Modeling: more than a pretty face.
Kelly Causey, who has modeled in Europe and Asia, also enjoys traveling. She has done different kinds of modeling, from runway to print to commercials. But no matter what the medium, she says, models, especially beginning models, like the star treatment they receive. "You have professionals who are making up your face and hair, and you might get to wear a $5,000 outfit," says Causey, of Georgia. "Sometimes, it's almost like it's not real; it's as if you're playing."
Not a day goes by that we don't see models, like Wingfield and Causey, somewhere--on billboards, at local department stores, on our favorite TV game shows. Only a handful of them are supermodels who earn millions and hold celebrity status. The vast majority of working models earn a comfortable living at best and are treated as celebrities only within the modeling industry, if at all.
Although thousands of people work as models, even more compete to become models. Almost anyone who expects to become the next famous face is headed for disappointment. But those who enjoy modeling for its exciting opportunities are generally satisfied. "If you look at it in the right way, modeling is one of the most amazing businesses there is," says male model Beau Bourquin. "What we do for work is what 9-to-5 people take vacations to do: Travel all over the world, have fun, meet a lot of interesting people. It can get crazy and hectic. But as wild and crazy as this business is, you can have a realistic life."
There are many ways to get into modeling. Some models stumble into it without much forethought; others plan their lives around it from an early age. Although there are no guarantees that anyone can become a model, there are ways you can get things moving in the right direction. Keep reading to find out about the different media that use models, the standard requirements most modeling agencies look for, the process for finding and contacting the agencies, and what to expect if you become a model. The accompanying boxes discuss some related career options and how to avoid modeling scams.
Models and Their Media
The largest and highest grossing segment of this multimillion-dollar per year industry uses young, tall girls for fashion modeling. Less lucrative markets exist for males, infants and children, senior citizens, persons with disabilities, petites, plus-size models, and even specific body parts such as mouths or feet.
Some models' faces grace the covers of magazines. Others are part of the haute couture, or high fashion, elite of international runways. Still others appear in television commercials. But the majority of models are not as well known. Whether working in print, live, or on television, there are numerous possibilities for models in each medium.
Print modeling. Models who are photographed for printed matter make up the largest portion of the modeling industry. Still photographs of models appear in magazines, catalogs, newspapers, and corporate brochures, and on billboards. Generally, magazines provide models with the greatest variety of assignments in terms of coverage, diversity, and exposure. But catalogs, considered the least prestigious of the print modeling media, use the greatest number of models on a regular basis.
Magazines feature models in advertising, "advertorial," and editorial layouts. Advertisements vary in their use of models to display a company's product or create an image; an ad for foot powder might prominently feature its product with a parts model's feet, while an image-conscious ad for men's cologne might focus more on the model than on the product. Advertorials are product advertisements presented to look like photo essays. Editorial modeling includes content not paid for by outside advertisers, such as magazine covers and illustrations that accompany articles.
Although editorial modeling is the most prestigious of the three, it pays little compared to advertising and advertorial jobs. But advertising and advertorial work account for a small number of all modeling assignments--only about 10 percent, according to one agent's estimate. Meanwhile, publicity generated from appearing on the covers of major magazines often leads to more modeling assignments.
Live modeling. From the glamour of European runways to the obscurity of fitting rooms, live modeling is done in a variety of locations. According to Brandon Lewis, director of the Click Atlanta modeling agency, live modeling is especially popular in New York, Atlanta, and California. "The market for live modeling is growing a lot," he says. "Live ads have increased over the last 10 years." Live modeling is essential for fashion shows and showrooms; other models pose for sketching artists or model merchandise in retail stores or the fitting rooms of clothing designers. A small number do limited modeling for tea rooms, floor shows, trade shows, and conventions.
The semiannual designer collections shown in Milan, London, New York, and Paris are the best known of the runway fashion shows. But shows are also held in shopping malls, apparel marts, retail stores, ballrooms, and other establishments. Fashion shows often have a theme--such as bridal, sportswear, business, or leisure clothing--and the models who work in them have a flair for wearing the clothes. The best runway models are paid well and might do runway shows exclusively, but most do other kinds of modeling as well.
