Want to be in front of the camera? Read this article
for tips about entering the fashion industry!
Photo credit: The Fashion Assistant
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.