Advice For Those Who Want To Become Models
Fashion and catwalk modelling is seen by many as a dream career - it is in fact hard work for little or no pay at the start.
Most girls as young as age 12 and boys from age 15 start dreaming of a fashion and photographic modelling career. They think it will provide a glamorous lifestyle, fame and fortune, when in fact the reality is hard work for little or no pay at the start and then no promises of success.
So its time for a reality check. Only one in one thousand girls will achieve their goal to join a top fashion model agency at age 16 and most of the time those that get taken on by an agency will last around 6-8 months before getting fed up and demoralised at the level of competition and rejection. It is also a fact that a large number of girls and boys are dropped by the agency if they have not succeeded at castings with a 6 month timescale, as many other new faces come along at an alarming rate.
Entry requirements : Modelling does not require high level of intelligence. However we always suggest those aiming for this career should achieve good exam results first to ensure they have something to utilise and fall back on should their bid fail as one in one thousand achieving success means a very high failure rate. Models will have to be able to read and write as they will be expected rely upon written directions and addresses to find the locations of castings or assignments. Good manners and interpersonal skills are essential; anyone with an attitude problem will not be tolerated. Punctuality and good commonsense is also a requirement along with the ability to organise and time manage.
Modelling is not for the faint hearted or for those that want a 9 am -5 pm job that will provide them with regular work with a weekly income.
Payment to models is very irregular and agents are finding it increasing difficult to get clients to pay for assignments within 3 months of the work being completed, sometimes clients and or companies go bust and never pay leaving the model and agent out of pocket. During that time models have to continue to pay out travel costs to get to and from castings and auditions, for the next assignment that they are aiming for and hope to achieve.
Like the entertainment industry that is also non-regulated, modelling attracts a rogue agency element. We will only recommend those agents recognised as trading to an excellent standard on our A list agents page on the web site albamodel.info
Competition is tremendous amongst the girls yet not too fierce amongst the boys, who seem to handle the pressure much better. Mainly because the contract fees for males are rising but are nowhere near as lucrative as those for the girls for beauty products or advertising campaigns. Many girls do get very depressed and demoralised at being seen for 30 seconds or at most a couple of minutes and then another girl amongst the hundreds in the queue that show up for that casting gets the assignment. The ability not to take rejection personally is essential as well as having the mental strength to keep coping with it. Kate Moss was discovered at age 14 but she did not get her first campaign until she was aged 17 with Calvin Klein jeans, she admits she went through a lot of rejection, which did have a profound affect upon her.
There are specific height requirements for fashion modelling; the myth that anyone of any height or body shape can do it is misleading.
Girls aged 16 and over start at 5ft 8inches tall up to 6ft 1ins
Boys aged 16 and over start at 5ft 10ins to 6ft 3ins.
Sadly this industry remains size obsessed, which is something that has to be addressed, by both the media and the designers who stipulate the height and sizes of models that they require. We take note that many girls and boys within the industry are naturally slender but we note this industry puts models under pressure to be slim.
There is a market for plus sized models, however this is limited and so agencies are reluctant to take on too many models of this category. We have detiasl of these agencies on our site.
Many other girls believe that if they are not the right height or body shape they can opt to join the glamour side of the modelling industry. However, long gone are the days of a girl naming the fee, as did Jordan - who now has changed back to her real name of Katie Price. The glamour industry is saturated by girls who believe they want to be the next Jordan, and sadly this route is plagued with a rogue element only too happy to exploit young girls dreams of fame and fortune. Modelling fees earned within the Glamour industry are at an all time low, with some girls so desperate to get a foot on the ladder that they agree to work for no payment but for receipt of copies of the pictures alone.
Because the start of modelling is to difficult in terms of income, most models both male and female have to get a part-time job, usually in the evenings or weekends to leave them free to attend castings in the daytime. Many get tired of this lifestyle and often find beauty or photographic related careers in work related fashion opportunities. Those that stay the pace will never achieve a regular income unless they are given a campaign with a set fee for a set period of time, this is negotiated by the agent who will receive payment on behalf of the model into a client account, then the agent deducts commission from payment from the assignment completed before payment is made to the model. All tax and National Insurance payment are the liability of the model.
Application process: All that is needed are simple snapshot pictures taken either by a family member or a friend, one headshot and one full length. The applicant will need to send a letter with the details of their age, height, and statistics along with a self addressed and stamped envelope to any of the Agents on our Alba A List of agents pages which can be viewed/printed from the alba web site for free.
Be very wary of hotle scouting scams and online scouting companies - the Internet is a very easy way for rogues to fool you into parting with money whilst they remian annonymous !
Upon a successful application an agent will invite the applicant for an interview (if under 16 with a parent), then if the agent feels the applicant has potential they will usually send them for a test shoot, with a view to obtaining pictures to market the model. At the interview stage agents will discuss commission and payment terms to the model once a client pays for an assignment completed. Models are self-employed and will require guidance by the agent on their tax liabilities. There are however, no promises of work as it is the client not the agent that decides who gets the assignment. Agents are permitted by the DTI to request a contribution to placing the model within either a model directory or upon the agency web site however, we only recommend agencies upon our A list of agents page that have a good track record and do actually attempt to find models work.
Training Model training courses are not essential for gaining a place within an agency, however, it can help towards becoming a successful model, as a lack confidence and experience can be a big contributor to not getting the assignment at a casting or go- see.
Most agencies will not charge up front fees up front for training. Fees for the course will usually be paid directly to the model training centre by the novice model– some larger agencies will help to subsidise the cost of the course and then deduct the cost once the model is found paid assignments; but not all agencies can afford to keep doing that for new faces.
Modelling Courses can be full- or part-time and last for anything from one day to a couple of weeks. They may include diet, health and figure correction, deportment, fashion co-ordination, grooming, catwalk turns and movements, photographic modelling techniques and how to work with agents. Some courses include a portfolio session to provide models with a few professional photographs to get the models portfolio started to show agents and employers. Others concentrate strictly upon the deportment and knowledge about the industry, which all novices require, and leave the photographic side to the agent to place each model with the ideal test, shot photographer for that model.
Agents which have a new face which is not reaching their full potential will often see the benefit of a proper deportment training course, as the new face may be struggling with confidence and lack of knowledge at auditions where other more experienced models are already competent. See more about modelling courses at www.themodelworkshop.co.uk
We have just finished filming a DVD careers guide on the real world of modelling and the correct and safe way to join it, on release from April 2007. From the web site and if you cannot get one ask your school or library, careers service to order a copy for you and your fellow students to learn more about an indsutry which if you are successful in joining is fabulous and fun.
www.albamodel.info holds many pages of advice and information for all age groups wanting to consider a career in modelling as well as an e- mail service for personal enquiries not dealt with on the site.
PO Box 588
Helpline 0871-717-71710 recorded message for non Internet users
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