Although runway shows are watched by buyers, the press, and the public, showroom modeling is for buyers' eyes only. Showroom models wear clothing samples for buyers to view while sales representatives describe the clothing line. Some books about modeling suggest that showroom models are little more than administrative assistants who do occasional modeling for little pay. According to Lee Whitfield, owner of David Lee Models in Chicago, use of live models in showrooms is decreasing as technological change adds new media, such as videotaped shows and catalogs in CD ROM, that replace the need for showroom modeling.
Television modeling. The models who appear on television are usually more interested in acting than in modeling. They hope to become actors by starting out in commercials; cable television programs, such as home shopping shows; industrial films, which are videotaped for in-house corporate viewing; and game shows, including those that need assistants for the contest or for displaying prizes.
Television modeling is extremely competitive, both because physical requirements for television models differ from those for print or live modeling and because so many people are interested in acting. Although there are some nonspeaking parts for television models, being prepared for speaking roles adds to a model's versatility. Network television offers models the most exposure, prestige, and money.
Who Can Model?
Fashion designers say their clothing looks its best on tall, thin models. As a result, most modeling agencies set minimum height requirements for female fashion models at 5 feet 8 or 9 inches and at 6 feet or taller for males. Males should weigh 145 to 170 pounds; women, 108 to 125 pounds. Petites should be 5 feet 3 inches to 5 feet 5 inches tall and wear sizes 4 to 6. Plus-size models are generally at least 5 feet 8 inches tall and wear sizes 14 to 16.
Age requirements for models are less specific than physical requirements, but females usually start out younger and have shorter careers than males. However, male models claim only about 10 percent of the market. Most females begin modeling between the ages of 14 and 21; some start as young as 12. Males generally do not start modeling before age 16 or 17. Check with your school guidance counselor about your State's laws regarding working permits for minors. If you intend to work in a State other than the one in which you live--for example, if you are a Philadelphia resident planning to work in the Big Apple--you need to comply with that State's laws, too.
Given the age at which models begin working, some are tempted to drop out of school to work full time. "Sometimes, the glitz is so incredible that young people don't look at the long haul," says Whitfield, "and the importance of schooling and education gets pushed to the side--sometimes, even by parents." Adds modeling agent Dan Hollinger of the Kim Dawson Agency in Dallas, "It's extremely important for models to finish school because you always have to think about the `What if...?' What if something happens and you no longer have the ability to model? You have to have an education."
Dropping out of school has an impact on more than just a model's education, says Heinz Holba, president of L.A. Models in Los Angeles. "Half of modeling is personality, and that includes having your personal life together," he says. "Dropouts and runaways are not starting out with a good base. Strong family values and support increase the chances for long-term success." Bourquin agrees. He says keeping links between your personal and professional lives is important so you can stay above the fray. "You need to have foundations," he says, "whether it's friends, family, or other relationships."
Models who stay in school recognize its significance. "When you're modeling and traveling, having an education is very important. You need the experience to become independent," says model Causey. "When you're traveling, especially out of the country, you have to be able to take care of yourself" Wingfield says she occasionally misses a day of high school but knows it is important to keep up with her studies. "After I graduate, I'll go to college and try to keep modeling while I'm in school. I definitely want to have something to fall back on." And Bourquin, who, like Causey, has a college degree, says attending college should be a must. "Having a college degree gives you a foundation of comfort," he says. "I've seen firsthand people who wish they would've gone when they had the chance."
Recommended subjects and activities for high school and college include communications, foreign languages, math, physical education, drama, and dance. People who are interested in television modeling often take voice and acting lessons.
Many agents agree with Holba on the importance of models having a good personality. They also stress that models need qualities such as tenacity, self-discipline, endurance, patience, a sense of humor, and the desire to succeed. "You have to have desire," says Lewis. "There are lots of pretty faces, but if you don't want it bad enough, you won't go far." Models must also be flexible, given the spontaneity their work requires. "In this business, it's easy to get off schedule, but that's what I love about it," says Bourquin. "You need to set goals--realistic goals--for yourself, or you will find yourself meandering."
In addition, models need excellent posture; flawless skin; healthy hair; straight, white teeth; prominent cheekbones; good proportions; well-shaped legs; and an overall attractiveness or interesting look. But no one look is a sure thing, and that keeps modeling agencies busy screening those who want to enter the field. "The markets have changed drastically," says Hollinger. "We're always looking for new faces."
