Category Archives: Taking on the Role of an Agency

Inward Beauty

Many people with ambition for the fashion and modeling industries do not take into account personality and the ability to work well with others. For example, women make up the majority of the Victoria’s Secret customer base, and because of this, their models are chosen based mostly on their appeal to women, not men, so it is important that a Victoria’s Secret model’s attitude appeal to women. Whatever the direction in the fashion and modeling industries, assertiveness, intellect and friendliness go a long way. As a representative of yourself, you must behave in a manner that would not tarnish your image. Without these characteristics, agents, clients, and directors alike, will look elsewhere, regardless of how beautiful or talented you are. Victoria’s Secret Chief Marketing Officer, Edward Razek, puts it bluntly: “We don’t deal with divas.”
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For more on how to become a model, see the post on “Model Stereotypes”

SELL YOURSELF

Establishing yourself is really just sales- something we all do everyday whether we realize it or not. You sell yourself to your peers, your job, agents, directors. The real reason we sell ourselves to agents is to maximize the opportunity of face time with directors- where we then try to sell ourselves again. This also allows us more time to focus more exclusively on what we do best- model. The problem many models face is that the agents don’t end up getting us as many go-see’s as we’d like, and when they do send us out we have to compete with all the other models they’re sending on the same job.

When agents look for models, they need to maximize their efforts. Therefore, they must make sure that who they decide the market (sell) is versatile and can appeal to most audiences, or at least a large one. When you walk in their door, it’s up to you to prove (sell) this to them- that you fit that mold. Then they arrange some photos of you that  how you can pull off a variety of characters and submit you for any job that comes their way with a description of someone with your general features (blonde hair, blue eyes, 5′ 9″).

Suppose PC Laptops is the client and the only thing separating you from the competition is the lack of a photo of you in a business suit. Chances are you won’t get the booking because the client has to go out of their way to imagine you fitting the role. It’s like an actor who plays the same role year after year and can never get booked for anything else because no one can imagine them in any other role. And then one day you see them in a movie playing a villein instead of a comedian and you like it. Then you begin seeing that person in many more different roles. This is because people no longer have to use their imagination. This is your main job as an independent model- to make it easy for them to imagine you as the perfect fit. This is also something an agent doesn’t go out of their way to do for you because they will make their money whether the client picks you or one  of their other models.

When agents look for models, they need to maximize their efforts. Therefore, they must make sure that who they decide the market (sell) is versatile and can appeal to most audiences, or at least a large one. When you walk in their door, it’s up to you to prove (sell) this to them- that you fit that mold. Then they arrange some photos of you that how you can pull off a variety of characters and submit you for any job that comes their way with a description of someone with your general features (blonde hair, blue eyes, 5′ 9″).

Suppose PC Laptops is the client and the only thing separating you from the competition is the lack of a photo of you in a business suit. Chances are you won’t get the booking because the client has to go out of their way to imagine you fitting the role. It’s like an actor who plays the same role year after year and can never get booked for anything else because no one can imagine them in any other role. And then one day you see them in a movie playing a villein instead of a comedian and you like it. Then you begin seeing that person in many more different roles. This is because people no longer have to use their imagination. This is your main job as an independent model- to make it easy for them to imagine you as the perfect fit. This is also something an agent doesn’t go out of their way to do for you because they will make their money whether the client picks you or one of their other models.

Next week we’ll take this further and talk about choosing your target audience wisely…


Pitching Yourself to a Magazine

James Patrick Photography blogged an interview with a fitness magazine editor  that will help any model looking to get more exposure and portfolio credentials. The following are condensed points to the interview I find most helpful in getting a submission accepted. You can also click the above link for the full article. 

  • The submission needs relevant to the magazine
  • Media is always in need of interesting, well-written, innovative articles
  • Submit finished photos, not contact sheets
  • Photos need to be a good reflection of how you currently look
  • The more information you provide (i.e. available for travel, are a writer, have an idea for a story, specialties, upcoming shoot dates) will help you stand out over other models
  • Understand that editors are super busy and inundated with e-mails from hundreds of people every day
  • Pitches from photographers tend to go over better than pitches from models, especially when the photographer says, hey, I’m shooting so-and-so in 2 weeks, is there anything you need me to get while he/she is shooting with me?

