Monday, October 27, 2008

Climbing the Ladder in the Fashion and Modeling Industry

Want to be in front of the camera? Read this article
for tips about entering the fashion industry!
Photo credit: The Fashion Assistant
I often wonder how an actor or actress ultimately lands their first role in a successful television show or film, amidst all the competition out there. Breaking into the world of design and modeling is no different; the fashion sea is so overfilled with talent that sometimes a big break simply comes as a result of the luck of the draw. So, exactly what are these young individuals doing to find themselves at the mercy of reputable talent scouts and agents?

Like many other fields, there are ways for aspiring fashion designers and models to get their foot in the door – literally. In a highly-competitive environment, it is very common for young “wannabes” to start out at the bottom rung, sweating bullets to move just one inch ahead in their quest for recognition and fame. Rest assured, if you spend your time dreaming about becoming the next supermodel, you can find a place in the world of modeling. It may not be the role you envision, but it can prove to be a very powerful and educational experience.

Of course, your best ally in the search for a starting position is location, location, location. If you live in a large city - or close to a modeling agency located within a smaller region - you’ve already won half the battle. It’s impossible to start out on the bottom rung if you live nowhere near the ladder, so moving to a stronger area may be an essential step. That being said, if you have been thinking about a career in modeling for quite some time but live in an obscure location, you have probably considered moving to advance your career in the past.

Once you find yourself living near an agency (or design firm, if other fashion avenues appeal to you), do some research. Does the agency have a website? If so, do they list job openings online? If not, where do you find information? If the agency operates on a medium-to-large scale, they will likely possess a website that provides a great deal of online detail. If the business is smaller, you may have to call or visit in order to obtain the particulars. Many companies will be more than happy to entertain your questions and help you find a starting role in the industry. However, if you stop by and it’s a busy time for the staff, you may not get the answers you need. It’s always best to call first and find out when their downtime is, so you can anticipate a little bit of undivided attention.

If you’re nervous about visiting an agency cold-turkey, you can always drop off a resume. Wholeheartedly indicate that you are game for anything and try to be yourself. Ask for a manager or supervisor, if possible, so they will have an opportunity to put a face to your resume. Always keep in mind that many agencies have a string of hopefuls trotting through their doors, so acting as genuine as possible may give you the edge you need.

Regardless of the job you are offered, if you receive a call for an interview, take it. Prepare yourself mentally by telling yourself that you are willing to do whatever it takes to “make it” in the industry, to a degree. Set limits for yourself. It’s fine for someone to expect you to pour coffee, but you should never be asked to do anything inappropriate or that makes you uncomfortable, as a way of climbing the ladder. There are just some ladders no one wants to climb.

Once you find yourself in the mix, be ready for anything. Have a series of headshots taken and invest some money in an impressive portfolio. Seek the expertise of a seasoned photographer who knows what works for the industry, and who is capable of highlighting your best features. If you possess the attributes of a successful model, someone will notice.

It is likely that as a beginner, you will find yourself working less prominent roles, such as that of a promotional model. Individuals just starting out may also become part of an event staff, possibly giving them an opportunity to show their faces to potential agents. Event staffing is a great way to network, make new friends, and inadvertently get introduced to a few key business people. Hang in there. The runway won’t unroll at your doorstep overnight and every, single job is just one more notch in your portfolio.

About the Author
Jayne Hawkins is on staff with the Promo Models editorial team. She has spent the last twelve years in the modeling industry helping aspiring models get their start.


Sunset said...

I love reading your blog, you always have so much inspiration and information up on here. :) Have a great day/night, honey!

The Fashion Assistant said...

Brilliant article and thanks for using my photo!!!!

The Fashion Assistant

batates_777 said...

as you always do ...attract one's eyes to leave a comment :) nice one fashion addict :)

Sal said...

Sound advice, all around.

we wear things said...

fashion just seems like a really hard field to get into in general.. but once you're in.. i bet it's fabulous.

The Seeker said...

Great post, as always.


roxanne said...

what a great, informative post! loved.

MizzJ said...

Cool article. It can be discouraging since it seems every model out there got discovered randomly in the grocery aisle! I know friends who've tried to get into modeling, but then start to do go-go dancing and import modeling which doesn't seem "model" to me at all. It's a tricky road to success, so I wish the best to anyone who tries!

the fashion assistant said...

Yo Fashion Addict,
My blog have moved to a new address

Kit x

Juliet said...

You seem like such a pro when one reads your blog.

juliet xxx

For Fashion's Sake said...

Very good topic! As you must have noticed we are all addicted to FASHION ADDICT!

For Fashion's Sake

KiKi said...

another great post

J'Adore Fashion said...

lovely post...great read ;-)

enc said...

That was a cool post, full of interesting information.

My Fashion Frenzy said...


The Seeker said...

I gave you two awards, please check my blog.

fashion herald said...

my favorite part of this is your positive outlook - the reality of you may not get your dream job, but what this may lead to could end up being even better. So true!

AusAnna said...

great article. if only i was taller i would follow the steps to be a model.x

Anonymous said...

I love your blog and I am adding you to my blog roll! I wanted to comment though because I, myself, am a model with Ford and I must say the best way is to go in to an agency to drop off some polaroids or email them. For some, like myself, you are lucky to just be stopped on the street and signed right then and there. Hope that was helpful and check out my blog for other bits and pieces about this New York model.

xoxo - A Vogue Idea

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