Standards for parts models vary, says Dani Korwin, owner of Parts Models in New York. Hand models, for example, have their hands assessed according to factors such as smoothness of skin, shape of hands, and length of nail beds.
Models are also expected to have a basic knowledge of the elements of their trade, as is the case with any occupation. This includes skin care, grooming, hair styling, and makeup application. Knowing how to walk, sit, move gracefully, and work in front of the camera should come naturally--or be learned quickly.
If you do not meet the requirements discussed above, it is unlikely you can become a fashion or runway model. Exceptions to the rules are rare and are generally reserved for the upper echelons of the modeling industry. Other types of modeling--including television, some newspaper ads, and posing for sketching artists--often have different requirements. But don't expect too much. The further you get from modeling's core standards, the rarer and even more competitive assignments are.
No matter what kind of modeling you want to do, you will need some photographs to promote yourself to modeling agencies. Modeling agencies assist models in building up their portfolio, or "book," a portable case containing tear sheets--pages or covers taken from periodicals as proof of the model's appearance in them--and photos taken by professional photographers; making suggestions for a model's photographic composite card, which includes the model's information and agency's name, to send to prospective clients; setting up meetings, called "go-sees" or castings, between models and potential clients; and collecting fees from clients to pay models.
The first photos that you send to agencies need not be professional studio photographs. Those are an unnecessary expense for beginners--in fact, most agencies discourage them at this point. Snapshots taken by a friend or family member will suffice. You may have seen pictures in books or magazines of models who have unkempt hairstyles and wear heavy makeup and stylish clothing. Don't try to imitate these looks in your first photos. Modeling agents want to see your natural appearance so they can analyze your features and decide if you have a look that's light for their agency. And the best way to show off your assets is to keep your photographs simple.
A couple of photos should introduce you to each agency. One photo should be a headshot in which you are smiling naturally, are wearing very little or no makeup, and have a simple hairstyle that does not hide your face. The other should be a full-body photo that shows your body structure; wear formfitting clothing, such as a body suit, rather than baggy or loose-fitting clothes. Aspiring parts models should include a closeup of their best features (such as teeth, hands, or legs) as well. Make multiple copies of the best head shot and body shot, and keep copies for yourself On the back of each, write your name, address, and phone number, along with your height, weight, clothing sizes, measurements, and age.
Agencies are easy to find in the major U.S. modeling markets--Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Seattle, Miami, Atlanta, and New York, modeling's hub. Look for modeling agencies listed in the Yellow Pages or advertised in trade periodicals. Or contact retail stores' advertising departments and ask where they get their models. But watch out for frauds. The accompanying box, "Modeling Agencies, Schools, and Competitions: How To Spot a Scam," discusses how to recognize--and avoid--unscrupulous agencies.
Call agencies and ask what type of models they are looking for. If the agency representative tells you to send in your snapshots, find out to whom and where to send them and ask whether you should include a letter or resume. Remember to be brief and courteous on the phone; agencies handle dozens of calls a day, and you don't want to stand out for tying up the phones or for being rude.
If you do not live near a big city, don't move to New York immediately. Modeling agencies may not be as numerous in small cities as in large ones, but they do exist. And working in a smaller market does not necessarily put you at a disadvantage for competing with models in larger ones. "It's better to start in a small market," says Lewis. "In a larger one, like New York, it's more expensive, competitive, ruder, and cruder. You don't have a chance to grow." Besides, says agent Betty Taylor of Seattle Models Guild, smaller markets are scouted by agencies from larger ones.
Freelancing, or working without an agency, is another option, but not for beginners. "A very small percentage of models freelance," says Whitfield. Those who do are already well established.
A week or 10 days after you have sent your photos to agencies, follow up with phone calls. Find out if you can set up an appointment for an interview, and ask when the agency has open call--that's when anyone can go to the agency office. If you are a minor, it is perfectly acceptable for you to bring an adult along for an interview or to an open call. Some agencies even have waiting rooms for accompanying adults.
An agency screener, sometimes the person at the reception desk, will meet with you to assess your potential. Wear clothing appropriate for your age, very little makeup, and a hairstyle that does not hide your hair's length, color, and texture.
Bring extra copies of your snapshots with you, even if you have already mailed some to the agency. Given the volume of mail some agencies handle, some photos get misplaced. It's better to play it safe. You cannot rely on your personal appearance as a substitute for photos. Although agencies screen potential models in person, your value to the agency depends on your camera presence. As one agent points out, "This business is based solely on how a person photographs, not on how they look."
