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Author Archives: charityaprill
Soon will be the day where a model will not be the fantasy of a visually perfect person. I say this as though there is such a thing, but in all actuality, every model has imperfections. Photographically, they have been enhanced. They still look like themselves- just on a really good day, with their best angle, and without the pins and tucks being visible. It’s an illusion, but the message is still “perfection”.
The Master, a Paul Thomas Anderson movie released in 2012, showed a scene with a roomful of naked women dancing. It was fascinating to me because the women were so imperfect, yet still beautiful. Mad Men shows ideal beauty evolving from the not-so-thin, Marilyn Monroe figure of the 60’s to what it is now- and again, the women in that show are quite pretty. In the 1800’s- Abraham Lincoln’s time- beauty was in the words you spoke. And finally, Nigeria views a woman with gap teeth as beautiful and fertile.
MODEL JESSICA HART
Recently there have been several models with gaps in their teeth, like Victoria’s Secret model, Jess Hart. Because of this recent gap-toothed model trend, there has been a rise in the number of dentist’s patients who prefer a gap, and even ask for it. Although this suggests we’re moving in the right direction and breaking the conventional mold, are we simply producing new requirements? Must we always try to change ourselves to fit the new trend? Can’t a person be beautiful simply because they are healthy?
Fewer than 100 women in the world have the potential to be a Victoria’s Secret model. Prospective models face fierce competition and must meet specific requirements to become a Victoria’s Secret “angel.” But the few women that manage to overcome the harsh scrutiny often become some of the most well-known faces in the modeling industry and have long careers in one of fashion’s most elite companies.
Height, Measurements and Age Requirements
With height requirements starting at the high fashion rate of 5 feet 8 inches, a five-sixer like myself isn’t typically considered for Victoria’s Secret. However, for brands primarily selling lingerie, an hourglass figure is preferred. Models with a 34-inch bust, a 24-inch waist and 34-inch hips are the most desired and even a slight variation is acceptable if the model possesses other more desirable attributes, such as a beautiful face. Is there still a chance for me?
Take away a point for height, but add one for measurements and another for the right face, it seams I do still have a chance. However, age is still a major issue. Victoria’s Secret looks for models with longevity, so older models are typically not considered, unless they are already established in the fashion industry. Focusing on the younger side of the pendulum, new Victoria’s Secret models are between 18 and 22. I can pass for 22, I’m sure. If I had the pictures, or the energy to put into more photos that showed off my physic, I may be able to prove whether age really is an issue for this particular client. My dear 33 year old friend changed her Model Mayhem profile to 24 years old and she gets way more hits than she ever did before. I shall test this theory on Model Mayhem myself, in my own market, and report on it’s truth.
While appearing mainly in magazines, Victoria’s Secret models have the help of Photoshop. But on the runway, those models must be in top physical condition to strut the revealing lingerie in high heels and on live television. You don’t get smooth skin, a toned body, and glossy hair by doing nothing when you’re not in your 20’s anymore. These attributes are possible for an older model, however, they come at a higher price. Each person is allotted the same amount of time every day, and what we do with that time is a matter of priority. Work, school, family, and other dreams and aspirations come into play. It takes time to be physically active and eat healthy, and being in top physical shape in your 30’s means to sacrifice other important things, like family and work. Another point against me.
Still, the most important part of a Victoria’s Secret model’s appearance is her face. Full lips, a small nose, high cheekbones and chiseled features are common amongst the Victoria’s Secret models. But is that enough? After 6 weeks of training my body to fit the competition, and then trying to maintain a perfect body thereafter, I know for my own sanity and self esteem- the answer is no.
Necessary when becoming a Victoria’s Secret model is an agent. The two agencies that handle most of the Victoria’s Secret models are Elite Model Management and Ford Modeling Agency. Most Victoria’s Secret models are considered through the recommendation of their agent, whom negotiates their contracts for them. Since Victoria’s Secret will not work with a model who does not have an agent, getting your foot in the door will be a challenge. Any client with such specific requirements has their reasons, but it is my work to find the answers to why they have chosen these requirements, and how to evolve them.
For more on how to become a Victoria’s Secret model, visit http://tech.mit.edu/V130/N51/wire2.html
PUT MORE MONEY IN YOUR POCKET
As a fashion model, there are more ways to get paid than just for your time. Bookings have specific fees, such as terms and usage rights, which can compensate for expenses and add up to more money in your pocket. Terms and usage rights can get very complicated, though. If it’s a photograph, you’ll need to consider things like how long they will be using the images, what they will be using the images for, if it’s print or digital, how many impressions will be made, etc. Terms might be if they will be paying for travel, or what your day rate is. For example, most models have at least a 2 hour minimum and are paid by the hour.
