The Pros and Cons Of A Modelling Career
Models and Weight
Life In The Spotlight
Many young girls and guys dream of a modelling career. It is a profession that is tied to fame, glamor, money and travel to exotic locations. With these fantasy images in mind people spend thousands on portfolios, modelling classes and exercise regimes in the hopes of being signed by an agency that will catapult them to the pinnacle of success. This is the elusive 'carrot' that causes people to cross personal boundaries and ignore reality when it comes to their own particular situation. While there are many good things to be found in the world of modelling there is also a dark underside that everyone should be aware of before signing their life away.
If you sign with a reputable agency you will make a good income. There are a lot of options for models such as: catwalk work, magazine layouts, catalogues, advertisements and other opportunities. Height is not as much of an issue as people think. It is only relevant to the catwalk. Many models with smaller statures are generating a lot of work for themselves in other avenues. Not to mention there are such things as hand and feet models.
Travel is a normal part of this profession. Sometimes you get to stay in exotic locations and even live abroad. Usually you are housed with other models and so it is a very social life. Alternatively, you could choose to take jobs within your local area only and enjoy the benefits of being near home. You will probably not earn the big bucks this way (unless home is New York or Paris) but you will receive a nice sideline income with which to pay the bills.
Modelling can be a great boost to your confidence. Seeing finished photos within the covers of a magazine is an incredible experience. Most people don't realise how glamorous they can look until they've participated in a professional shoot.
Finally, of course, there is the fame factor. If you are one of the lucky few to reach the top of this profession everyone will know who you are. Your face will open many doors and opportunities to parlay your modelling work into other careers will abound. There are many examples of models starting fashion lines, hosting TV shows or investing in businesses that previously would have been difficult to attain.
These are the positive aspects of a career in modelling. Unfortunately there are also a lot of negatives associated with this profession.
There are many, many, many shady agencies. They are run by scam artists who are only interested in taking every last cent you have. They prey on the dreams of young people in order to make themselves rich and the victims are left with nothing. Worse still are the porn agencies who present themselves as legitimate modelling businesses. They sign girls up and then slowly brainwash them into thinking they have to be sexy to make it. Over time they use peer pressure to convince the girls that nudity is a part of the business and that this is the easy way to make lots of money. Of course there is nothing 'easy' about a life involved with porn. Not to mention, porn is NOT modelling.
As a model you are considered a product not a person. (Especially in the beginning when you are still an unknown.) As such people tend to talk AT you not TO you. Sometimes agents and photographers will talk about you as if you are not standing in the same room. For anyone lacking confidence in themselves this can be very disconcerting and upsetting. Usually there will be comments about your physical appearance. These can be quite harsh and demeaning which is why the industry has been plagued with issues related to eating disorders. Given the recent deaths of some prominent models views on weight and beauty are slowly starting to change and the introduction of BMI testing will help in this area. However, this is still an industry where unrealistic expectations of "beauty" abound. You have to be very grounded within yourself to allow these comments to pass by you and not to affect you.
Another dark side to the modelling business is the rampant drug use. Models are given and have free access to all manner of illicit substances. Sometimes these are used to keep weight off. Sometimes they are used to stay awake and alert for shoots or shows that occur at all times of the day and night. Sometimes it is the social pressure to party and fit in that causes young models to try these damaging narcotics. The official party line from the industry is that this kind of behavior is not tolerated. However, models who are currently working within this business consistently tell a different story.
Tips For Anyone Starting Out
Do not spend money on "professional modelling schools". If an agency sees potential in your look they will work with you in-house. Most modelling schools are simply etiquette training centers in disguise. They will not be able to launch your modelling career and a lot of them are under investigation for fraudulent practices with lawsuits pending.
Always investigate sudden opportunities to see if they are legitimate. If you are 'discovered' in a mall etc. research the company. If upon talking to the agent they require down payments of money then it is a scam. Reputable agencies represent YOU. They earn a commission of your bookings and take their cut from the clients payment not from the models.
Do not spend hundreds or thousands of dollars for professional photos. Most agencies only require one head shot and one body shot. Put on a pair of jeans and a white t-shirt and have a friend take a decent photo of you. If you decide you still want to create more professional looking photos then find a photographer who needs shots for their portfolio. This is called TFP (time for prints) and it's free. The photographer and the model donate their time for the shoot and each of them walk away with a professional portfolio. It is a win, win situation. Of course when working with a stranger always put your safety first. Meet them in advance to make sure you are comfortable with the photographer and ensure you have a chaperone for the day of the shoot. If the photographer doesn't want a chaperone present then something is wrong. Find another person to shoot you.
Research which agencies are legitimate! This is the best use of your time before committing to this career. Find out who represents the models that are working. Try to talk to other models to see how they are treated within their agency. Look at the agencies submission policies. What do they require to evaluate your potential as a model? Research, research, research. This cannot be stressed enough as there are just so many fraudulent companies within this industry.
Lastly, underage models should always have a chaperone with them. Reputable agencies take no issue with this request and it is definitely the best thing for the model. It is easy to be lead astray when you are young and impressionable. Everything seems so glamorous that soon anything goes. Having a stable adult presence to keep you grounded will pay off for you in the long term. After all, this is about work and a career, a chaperone will remind you of these things and ensure that the money you make stays with you!
Modelling can certainly be a rewarding experience in many ways. As long as you avoid the darker side to this profession and insist on putting your personal values first (before profit) then you can enjoy quite an interesting career path. It is also good to remember that this is a job and you will work HARD to earn your money. Long hours, jet lag, heavy makeup, weird haircuts and standing forever in awkward poses are all part of this exciting profession.