At the interview, try to relax, act natural, be friendly, and show confidence and professionalism. Shake hands with your interviewer, make eye contact, and be honest in answering questions about subjects such as your background, special skills, and experience or training. Also, be prepared to discuss your availability, including how much time you are willing to devote to modeling while you are in school.
If an agency accepts you after the interview, it will most likely offer you a contract. Agencies expect you to take the contract with you to read before signing it; in fact, an agency that demands you sign one immediately is not legitimate and should be reported to the Better Business Bureau. Clarify terms of the contract with your agent and ask questions about your responsibilities, the agency's responsibilities, any training required, exclusivity, release agreements, anticipated startup costs, the agency's commission, and how and when you will be paid. If you are a minor, discuss terms of the contract with a parent or another adult, such as a lawyer. Minors can be excused from a legal obligation more easily than adults, but you should not enter into any contract without fully understanding its terms.
If you are not accepted after an interview--or at any stage in your attempts to become a model--don't give up right away if you really want to be a model. Rejections are to be expected, as you can't possibly fit every agency's look. Try finding out from the agencies why you were rejected, and be open to constructive criticism. If the critique deals with something you can change, such as your posture or hairstyle, work on it and try again, either with that agency or others.
But if the criticism is about something over which you have no control, such as the length of your legs, find out if that agency has a talent division for television commercials. If not, or if the agency persists in its refusal to consider you, politely thank the screener and cross that agency off your list.
If you keep hearing the same message from agency after agency, it is time to be honest with yourself. Remember, the modeling industry makes money based on physical appearance. Agencies see thousands of attractive people every year who do not meet their requirements.
The Working Model
Signing a contract with a modeling agency is an exciting and important step toward becoming a model. But you still have work to do. Having an agency affiliation adds to your credibility, but modeling agencies are not employment agencies. You have to convince clients to use you for their assignments. Under the guidance of your agency, you will visit dozens of phothographers and clients to increase your visibility as a model. Minors are encouraged to bring an adult to these sessions.
Soon after signing a contract, you will be sent to one or more photographers for what is known as testing. Test photographers are often chosen by the agency because the agency wants to see photos of you with a specific look that the photographer is familiar with. Photos that result from your test sessions are the foundation for building your book, which you will build over time. Your book eventually will include photos of you in a variety of poses and looks. You are responsible for testing expenses, and these costs vary from one session to another. Usually, photographers who test need photos to enhance or update their own portfolios' But that does not necessarily mean they share the expenses. "Testing originated as a way to test the film, lighting, cameras, and so on. It was a tradeoff between the photographer and the model," says Hollinger. "Now, it has become a money-making venture. It can cost anything from free to including expenses for stylists and makeup artists." The bottom line: Before each testing session begins, find out what you are expected to pay for.
In addition to supplying photos for your book, testing provides photos for creating a composite card and headsheet that serve as your business cards. Composite cards are 6- by 8-inch cards featuring photos of a model along with information about him or her; models distribute these to potential clients. (See sample on page 10. Headsheets are 8- by 10-inch closeups that the model's agency circulates. Together with your book, the composite card and headsheet introduce you to clients.
Clients call modeling agencies when they are looking for a particular type of model. When your agency thinks you might be right for an assignment, it arranges a go-see between you and the client. You are responsible for checking in with your agency daily, keeping track of your appointments, getting to each one on time, bringing your book and composite, and conducting yourself professionally during the meeting.
Some clients take their time with models they are considering. Others barely meet with the models, leafing through their books quickly and then dismissing them. Presumably, the agency screens clients it sends you to see; therefore, report extraordinarily rude or improper client behavior to your agency.
Busy models' work days vary and may consist of a series of go-sees, go--sees alternating with a shoot, or perhaps an all-day shoot. Modeling full time does not mean you will have assignments every day. But there are many off-camera tasks that will keep you busy. You might have to do more testing or add tear sheets to update your portfolios. Periodically, you should send out composite cards to potential clients and follow up with phone calls requesting a chance to meet. Maintaining your financial records also adds to your work day. And you are still responsible for keeping a healthy diet and staying fit.
