The Modeling Industry

Stephanie Smith

I am constantly being asked about the industry and how people can go about getting into it. So I wanted to write about it, and try and answer you all in this blog post.

First off, you need to think about why is it that you want to be a model. Ask yourself what it is exactly you want out of it. If you're like me, and it's just been a dream of yours since you were a kid, and have always loved being in front of a camera then that's fine. But if you want it for the attention, or the money, or the lifestyle, or fame or whatever, then i want to share some of the negative sides to our industry with you.

Now I don't want this to come across as a negative post, because I do love my job, and wouldn't want to be doing anything else at this point in my life. But it's not as glamorous as it seems from the outside. It definitely can be at times! We get to go to some incredibly beautiful parts of the world, and I am so grateful for that, but that does mean you're leaving your friends, family and partners and traveling on a plane and in airports and hotel rooms by yourself. I've gone on trips where I've caught 3-4 different planes and traveled over 30 hrs by myself (and no... Not always in business, in fact 90% of the time I've been in economy) and had to wake up and shoot the next day. Now you might be thinking "yeah but modellings easy, you basically just stand there" and I can tell you now there's a lot more to it than that. No matter how tired or grumpy you are, you have to be happy, bubbly and full of energy, otherwise you won't get booked again. Also try getting changed over 100 times in the day and wearing heels all day and come back to me. Another tough part is when you're shooting swim in the middle of winter, freezing your butt off, but sucking it up and getting the job done, and vice versa in summer shooting winter stuff.

Also if you're super insecure - my advice is to stay out of the industry. As a model you're put on a pedestal (not only by people within the industry) but by society that you have to be somewhat 'perfect' looking. If you can accept that nobody is perfect but you're happy in your own skin and confident enough to be declined from a job and not take it personally, then jump on board. We get rejected a lot more than confirmed - so if you think you couldn't handle that, then I wouldn't model. It is an extremely competitive industry, and you've just got to remember that everyone is unique, and the person who gets a gig over you isn't necessarily better or prettier than you, they just suited the job more.

The money side of things is great. In saying that though, I wouldn't JUST model. Have something on the side like university or a part time job, because you won't always be busy. Some girls work once a month, some once a week, very few work 5 days a week, and it's always changing. Some months are quieter than others, so it's good to keep yourself busy with something else.

If you still want to be a model, then take these steps.

1: get some simple digitals of yourself. This means find a plain wall, wear minimal makeup and wear a simple tee or singlet with skinny jeans, and get a family member or friend to take some pictures of you. Get some front on, side on and get a few head shots too. You don't need to have professional photos, so don't waste your money. Most agencies want to see you at your natural state if you're a fresh face, and if they sign you they will organise shoots for you once you're on board.

2: get the measuring tape out and get your height, waist and hip measurements. The old rule use to be that you would have to be over 5'9 to be signed, but I know plenty of models who are 5'7 and are signed so don't be too concerned with that.

3: on all agencies website you will find a contact email, send in your digitals and measurements and just a little about yourself. You will hear back from the agency if they're interested. Also some agencies do 'walk ins' so you can always try that as well.

I'll finish off by mentioning all the things I absolutely love about my job.

The people: particularly in Melbourne, the industry isn't really that big once you're in it for long enough. You build relationships with other models and with photographers, stylists and hair & Makeup artists. Some of these people are now my closest friends. Laura for example, I met through modelling. I love that you do have your regulars, but you're also meeting new people all the time too. It's refreshing working with different people everyday, which brings me to my next point.

Locations: everyday is different. It's not like a desk job where you're going to the same place and sitting next to the same people at the same time everyday... Some people may be into that, but I certainly couldn't have an office job for that reason. Some of the locations I have got to travel to have been places on my bucket list, but also places I wouldn't have thought to go! Which has been incredible because I've got to experience places that I wouldn't have if it wasn't for modelling.

Growing up: this industry basically forces one to be more mature. You're constantly working with adults and working with big brands and you have to be professional with it all. I have absolutely loved what modelling has done for my confidence and maturity. I get told a lot that I seem older than I am, which I personally love hearing. Modelling has made me more confident with meeting new people and confidently being able to express my own opinions or feelings in conversation.

Pathways: you meet so many people and learn so much about yourself along the way, that if you didn't know what you wanted to do before modelling, then you'll figure out other interests while you're doing it. I've gone through stages of being interested in makeup, and directing shoots, and designing clothes etc... This is all because of the people I've met and worked with through the industry. Modelling is also what initially got me eating better, and sparked my interest in healthy cooking and exercise. I know a lot of models who end up studying things like nutrition on the side, or starting blogs or businesses like I have. So it's not a dead end job, because some people will tell you that... They told me that!

To finish I will say, I love the industry and what it has done for me, and I hope to be a working model (obviously not as regular) for a very long time to come! And as much as I want to say 'if you can dream it, you can do it' - modelling isn't for everyone. But if you're rejected, don't take that as someone telling you you're ugly...because you're not. You're beautiful, you just may not be the look they're after, or the look that works for the industry at the time.

To all you aspiring models, I wish you the best of luck, maybe I'll see you on set sometime soon ;)