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Despite the sometimes grim realities of the industry – low pay, long hours and pressure to look a certain way – modelling can still be an alluring profession for many. Perhaps to some the dream of being in front of the camera expressing yourself is too strong. Maybe the desire to to live in New York, Paris or Milan is a pull too hard to resist.

The truth is this; although making it as a model is still tougher than tough, the industry is more diverse than it has ever been, and even if you don’t fit the traditional catwalk mould, there is always room for people with talent and passion who come alive in front of the camera. There is a heartening, increasing exposure being given to models of all shapes and sizes, and hopefully this equates to an industry whose moral compass is starting to point in the right direction. Knowing where to start in this game can be tough, with false leads and occasionally unscrupulous characters making things confusing, especially if you don’t have any genuine contacts in the profession. So, we’ve put together all-you-need-to-know guide to getting started. Here are 5 IDEAL steps to getting started in modelling.

Find Your Niche

There are all sorts of niches and specifics within the modelling world, and you should begin with an honest assessment of where your talents lie and what unique qualities you have that are likely to appeal to prospective clients in bookings. As well as the catwalk stuff most aspire to,  there are also editorial models , spokesmodels who need presentation skills, trade show models and even models for specific body parts, such as hands, feet or legs. And of course, plus-size modelling. Knowing where you fit and honing in on that will enhance your chances of success no end.

Prioritise Your Portfolio

To get appointments with bookers, you are going to need some good shots, so concentrate on finding a local photographer with a reputable background to work with. You need to get comfortable in front of the camera and work out exactly what look you have – your U.S.P is everything- so getting a professional shoot sorted is essential. You may be able to find student photographers looking to build their own portfolio who will shoot you for free. You need a mix of headshots and full body, so try to think ahead regarding how you showcase yourself, therefore wasting less valuable time during the actual shoot on trying to position yourself to best accentuate the features you want to focus on. Should you go for commercial looking shots in a home environment, or something a little bit artsier? It’s entirely up to you, but retain focus, always.

Approach Agencies

To get work, you either need to list your portfolio on modelling jobs websites or approach some agencies, preferably in person. Always ensure that the organizations you approach are reputable and be aware of your personal safety at all times.  Sadly there are quite a lot of scams out there, make sure you read this guide by The Association of Model Agents on avoiding fraud and scams and how a legitimate model agency will operate.  

After you’ve checked legitimacy, submit your pictures, and if the agency are interested, they will most likely contact you to come in for a brief interview, where they will take your measurements and may snap some headshots as well. Be wary of paying any ‘joining fee’ – most agencies take a share of your fee from any work booked, but a joining fee should be a red light of a possible scam. If they think you’re genuinely bookable, they shouldn’t be asking for lots of cash up front.

Take Care of Yourself

As you are going to be selling a commodity – you – it’s important to take care of your appearance and mental well-being in a sensible, mindful way. So, make sure you set aside time to look after yourself – after all, it’s part of your job now. You need to have lots of energy and an excellent appearance, so factoring in a daily workout is vital; exercise keeps your energy up and your skin glowing. Eat a balanced diet, drink plenty of water, and take care of your skin by following a proper regime with regular masks and exfoliation alongside cleansing, toning and moisturising each day.

It’s also equally important to take care of your mental health. Modelling can be a stressful profession, with the focus on your looks and the constant maintenance often leading to mental strain, combined with uncertainty about what work is coming in. Therefore, taking time out of each day to practice mindfulness can help you stay on top of the potential negatives of being judged on your appearance alone. Remember the inner you is also part of your ‘sell’ – you need to project happiness and confidence to make clients want to work with you.

Be Patient

Recognise that success may not be instant. Just like any trade, the business of selling yourself as a model can take time to get going, and you will need patience and commitment to elicit the results you desire. Also, remember to always behave professionally on any booking and use a calendar app to ensure that you are always on time for an appointment. If you get a reputation for being difficult to work with, any bookings will soon dry up. However, never do anything that your uncomfortable. Treat every job as a learning experience. Everyone you work with from the photographer’s assistant to the hair stylist will have something to teach you, so be open and ask them about their experiences.

And one more thing; remember, you are beautiful no matter what.

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