You will want to go to as many go-sees as your agency arranges for you. But because go-sees and castings are competitive, you will not get the majority of assignments you audition for. "You face a lot of rejection," says Causey. "You have to learn not to take it personally and not to let it affect your self-esteem." Keep in mind that modeling is not the only occupation within the industry; see the accompanying box, "Changing Career Plans," for some ideas about other options.
A Catalog Shoot
If a client chooses you for a print job, it arranges a booking, usually through your agency. A booking is a job offer for a specific date. The agency provides you with details, including call time, location, and what you are expected to bring with you. Unless specific items are mentioned, models usually bring a model's bag that contains standard items such as cosmetics, some clothing, jewelry, a manicure kit, razor, and hairbrush.
You should arrive at the booking early, well rested and showered. Meals might not be provided, so it is also a good idea to eat before arrival.
No two shoots are exactly alike, but some people are almost always present. For a print job, they include a makeup artist, art director, stylists, photographer and several assistants, and the client. Several models might be working at the same time, so you may have to wait around for your turn in front of the camera. Try to get an estimate of what time your shooting will begin to allow yourself time to relax and prepare for it.
First, a hairstylist will style your hair, followed by a makeup artist who applies cosmetics to your face, neck, and any other skin surface being photographed. Next, you will dress for the shoot, either in clothing you were instructed to bring or in an outfit provided for the session. Even though models are within a limited range of clothing sizes, clothes do not always fit perfectly and might have to be adjusted. Once you are made up, dressed in an outfit, and ready to be photographed, you must do nothing--not even eat or drink--that could alter your appearance in the slightest way.
When it is time for your shoot, everyone present approaches the set. After you are on the set, the photographer checks the lighting and shoots a quick-developing photograph. Then, everyone looks at the photo to see how you will photograph on the set. Any necessary adjustments to lighting, touchups to your makeup or clothing, and alterations to the set are made, followed by another quick-developing photo shot. The process is repeated until everyone, especially the photographer and client, is satisfied with the result.
Finally, the photographer "goes to film," or shoots rolls of 35-millimeter film, with as many as four or five dozen shots taken. Photographers have different styles; some will direct you, while others expect you to improvise. Often, the client communicates through the photographer about what you are to do.
To gain experience, models often work overseas in cities such as Paris, Milan, Hamburg, London, and Tokyo. Modeling overseas is a way for fashion models to earn credentials doing runway shows and magazine print work.
"European runway shows are important to the model and the designer because they are attended by the international fashion press and the top echelon of the fashion retailers worldwide," says Whitfield. The biggest incentive for doing magazine print work overseas is the volume; according to Whitfield, there are more than 30 fashion publications in Milan alone. "Milan's attraction for the new model is that there are so many magazines, and that means there are a lot of editorial assignments," she says. "Models hope that they will be chosen for those assignments so that their book will be filled with excellent photographic credentials."
But there is still no guarantee every beginning model who goes overseas will find work; more and more European clients prefer that the models they use have some experience and tear sheets.
Male models need to go overseas sooner in their careers than females do, says Lewis. As Holba explains, "Going to Europe is important for male models, more so than for women. There are fewer men's than women's fashion magazines in the United States, but in Europe, there are hundreds of them."
Models who are still in school go overseas during the summer. The model's agency in the United States might have an overseas office or affiliate agency that can help the model make living arrangements. But for the most part, models are on their own overseas. Young models should bring an adult with them for the duration of the overseas stay.
Funding an overseas trip--including expenses for the model's traveling companion--does not come from the agency. Like other startup expenses for models, the cost of going overseas is considered an investment in the model's career. Agencies recommend that models have at least $2,000, in addition to round-trip airfare, to fund a European stay. If overseas travel is required for a particular assignment, such as an advertisement photographed in Bali, the client pays expenses for the entire trip. However, assignments with travel generally go to experienced models.
Although modeling overseas is recommended for any model who wants to make it big, it is not necessary for working in every type of medium. For example, catalog models sometimes go to Europe, but only to enhance their careers by adding tear sheets to their books--not because it is expected for catalog work. And while television models are paid well in the United States, the same is not true for television models in Europe.
Earnings and Expenses
As you probably know, models' incomes vary widely. That is because each model's earnings are tied to his or her marketability within the industry. In addition, there are different rates of pay based on the types of assignments a model has; income also depends on whether a model has assignments at all. And all models have expenses they must budget for, especially when they are starting out.
