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A Comprehensive Look at the Business of Being a Model.

by Roger Talley

REPRINTED BY PERMISSION

Part 1 of 7: Introduction

When most people think of “models,” they think of magazines like Vogue or W and the apparently glamorous world of fashion modeling. That’s not surprising, since fashion models get the most press and look like “models.” Theirs are also the names most of us know – Cindy Crawford, Tyra Banks, Giselle Bundchen, and more. That’s why most books on modeling deal primarily with fashion modeling.

But a considerable majority of modeling work in the United States is done by commercial models, not fashion models. A very few books have been written from a model’s perspective about the commercial end of the business, and none to address what an agent would want his model to know. Part of the purpose of this book is to fix that, and all the other modeling areas that typically get only cursory treatment by other books.

We will examine two very different ways to pursue a career in modeling: “mainstream” (traditional routes to fashion, advertising, promotional and fit modeling) and “Internet modeling.” The Internet has created vast new opportunities for models and those who want to work with them to find each other, new ways for models and associated professionals to do business, and even a different modeling culture that has at times, clashed with the “mainstream.”

This book explains how to get a positive start in the business. But we also go into detail about what happens behind the scenes – the processes that make the industry work. You will gain an in-depth knowledge of the business that few aspiring models are ever exposed to. This understanding will help you find your place in the industry and survive once you get there. We also delve into special topics on positive and negative aspects of the industry. These may not be of interest to everyone, but they can prevent a new model from getting into problems.

This book will not explain techniques of make-up, nutrition, fitness, or the craft of modeling itself.

To learn about make-up, you should find an experienced make-up artist familiar with styles in the area where you want to model. For nutrition, consult with your physician or a nutritionist, not with modeling books.

Fitness is a special case. Most models need toned bodies, and many will feel the need for an exercise or fitness regime. A common approach is to hire a personal trainer, or simply join an exercise class in a local gym. That could prove to be a mistake. Trainers and classes often try to mold a person’s body to something like what “average people” wished they looked like. That can include bulking up muscle mass in places a model really doesn’t need to be bulking up. Fitness advice and training should be taken only from someone who understands and accepts the demands of this unusual business.

Finally, there is the craft of modeling itself. The skills a model may need vary widely depending on the kind of modeling. Some of this is taught in specialized classes and seminars; a lot more is best learned through experience with good photographers, or on the job. Many modeling “how to” books written by ex-models seem limited to what the author actually specialized in. The reader has to bear in mind that such books are only useful when they are dealing directly with that particular type and style of modeling – if you can learn how to model from books at all. Personal instruction and experience are much better teachers.

At the end of this book there is a list of suggested additional reading. Those so motivated can find books on the list that deal with all of these other topics.

The “brick-and-mortar” of the modeling industry is Mainstream modeling. We will discuss it first.


In the next post, Mainstream Modeling vs. Commercial vs. Editorial.

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