Being a model may seem glamorous, fun and exciting and many young girls dream about strutting down the catwalk or gracing the cover of Vogue. It can sometimes seem like such an easy way of making living and a gateway to a stylish and exciting lifestyle. As professional models, we have both experienced the exciting highs but also seen the darker side of the industry and being a model can be tough. You may have read and seen models or ex-models slating the industry and the profession but although it is a tough industry, we have personally still chosen to work as models and we still love what we do. Having said that, there are a few things that would have been beneficial to have know before we started modelling which would have made our whole journey so much easier. These are the “10 Things That We Wished We Knew Before We Started Modelling”
You Don’t Have To Be Tall To Become A Model
Height can be important if you are a model, especially if you are looking to work as a fashion model and get booked to for catwalk shows. Although being tall may be an advantage for some types of modelling it doesn’t mean that if you aren’t 5ft11 and a size 4 you cannot have a career as a model. There are different types of modelling so don’t let yourself get discouraged if you are not meeting the height criteria. Look into other types of modelling such a commercial modelling where height isn’t so important. There are plenty of models that have great careers that are under the typical model height of 5ft 10 so do not let the myth of “You have to be super tall and super skinny to become a model” discourage you from pursuing a career in modelling.
You Probably Won’t Become Rich
There is a common misconception that modelling will make you rich. This is unfortunately not true. Although the daily rates can sometimes be quite good, you probably will not be working 5 days a week and sometimes you can go a couple of week (sometimes even longer) without booking any jobs. As a model, you will most likely spend your days running around to different castings or doing unpaid test shoots to boost your portfolio. Many models struggle with debt as it can be a really tough profession to make a living out of due to the irregular work pattern and the fierce competition.
Find Out What Type Of Modelling You Want To Do
Like we mentioned previously, there are different types of modelling and figuring out what you want to do and what type of modelling that will suit you earlier rather than later will eliminate time wasted on trying to fit into a box that just isn’t right for you. For example, if you are 5ft6 you may not be suitable for catwalk shows but you may be perfect for commercial, ecom and catalogue work.
You Don’t Necessarily Need An Agency
We have had so many questions from young girls asking i they need to have an agency to start modelling and the simple answer is no but having an agency does have it’s advantages.
Emelie – When I first started modelling I had an agency and I think that was great for me at the time as I knew nothing or nobody in the industry. As time progressed, I started to build up my own network of contacts and eventually I started to receive freelance bookings through Facebook (Instagram wasn’t a thing back then). My agency at the time did not give me a lot of work and I ended up spending more than I earned on train tickets to attend castings so I wasn’t able to support myself financially. That is when I left my exclusive agency and started freelancing instead. At first I had part-time jobs whilst I modelled part-time but as my network of clients grew, I was able to quit my job as a barmaid and started freelance modelling full-time. The disadvantages with not having an agency is that they will undoubtedly have a network of clients and be able to secure bigger campaigns than you will on your own as a freelance model. Your agency will also ensure you get a fair rate for the jobs they book you for but they will obviously take a cut of that fee. They also make sure the client pay the agreed fee, although it can take as long as six months (sometimes even longer) to actually get paid. As a freelance model you are the boss so you can set your own fees, work with the people you want to work with which is a huge advantage. Unfortunately you will have to do all the invoicing and chasing unpaid invoices yourself and it can sometimes be difficult to get clients to agree to a fair rate. Many clients will be negotiating hard to reduce the cost of the shoot so that is something you have to be prepared for. There are pros and cons with both being an agency model and a freelance model but we can go into the details in another post.
Do Not Take Everything Your Agency Tells You As Unquestionable Truth
Your agency is basically employed to get you work, similar to a recruitment agency, they may be painting things in a much more positive light to make jobs or job trips sound far better than they may be in reality. It is also important to beware of any agent telling you that you are not good enough or that you need to loose weight. They are there to get you booked for jobs and support you with your career, not to make you feel bad. If you are signed to an agency that is constantly harassing you about losing weight or shedding centimeters, stand up for yourself. If they continue to treat you badly, it may be time to consider to find another agency.
Read Any Contracts You Are About To Sign Thoroughly
We cannot stress the importance of this point enough. When you receive a contract from anyone, whether it is from your agency or a client, read it properly. Don’t just glance over it and sign it. If they are pressuring you to sign there and then, let them know that you are a professional model that would like to ensure she understands the full terms and conditions of the contract. Always ask to receive a copy to take home to read through in your own time. Don’t be fooled by anyone saying it’s just a standard contract with no unusual terms and conditions. It is your job to understand what you are getting yourself into and it may be worth asking a loved one to read it through to make sure you fully understand the contract.
You Will Work Long Hours
Working as a model isn’t always easy and you may end up working 10 to 16 hour days on a regular basis which can be exhausting. You may also have very irregular work patterns such as getting ready for a shoot with the sunrise shoot where you may have to be in hair and make-up as early as 3am. Sometimes you also have to work through the night depending what type of shoot you are working on. Once the shoot is finished you may also have a long journey back home and we have spent endless amount of hours travelling to and from shoots which can be very tiring after a 12hr day shooting.
It Can Be Incredibly Lonely
The modelling world can be a lonely one at times as you may be travelling on your own a lot, spending days going to castings on your own and once the days is finished, you will probably be exhausted and just end up going to bed. You will essentially be working as a self-employed lone trader so being comfortable spending a lot of time on your own is essential. With that said, as most models are in the same boat, castings can also be a good place to meet new friends.
Your Social Life Will Suffer
As a model, work will most likely taking priority over anything in your social calendar. As it’s not like a normal 9-5 job and you may just have to grab a job opportunity as it presents itself. You will end up planning your life around work. There has been so many times where we have had to cancel our personal plans to accept work and even booking a holiday may feel like a scary prospect. What if that job that you always dreamt of comes in just as you are going away? Unfortunately because of this, you will most likely end up cancelling a lot of your social events to accept a job but remember, you still have to live and be able to enjoy going away on holidays.
Be Sensible With Your Money
Due to bookings not being regular and pretty unpredictable, you have to be wise with your money. Even if you end up booking a great campaign, make sure you save plenty of your hard earned cash for a rainy day and for your taxes. You may have just secured a fantastic gig paying really well but these types of bookings don’t come around very often so make sure you don’t go and spend it all at once 🙂
Working as a professional model isn’t easy and it certainly hasn’t made us rich but it has given us opportunities and experiences that we would never have had if it wasn’t for our job. Being a professional model is far from the perfect job and there are a lot of things that we have to put up with because of our job. That said, it’s a job where everyday is different and we do feel blessed to be able to work in such an exciting industry.
If you have any questions about modelling or fashion industry we’d love to hear from you ☺️
Until next time,
The Model Diaries