Most models are paid either an hourly rate or day rate, but they can also be booked for weekly or overall assignment rates. Basic hourly rates start at about $100 for catalog models; a swimsuit or lingerie model might earn $200 to $250 per hour. Day rates range from about $100 for models photographed for prestigious magazine covers to $3,000 or more per day for runway models. Parts models earn $150 to $2,500 per day, depending on the assignment. The Screen Actors Guild sets the minimum rate for television actors, currently $522 per day or $1,813 for a 5-day week.
Vouchers are models' primary payment method. Under the voucher system, each model carries a voucher book. Models note the hours worked and agreed-upon rate for each assignment on a voucher, and the client signs it at the job site. The model keeps a copy, the client receives a copy, and another goes to the model's agency, which adds a service fee and then bills the client. After the agency receives payment from the client, it takes out its service fee, usually about 20 percent, and the commission the model pays to the agency, also about 20 percent. For example, a client who books a model for a day rate of $100 might be billed $120, of which the model would receive $80.
Figures for annual averages vary, depending on region, medium, and marketability. Whitfield says that while some models' earnings are in the six figures, the majority earn a moderate living after taxes, commission to agencies, and other expenses. She estimates full-time models average about $40,000 to $60,000 per year. Lewis estimates that in New York City, earnings for full-time male or female models, ages 17 to 30, range from $150,000 to $5 million annually.
Although the money might sound good, keep in mind that the figures for annual averages are for established models. Starting out can easily put you in the hole. For startup expenses in their first 2 years, beginning models need at least $5,000-in addition to living expenses and the $2,000 needed if they plan to go overseas. That budget covers expenses such as testing, modeling cards, portfolios (one for themselves, another for the agency), mailing costs, transportation, a telephone answering machine or service, clothing, makeup, and incidentals.
New models should not count on being able to support themselves through modeling in the first few years. In addition to the fact that few models have income guarantees, most new models start young and have limited earnings working part time while they are still in school. Full-time models should expect to work at least a year before breaking even. Whitfield says it takes 2 or 3 years for a model to become established.
Models are independent contractors rather than employees of their agencies or clients. Therefore, models receive no benefits, such as health insurance or retirement planning, from either. Models must keep records of their business-related expenses--such as makeup, mailing costs, and transportation to go-sees-and earnings for filing income taxes, since agencies do not withhold money for taxes. However, the Screen Actors Guild does require withholding for television models.
Glamour and Beyond
Even though it might seem like play sometimes, Causey and others note that modeling is hard work. Even when they have an agency, models have to work at getting assignments by first attending go-sees and castings. Those often require hours of not-so-glamorous travel in taxis, trains, or buses and might last only a few minutes--and usually result in rejection. But no matter how many rejections models get, they must still be as pleasant at the end of the day as they were at the beginning.
In addition to the demands of each assignment, from the boredom of waiting for a shoot to begin to holding poses for a long time, modeling is difficult for other reasons. Fashions and seasons seldom match; thus, bathing suits for the upcoming summer might have to be modeled in December, while winter jackets are modeled in June.
Of course, traveling to another climate is one way of simulating seasons. But even constant travel has its downside. Clients who undertake travel and day-to-day expenses for models, stylists, photographers, and assistants expect everyone to stay busy, often leaving little time for sightseeing or other leisure activities. Add factors such as jet lag, adjusting to different locales, maintaining studies, and spending time away from family and friends, and exotic travel can quickly lose its thrill.
Competitiveness is another drawback to modeling, especially since so few make a big splash in the industry during their short careers. The average female model's career spans about 10 years, although male models can work longer. Most fad models, such as those who modeled the waif look, usually have careers lasting about half as long as mainstream ones.
Over the course of a decade, focus on the physical--not to mention being judged based on looks alone--can be damaging to a model's sense of self-worth. Constant attention to weight and personal appearance takes its toll. So can the uncertainty of the field. Bourquin says, "A lot of models have realized that modeling is not the easiest career goal to have because the income is not reliable." He dislikes the often unrealistic, image-based side of the industry, adding that he does not want to depend on modeling as his primary income for the rest of his life. As he says, "I don't want to go to bed at night knowing someone could suddenly say to me, We're not going to use you, we're going to use a woman for this job."