All these conditions need to be put in writing, which means negotiating with clients and drafting contracts. Years ago I googled “model management contracts” and a website called IndustryContracts.com came up. It was my goldmine. They gave me the option of downloading individual model contracts, or all the artist contracts for not much more. I don’t know what I paid at the time but to me it was chump change after considering the time I’d spent hassling with trying to figure it out on my own. Having dealt with contracts before, I knew how to read them and what to look for. The contracts needed to be tailored to my agency needs and I made sure to read through them thoroughly, but as a precaution, you should always consult a lawyer if you don’t understand something.
THE ALL-INCLUSIVE RATE
Although simple enough, there are other options that may make more sense for you. The stock photography business has helped to simplify the purchase of photos for everyone because they let you pay a single rate for all of the fees, rights, and royalties associated with an image. Some stock photos are royalty-free, because most of the rights, fees and royalties are bought in a single, one-time purchase. Models can book their jobs the same way- one rate with all fees, rights, and royalties lumped into one sum.
Another option is having the client write up the contract. Often times they do have their own contracts, anyway, and will require you to use theirs. Keep in mind, just because they want you to use their’s, though, doesn’t mean you can’t use your own as well. A great way to use work with a client’s contract is with an addendum, which is an extension of a contract and a way to modify it to fit the needs of both parties. Again, one reason you may want to consult an attorney.
IF YOU ALREADY HAVE A PORTFOLIO book full of images, it would be an efficient use of your resources to target an audience that uses those types of images. If you have commercial images, target a company that distributes clothing catalogs. Beauty headshots can attract cosmetics companies, designers that specialize in swimwear want to see a model’s figure, and so on. Don’t start over if you don’t have to.
IF YOU HAVEN’T STARTED building your book yet, read Sell Yourself to learn the most effective way to build your book from scratch. If you establish your market after you have built your portfolio and the two don’t pair up, you may need to get all new photos taken in order to tailor your look to that market’s brands and services. By building your book first, or tailoring your images to fit your market, you can really maximize your sell-ability.
Let’s say your target market is commercial print and your target brand is White House Black Market. HERE ARE 7 CHARACTERISTICS that make WHBM attractive for someone who fits their mold:
ONE. Through the practice of traditional marketing by way of regularly mailed catalogs, they produce an almost dead- yet quite effective form of marketing for them and many booking opportunities for you.
TWO. Having a parent company that sells multiple brands allows for more exposure where you can cross-sell to each of those brands.
THREE. The brand’s target audience fits your marketable age range making you a more likely sell. Their customers would easily be able to picture themselves wearing the things you model.
FOUR. An online presence offers more face time.
FIVE. Sharing similar features with their past models makes them more likely to book you.
SIX. Keeping things fresh by continually changing up their models is a favorable circumstance for a new face trying to break into a market. Still, if they hire you, they’re likely to book you more than once.
SEVEN. They frequently release new collections and advertise accordingly, creating, yet again, more opportunities for them to book you.
This example has demonstrated that the target brand not only understands the value of advertising and is willing to fork out some dough for models, but they shell out several opportunities for one to seal the deal, too. Although not a guaranteed job, you’ve at least done your homework and can FEEL CONFIDENT TAILORING YOUR PORTFOLIO WITH THEM IN MIND.
Understand that while modeling for Gucci or Prada would be ideal, it is unwise to start at this point. Most high-fashion does not pay because of it’s prestigious place in the industry. Most models trade this work out because looks good in their portfolio. To designers, this is no secret. Gucci and Prada pay well, but the competition is hot. A good way to look at it is the 80/20 rule. Twenty percent of paid bookings are high-fashion and eighty percent are commercial. Eighty percent of commercial bookings will be paid work and twenty percent of high-fashion bookings will be paid work. Commercial bookings pay a lower dollar amount than high-fashion but the bookings are more frequent. Is it more important for you to work to get paid or is it more important to add more photos to your portfolio (trade-for-print)?
If you’ve developed your portfolio book already, there’s no need for you to continue doing trade unless it’s for a well-known brand and you can get a tear from it. Abercrombie, for example, doesn’t pay their models because they know they have enough people that would be willing to do trade-for-print. Another benefit of TFP is if you have a full portfolio already, but it’s missing a particular look for a market you’re trying to break into. These two examples are great ways for you to receive the images you need and submit yourself to a target client.
Now, you won’t want to consider all paid bookings. What if a company is willing to pay you a fee but their product is intimate apparel? Are you prepared to model in your skivvies? If so, you’ll want to make sure they’re willing to pay a higher rate- your rate for that type of work.
Establish a minimum day and hourly rate that is worth your time. You’ll also want to increase this amount as your time gets more valuable- say, when you start getting a lot of paid bookings. Say you’re day rate is $200 for an 8 hour “day rate”. This would make your hourly rate $25. Most models-and agents- require a minimum number of paid hours in order to accept a booking. You may want require a client to book you for a minimum of 2-4 hours for it to be worth your time. Consider you’ll have to travel, make arrangements in your schedule, and cover expenses, for example. Know where you draw the line before negotiating so you don’t end up regretting it when you accept your next booking.