The Truth Hurts
Think modeling is fun, easy, and glamorous? Think again. First of all, if you're just starting out, modeling rarely pays. There are lots of photographers out there who work with models, but a lot of them actually earn their living from models themselves. They feed off the desires of women to achieve fame and fortune, promising that the $400-$2000 they're "investing" in their portfolios will pay off in the long run.
It usually doesn't. For most models, that's as far as it ever goes. They create a pretty portfolio, fail to get paying gigs, and figure the whole industry is full of hucksters and scam artists. Other models will sign with "talent agencies" or "agents" claiming that they will show models the ropes. Those models wind up spending thousands of dollars and wind up with nothing to show for it but 1,000 useless headshots or comp cards, and nobody to give them to.
Assuming a model can find a legitimate market for her services, things still don't look much better. Last year, models made a median hourly wage of $11.22, and modeling was ranked 8 on the ten worst jobs in America
. Why? Modeling usually offers no benefits such as insurance. Lots of modeling gigs don't pay a nickel. Only a tiny portion of the models out there get "discovered" and go on to make millions. Models often take part time jobs (like waitressing -- another job that made the list) in order to make ends meet while they pursue a career in the modeling world.So how do you get ahead?
First of all -- meet as many photographers as you can who work with models. The good ones are likely to have connections with talent agencies, and should be able to give you an overview of the resources available to models in your area. Serious photographers who can actually provide paying work will have commercial clients, connections with fashion designers who frequently cast for runway shows, etc... They are invaluable networking contacts for working models. If the photographers you're working with can't rattle off a list of useful industry contacts, and back up his talk with great gigs, you should be working with someone else.
Another thing to remember -- you don't want to attach yourself to just one photographer. Work with a lot of photographers to get a range of looks in your portfolio, and keep in mind, networking is key. The more photographers you know, the more opportunities you will have to find work.
Look before you leap! Don't sign contracts with agencies before you've done your homework. Ask if you can speak to some models for whom they have found paying work. Ask questions like, "How much money did you invest? How much money have you made? Was it a good experience for you? Would you still sign if you could do it all again?"
Some photographers will tell you that you have to pose nude to get work. Question their motives. Sure, posing nude for playboy can make a career. But there are only a handful of shooters getting shots into Playboy. Your chances are very slim.
There are some advantages to posing nude -- you learn to be more comfortable in your own skin, and more open and relaxed in front of the lens. Once you're naked, what else is there to hide? There is a real sense of intimacy in a nude photograph that you simply can't capture with clothes on. The symbolism of nudity has always been a major focus in the art world, and some of my favorite photographs are nudes.
The question is, do you trust your photographer to keep it professional? Do you trust that the images will be flattering? Do you trust that the photos won't end up on a seedy website somewhere, or in a porn mag? Do you plan to run for public office? How would you feel if your mother saw the photos? There are real risks to posing nude that you should weigh carefully before you take the plunge.Why Would Anybody Want to Model?
Photographs -- Lots of free photographs. Don't under-estimate the value of a good photograph. It can boost your self esteem, empower you, even open doors for you and help you meet new people.
Getting to know yourself -- As you learn to look pretty for photographs, you also learn how to present yourself better, and you become more comfortable in your own skin, and that can help in any aspect of your life, professional, and personal.
Extra money -- You usually have to pay your dues before you start getting a steady stream of paying work, but once you get over that first hurdle, modeling is a great way to make some extra spending money.
Flexible hours -- Need some time off? Just pass on a gig. It's okay to say no to modeling jobs. What's NOT okay is to say yes and then fail to show up.
Flexible work -- You chose who you want to work with, and who you don't want to work with. You decide (to some extent) the type of work you want to do. Will you specialize in casual fashion? Lifestyle modeling? Fitness? High fashion?
Education -- Models are likely to learn quite about about fashion, makeup, and style. Maybe it sounds shallow to some, but looking your best does make life easier and more fun!
Travel opportunities -- These opportunities are rare for most models, but if you're the right girl for the job, people will be willing to fly you where you need to be, and generally, those places are exotic and fun!
Playing the lottery -- It's extremely unlikely that you'll be "discovered" and go on to be the next top model, but if you're interested, and this article didn't scare you off... you might as well go for it! Just like any other career, hard work and determination will take you places.
Have you read all this and still want to be a model? Get in touch. I want to work with you!
Labels: fashion, model, modeling, models