Still, for the young women and men who see it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, modeling does not disappoint. "I came into it not for the money but for the opportunity.; to have some fun," says Bourquin. "I never take it for granted."
For More Information
Associations exist for modeling schools and talent scouts, and many of these organizations offer modeling how--to pamphlets--often highlighting member schools and agencies. Models who move into acting can join the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), or the Screen Extras Guild (SEG). A new organization, the Models Guild, provides services for models, such as group health insurance and a credit union.
To learn more about modeling, visit your local library. Look for books about modeling, the fashion industry, and photography; some publications have bibliographies that point you toward other sources. Read journal articles on models, modeling, and fashion. Fashion magazines carry classified ads which sometimes include those for modeling schools and competitions; however, use caution when pursuing these opportunities, as advertisers are not screened by most publications.
Browse through a variety of periodicals to get a feel for the poses, faces and parts, and number of models who appear on their pages. Seventeen, Vogue, GQ, and other fashion magazines have numerous photos of models in editorial segments, advertorial spreads, and ads. But Ebony, Good Housekeeping, and dozens of other publications also feature models in ads and sometimes use models in article illustrations.
Your library should also have major cities' Yellow Pages, where you can find addresses and phone numbers for modeling agencies and Better Business Bureaus.
The International Directory of Model and Talent Agencies Schools ($29.95, plus shipping; New York residents add $2.47 sales tax), published by Peter Glenn Publications, lists contact information for agencies in major cities in the United States and abroad. Another well known resource is the Madison Avenue Handbook ($50, plus shipping; New York residents add $4.13 sales tax). Both are available from Models Mart, along with a number of other modeling products. For a price list, description of items, shipping charges, and ordering information, contact
42 West 38th Street
New York, NY 10018
1 (800) 223-1254
(212) 869-2020. The Ross Reports (single issue $5.60 for New York residents; $5.25 outside New York) list New York advertising agencies, casting directors, talent agencies, and producers of networks and television commercials. The reports are updated the first week of every month. Check your library or contact
Television Index, Inc.
40-29 27th Street
Long Island City, NY 11101
RELATED ARTICLE: Changing Career Plans
Whether they've had a successful modeling career or one that barely got off the ground, nearly all models eventually do something else. What they do usually depends on how they feel about the modeling or fashion industry. "Some models don't want to have anything to do with the industry after they get out of it, and they end up doing something completely different," says Dan Hollinger of the Kim Dawson Agency in Dallas. "But a lot become photographers, clients, makeup artists, stylists, agents--you name it." Hollinger, for example, has been an agent for about 8 years after modeling for 10.
Jobs outside of modeling that are still related to fashion include people who work directly with models and others who might never see them. Working most closely with models are those who prepare them for a photo session, such as hairstylists, makeup artists, and wardrobe assistants. Also associating with models are art directors, who arrange the set; photographers and their assistants; fashion designers; bookers, who arrange a model's go-sees and assignments; and agents.
People who work infashion media need to have knowledge of the industry. Some of the occupations might have direct contact with models. These jobs include producer and director of runway shows or video and television productions; technical staff, such as audio and lighting crews; fashion journalist; and magazine fashion editor. Other positions have little or no contact with models, including most advertising, marketing, and editorial jobs with video and television programs, periodicals, and live shows. Many of these jobs, especially those in advertising, are not limited to fashion.
Some people work on the peripheries of the fashion industry. Fashion artists draw clothing illustrations for newspapers and other media, manufacturers' sales representatives promote merchandise for designers, buyers choose and purchase merchandise for retail stores, and boutique or retail store managers display and sell merchandise to their customers.
Being a former model might not be enough to land a job in the fashion industry, but it certainly gives you an edge over someone with no fashion experience. And as a supplement to other knowledge, modeling can add dimensions to your plans. Model Kelly Causey is already looking ahead for ways to put her degree in advertising to use. "Through modeling, I've gotten to work with a lot of art directors, advertisers, and editors," she says. "I've gotten to see that side of the industry, so it's even more interesting to me now."
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|Title Annotation:||includes related articles on evaluation of modeling agencies, schools, and competitions and models' career changes|
|Publication:||Occupational Outlook Quarterly|
|Article Type:||Cover Story|
|Date:||Dec 22, 1995|
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