's a rough look at the stats for your chances.  Better to give you the truth, right?  Agents get about 10,000 submissions/year.  Out of that 10,000 they might choose 5-10 girls to develop.  Out of that 5-10 girls 1-2 will work.   

I'll start with the basics.  A model needs to have these qualities: 

1. Great bone structure 
A lot of of people assume, and this isn't to negate your quest to be a model, that models are indeed beautiful.  And what I mean by beautiful is is cheerleader pretty.  Models aren't necessarily beautiful.  They have amazing bone structure that pops when makeup is applied.  Their bones allow for versatile looks.  

What's the bone structure needed?
High cheek bones
Strong jaw line
Wide or high forehead
A nose that is straight and strong (can be photographed from many angles)
Wide spread eyes
Long limbs
Proportional body

2.  Height
In order to do High Fashion.  You need to be at least 5'9.  A catalogue or commercial model needs to be 5'7.  Keep in mind however that most High Fashion models cross over and do both so the competition is fierce.  If you want to do runway, 5'10"-6' is your best bet. 

3. Measurements
The fashion industry doesn't look like it's going to be changing their standards anytime soon on this.  Your bust needs to be between 32-34 inches.  Your waist needs to be between 22-24 inches and your hips need to be between 33-35 inches.  Again, the key is symmetry.  Aim for a 10 inch difference between Bust/Waist/Hip.   

4. Attitude
Your attitude is a make of break of the fashion industry.  A model must be willing to go the extra length.  There is a union, however it is small and ineffective.  At this point there is no one protecting you from long hours, unsavory shooting conditions and questionable business practices beyond your agent and keep in mind that if you're shooting on set, they're already moving onto the next new face and helping her get to where you are.  You're agents will do their best to protect you, but the industry moves too fast to keep up with all the details.  Be prepared to protect yourself. I've said it in previous blog posts that the smartest women I know have been models.  They are street smart and know how to handle and protect themselves on set without insulting anyone.  Diplomacy is your best friend in the modeling industry. 


1. Polaroids
These are basic shots of your face, hair and body.  You can take them with a digital camera.  Do not wear makeup, but if you must, keep it minimal.  Agents need to see your skin type and tone.  Flaws are not going to be held against you if you have the bone structure they're looking for.   A full body shot is simply a photo of you standing.  Wear clothing that shows your figure.  Do not pose.  Just stand. Take a photo of front and both profiles for both body and face.  Include hair up if you have long hair. 

2. Your measurements

3. Any representation you already have.  Agents need to know this so they can make a deal with your Mother Agency. 

Just know that the industry is constantly looking for raw undiscovered beauty and talent.  They don't care if you've never set foot on a set before.  I'll include the photos I sent to my first agents as proof you don't have to know what you're doing to find an agent.  Again, if you have the right bone structure, weight, hair and style issues are all fixable in the eyes of an agent. Take a look at "industry chubby" high school version of me. Let me reiterate.  Agents have an eye and can see past poor clothing choices and hair styles.  Just look at the polaroids that got me started. I was on the cover of Italian Vogue ultra slim and half naked with bright red hair a year later. 

As you can see, these polaroids aren't anything special.  But the bone structure of the face and body proportions are clearly seen and it happened to be what the industry was looking for at the moment.  

Who To Submit To: 
Here's a list of the top modeling agencies in the business today.  If you want to model, this is who you want to represent you. 
Thank you

2. Women: website currently not operating.
3. Next: currently does not accept submissions via their website, blog or email.
6. Marilyn: 
8. New York Model Management:

These are the basics of breaking into the modeling business.   Good luck and get those polaroids out!  Remember nothing professional.  Unless Steven Meisel himself took your photo, agents just don't want to see a less than stellar modeling shoot you did with your hometown photographer.  

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