Modeling 101: Agent or No Agent, Selfies, Portfolio building, Casting Calls, & House Rules

Modeling 101

With the popularity of social media and smart phones, almost every 20-something seems to have ambitions of being a model.  And who wouldn't "want to be on top"!?!?  I know my reflection vogues every time I pass a mirror!  If America's Next Top Model has taught us anything, it's that modeling validates your pretty!  And if you have image issues, it helps to raise your self esteem tremendously. There's a sector for every body type: tall, petite, plus size, tattoo, etc. As an emerging fashion designer, I'm always looking for that fresh look when casting; but modeling is more than just a pretty face.  If this is something you would seriously like to pursue, then there's some basics you must know to avoid getting the dreaded "newb" brush off.

Agent or No Agent:
This debate is a lot like the publisher house/Indie author debate.  It's all up to the individual.  Ultimately it is "your drive" that will get you far in life.  In fact there quite a few free/semi-free modeling social media sites that can do just about the same thing an agent could with job hunting and getting your name and face out there.

Free/semi-free modeling social media sites- 
  • Craig's List (For gig & talent hunting)
  • Facebook (Create a fan page for your modeling profile)

Self photos are all fine and dandy when updating your profile on Facebook, and this can even be an acceptable "raw" head shot if:
  • Capture from your collar bone up! (Crop if needed.)
  • Take in front of a white background
  • Have adequate lighting.
  • Clean your bathroom mirror. 
  • Use a quality camera. (No grainy shots)
  • Bare face (No make up)

Portfolio Building:
"TFP" is your best friend.  TFP means "Time-For-Print".  Use this terminology when building your portfolio with professional photographers to avoid going for broke. Also make sure you sign a TFP contract before any photos are taken. Also, always research a photographer before agreeing to work with them.  Ask for credentials, and call their references.

Casting Calls:
Casting Call announcements can be found in newspapers, on the radio, online, or via flyers.  A good casting call should state:
  • Who (Preferred Age, Gender, Race, Hair Color, Skin Tone, Etc.)
  • Where (Geographical Location of Event)
  • What (Type of Event, Date, Duration)
  • Casting Dates
  • Nudity (If the answer is yes, this automatically eliminates minors.)
  • Tattoos/ Piercing Preference (If not stated, generally means none)
  • Compensation (TFP, Paid, or Unpaid Test)
  • Hosts w/ Point of Contact 
It's best to research the hosts, prior to applying, to avoid scams and perverts. Please make sure you actually read the casting call.  I cannot express that enough.  READ! Do not apply to a casting call if you do not meet the specifications. (It wastes everyone's time.)   

House Rules:

So you've been called to a go-see fitting audition or try on garments in person. Or maybe booked for a photo shoot of runway show. Congrats on passing the screening process, now here's the rules.  Please read these carefully and govern yourself accordingly.
1. Be on time! PLEASE arrive at least 5 minutes early for an audition/go-see; 30 minutes early for a fashion show; 15 minutes early for a photo session.
2. Bring an escort. (It is best to air on the side of caution and protect yourself.)

3. Underage candidate must bring parents or guardian

4. Arrive wearing plain, well fitting all black attire and little to no makeup.

5. No scented perfumes or colognes.

6. Bring at least two pairs of heels (various heights) you are comfortable walking in to auditions.

7. Bring your portfolio and/or at least one head shot.

8. Should a garment become soiled or damaged, report it immediately.

9. All personal hygiene must be kept in a manner appropriate to demonstrate respect to yourself and other participants.

10. It is usually strictly prohibited to eat, drink (except water), chew gum, smoke, and use profanity or illegal drugs during any facet of auditions.

11. Only use the phone for emergencies; make all calls brief.

12. The taking of photographs or videotaping is strictly prohibited at ALL times during the model call or rehearsals.

13. Respect other’s belongings. DO NOT TAKE ANYTHING THAT DOES NOT BELONG TO YOU!

14. Show respect the casting team at all times.

Remember that casting calls are the equivalent of job interviews.  By participating in model auditions, this does not guarantee a professional modeling career or secures a position in the event.

I hope this post has been informative.  I get questions on these topics all the time. I've done enough fashion events to know a thing or two about the basics.  If you're a model hopeful, don't give up on your dreams.  Best of Luck to you in your modeling endevouers.  I hope to work with you someday, if not, see you on the cover of the magazines!


  1. Thank you for the information! It does help. I don't want to be a model but I know of girls who do. I always tell them to be careful and to take someone with them when they go meet up with a photographer, I tell them to leave contact information and where they are going. I know there are people out there that prey on young women that want to be models. I've even seen a man say that if he wanted pictures of naked women, all he needed was a camera and women that want to be models. He'd tell them that they need nude shots in order to become one. I don't know if he was joking or not. He isn't a friend of mine, I just happened to see his comment on Facebook.

    1. Oh yes Safety is always #1! I always tell models, if a client says you cannot bring an escort, then that person is not someone you want to work with. Even if you've worked with that person before, they are still technically a stranger.

      Also taking off your clothes does not guarantee fame. There are plenty of super models out there who have never stripped bare. It's always at the discretion of the model, but I always warn against just baring it for any guy with a camera. The only way I would even consider it, was if it was for Hugh Hefner. And even he would have to wait for an answer.

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