How To Become A Model

If you had asked me this question a decade ago I would have started saying you needed to be a certain height, weight and size.  However these days, thanks to the voices that are being listened to on social media and the rise in wanting to see more diversity in fashion campaigns, modelling agencies and brands have lifted their usual standardised model statistics and are more open minded.  Yes I am also whopping and jumping for joy about this shift too!

Figleaves campaign 2018 using models of diversity.

I’ve seen the industry evolve for the better in such a dramatic way that has luckily kept me in the industry, and opened doors to some wonderful inspiring models that wouldn’t have necessarily been open years ago. 

So you want to become a model.  It doesn’t matter if you’re 18 or 58 years old, a size 6 or 16…Let’s go for it! A great website to look at with all the trusted and respected modelling agencies in London, Manchester and Glasgow as well as some valuable information about working as model is listed on the British Fashion Model Agents Association website.  

There are other agencies that aren’t listed on this website but still respected that I have listed; 

IMM, MOT, BMA, 12+UK, Bridge, Base, Anti-Agency, Source, Vision, StarNow

I’ve heard many stories of aspiring models getting exploited and given false promises of paid jobs or a place with an agency in exchange for an expensive and unprofessional photographic shoot.  Stay away from this.  You do not need this fraudulent ‘stepping stone’ to get into modelling.  Do not be drawn into glamorous sounding opportunities that will leave you short changed and deflated.  

A career in modelling can offer you an incredible opportunity to travel the world, meet creative and influential people and produce a generous income.  However, modelling is an extremely competitive business and demands high standard of models which can be achieved with some essential ingredients – a trusted agent, professionalism, positive attitude, perseverance, dedication, a friendly approach, a bit of luck and in some cases a good social following. 

The best way to get into an agency is to physically go there and see them in person.  Call them up in advance and ask when they have their ‘walk-ins’ and if you can, ask for the name of the agent you will see. It always helps to have a contact. 

It’s so important to call them.  Do not contact them via their personal Instagram or email.  Pick up the phone. 

Agents are extremely busy people so don’t expect more than 5/10 minutes with them but this is your time to shine! Agents pretty much know immediately if they like you or not, so remember to smile, radiate confidence and get a good nights sleep the night before. 

I’ve listed the do’s and don’t’s for that first meeting with an agency…   Here are my top tips for making that big break!

  1. You DO NOT need to spend lots of money with a photographer to be accepted by an agency.  I have seen this happen time after time with bad results.  A selfie on your mobile phone in good lighting is all that you need at first.  Agents have an eye for seeing something special in people. 
  2. As mentioned before, pick up the phone and call the agency you want to approach. Every agency has a specific day(s) and time for potential models to walk in and meet an agent face to face.  They are inundated with hundreds of emails a day and may not get back to you if you send in photos.  If you live out of London, make a few appointments on the same day and make a trip of it. 
  3. Find out how tall you are as you will be asked over the phone before you arrive. Generally agents are looking for a minimum height of 5’8” but in some cases there has been an exceptions to the rule. 
  4. Agents want to see you as a blank canvas.  If you’re wearing a ton of make up, false eye lashes, over penciled eyebrows, fake tan etc they may ask you to take it off and come back with a naked face, which if unprepared will send shock waves through your confidence.  Go with very little make up that only enhances your natural beauty.  
  5. Wear clothes that show off your figure.  If you are an hourglass shape, then show it off! They want to see the real you.  If you’re not sure what to wear, always go for classic blue jeans and a T Shirt with a little heel (this will help with the confidence).  
  6. Sometimes the agents will ask for ‘digitals’ of you.  These will include a head shot, full length body shot and in some cases a lingerie shot.  Don’t be alarmed this is totally normal.  It can sometimes be in front of all the bookers who work at the agency, but again, don’t worry they have seen it all before and is just like a doctor looking down someones throat.
  7. Wear matching underwear and get a wax just incase they ask you to strip down to your lingerie. Again this is normal and nothing to be alarmed of. 
  8. You will be measured. Your height, bust, waist, hips and shoe size will be recorded. 
  9. Have clean hair.  Obvious I know, but I’ve witnessed greasy hair on potential models.  This never goes down well. Make the effort! 
  10. They may ask to see your ‘walk’. What they mean is they want to see you walking as if you’re on the runway. YouTube fashion shows and watch how the top models walk and practice before you go to the agency. 
  11. Practise posing in the mirror and talking to camera. This is how all models learn to work the camera. I still practise! 
  12. Ooze confidence.  Modelling isn’t just about looks, but also about personality.  Be careful though not to come across too cocky as this can also be a turn off.  Just be the person your friends and family see and love and always look agents in the eye.  
  13. Be honest about your age and size.  
  14. If you have already been rejected by another agency, don’t let them know this.  Make out they are the first agent you have seen – ever.  Agents don’t like being sloppy seconds. 
  15. If you are successful, the agent will want to sign you up immediately.  They will hand you a contract that you can take away and read in your own time.  If you’re with an agency that is under the BFMA the contracts are all legit, they take a percentage of your sales which is usually around 24% (this differs with each agency). So for example, if you did a shoot and the rate was £1000 per day, you would walk away with £760. 
  16. If you are rejected (I hate this word, but it does go hand and hand with the business I’m afraid), don’t be disheartened.  There are many agencies out there that you may be perfect for so keep on going! I was rejected from my first agency, then was snapped up by the second one I saw 45 minutes later.  Lots of models have the same story. 
  17. If the agent says ‘I’ll be in touch’, I would take this as a no.  As I mentioned, if they want you, they will sign you up immediately.  If you have to call back or email in a week’s time to see how you did, it won’t be the answer you’re looking for unfortunately. 
  18. The agents will also be interested in your social media account, such as Instagram. Having an online presence can be beneficial and open more doors for you to work with brands so always work on your social media account to build up a following.  
  19. Smile and thank them for taking the time to see you.

There is no logic in this business.  There are no guarantees.  You could work every day for weeks and then not work at all for a month.  The rejection can be soul destroying when you have your heart set on a job you’ve been put up for, but I’ve learnt that it’s not personal. You may be on brand for one client – and not for another. 

Saying this, it’s a great job and I treat every shoot as my last. I give it all I’ve got in the hope I’ll be rebooked!??

I hope this has been helpful for anyone wanting to become a model.  Share and comment – I’d love to hear from you. 

See you next week 

Louise x


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