Angela Brown, Owner of  SLUG Magazine, suggests emailing your submission to a targeted magazine editor, press list, or list of magazine editors, and making sure you bcc the contacts when you send it out to a list. Angela sets up a Google Word Alert for her submissions (with the name of the headline if, for example, it’s an article submission) so that you get alerts when people write about it online because you don’t always get notified when they write about your release/submission -even if you ask them, they just don’t always have the time to.

INTERVIEW with LaRue Novick, the Editor in Chief of Max Sports and Fitness Magazine:

Understanding a fairly hectic schedule, how often do you get pitches from models, trainers, writers, photographers, etc?
I probably receive a handful each week.

MS&F March 2011 Cover

March 2011 Cover

When it comes to models pitching themselves to you; and taking into account how many pitches you have to get; how important is it for a model to have a unique pitch story?
MS&F is different from other national magazines in that it is Max Muscle Sports Nutrition’s No. 1 marketing piece. To explain, this magazine, which is more than 100,000 in circulation, is distributed to more than 140 Max Muscle stores across the nation. From the stores, the magazines are distributed into their local communities at drop off sites that include gyms, doctor’s offices, high schools, yoga studios, YMCA’s, etc.

The magazine is intended to “sell” Max Muscle products, but it’s more than that. When I took over, the magazine was more about driving ads and the body-building industry, which sometimes embarrassed some of the Max Muscle franchisees who wouldn’t be able to drop off particular issues because of the racy, super-muscled content. Today, the magazine is a true lifestyle magazine covering everything from beauty and fitness to nutrition and supplements.

With all of that said, most of the profile pieces in our magazine have to do with Max Muscle customers and franchisees. So, if a fitness model comes to me with a unique and inspirational article (particularly a weight loss story), I most likely can’t do a profile piece unless that person takes Max Muscle supplements.

MS&F Interior Page

However, we do feature people who aren’t Max Muscle customers from time to time, especially if they have a big name in the industry. For example, fitness models in our workout articles do not necessarily have to be Max Muscle customers.

What are some of the things which help some applicants stand out over others?
If you are a fitness model and a trainer AND a writer, we’re in business as I always need interesting, well-written, innovative workout articles. Also, if you let me know you are willing to travel to do a shoot and you are always photo ready (trust me, some are NOT), it helps you stand out.

We have a tiny budget, so our models work for Max Muscle product and for clips for their portfolios, plus the national recognition that comes with being in a national magazine!

Do you prefer when you get pitches via e-mail, fax, regular mail or other?
E-MAIL! There’s only so much room in my office!

How many photos do you like to see included with a pitch?
Doesn’t matter, but definitely want to see a variety. Please, do not send me contact sheets from photo shoots because I don’t want to see images where your eyes are closed or you’re making a funny face (haha!). I want to see finished photos.

Have you come across some definite No-No’s when it comes to applicants contacting you
Don’t be pushy and tell me you’re the best for the job and why and then keep emailing me to see if I got your previous 10 emails. Also, if you are a huge bodybuilder (male or female) with veins popping out everywhere, we’re not interested.

Without names, do you have any stories about a difficult experience you had in working with someone?
It’s frustrating when you choose fitness models because of their pictures and they show up for the shoot all flabby and not at all like they looked in the photos. It wastes everyone’s time and that is just unprofessional. I’ve had that happen a few times. Now, I ask potential models to send me a picture with their camera phone. And it better be current.

How much contact is too much contact?
One follow-up e-mail will suffice if you haven’t heard from me yet. I save all e-mails from models in a specific “models” folder and will refer to that when necessary.

What are some of the best pitches you think you have seen?
Truthfully, pitches from photographers such as James Patrick and Mike Byerly have been better than pitches from fitness models, especially when the photographer says, hey, I’m shooting so-and-so in 2 weeks, is there anything you need me to get while he/she is shooting with me?

Any parting comments to readers?
Just understand that editors are super busy and inundated with e-mails from hundreds of people every day wanting something. It’s hard to keep up sometimes. That doesn’t mean we don’t like you or don’t care or will never use you. The more information you provide (i.e. available for travel, are a writer, have an idea for a story, specialties, upcoming shoot dates) will help you stand out over other models vying for a coveted spot in national magazines.