As a model portfolio photographer in New York City, I’m always being asked for advise on what it takes to become a model. First, you really must have a strong desire to be one and have the drive to do what it takes to make your goal become a reality. A young adult model coming into this industry must be willing to commit, at least, one full year to this goal. The new model must also do an evaluation of their talents and statistics to see where is their “niche” in the modeling industry.
Most believe that you have to be 5’10” and above to be a model, but this is not true. Runway modeling is a very small part of the industry and height is not always a limit to some of the other opportunities available. Fashion Print, Editorial, and Commercial Print are some of the areas where you don’t have to be 5’10” to be considered for work. Models in the height range of 5′ to 5’7″ can get work in television, lingerie, and swimwear modeling.
The next step is to start taking pictures. Find a photographer with a reasonable rate and start building your portfolio. Learn about the “release form” to protect your interests. I believe young models should work with as many photographers as they can to show some variety in their photographs. I know that money may limit your access to more experienced photographers; however, many photographers may be willing to assist you if they see potential…and work out a deal. Modelmayhem.com is one place that may help you find a photographer.
So, once you have your portfolio and you are ready to show your pictures to the world…what is the next step? Buy a good pair of sneakers! There are hundreds of modeling agencies and agents in New York City and you need to get yourself, and your pictures, in front of as many of them as you can. Also learn what an “open casting” is and go to as many as possible. Now it’s a numbers game, and the more people that see you and your work the better your chances. This will also be your lesson in rejection…something that you will need to experiences and, hopefully, overcome to reach your goal. During this time you will continue to take pictures and continue to learn from your interactions with others in, and those trying to get into, the modeling industry. Also, if possible, you should also try to take some modeling and acting classes.
Supermodels Unlimited Magazine (www.supermodelsunlimited.com) is also a good publication for you to pick up to keep up on the latest in the modeling industry. Supermodels Unlimited is America’s top modeling magazine and is tailored to the interests of the young aspiring model. The entire beauty industry is its focus. Entertainment, modeling, and pageants are only a few of the areas SU covers in an informative and exciting way. Also, with the success of America’s Next Top Model, Supermodels Unlimited is the magazine where many of the participants and winners have been featured and interviewed. ANTM winners like Jaslene Gonzalez and Whitney Thompson have both been featured in recent issues of SU.
Whiney Thompson’s cover for Supermodels Unlimited was also featured in an ANTM Cover Girl Top-Models in Action commercial (www.cwtv.com/thecw/covergirl) during Cycle 12. I met with part of the team of Supermodels Unlimited in New York City and got a chance to talk with them about working with the American’s Next Top Model winner. Steve Azzara (Director of Photography) and Anatalia (Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist) worked on and shot her cover and told me that she was a pleasure to work with and was very excited about her Top Model win.
Becoming a model is a dream that many young people have and one with many challenges. But with the right attitude, determination, and talent you can make your dreams come true in the fashion capital of the world …New York City. So go over your talents and stats, find your “niche”, and start taking pictures. Who knows? Your dreams could come true and you may become the model you want to be. You may even get on America’s Next Top Model and get on the cover of Supermodels Unlimited Magazine. Good luck!