Seven Things You Didn’t Learn in School: The Basics of Being a Working Model
English. Arithmetic. American history.
We all know that school is mandatory and for good reason: school teaches you the basics of everything you need to be successful in life – unless you want to be a model.
When it comes to the fashion industry, let’s face it, it’s a whole different world. Qualifications and experience that merit success in other industries don’t translate into success in fashion. As a New York casting director, this is a large reason why I offer modeling workshops and classes that help models gain a competitive edge.
Here are just a few of the things about modeling that you won’t learn in school but need to know:
- Treat the receptionist or casting assistant the same way you would treat the casting director. It’s not uncommon for models to be impatient or outright rude in the waiting room. But remember, the moment you show up for a casting, you’re being watched. As much as we want to find the right look, we also want a model who is pleasant to work with and treats everyone on the team with respect. Remember, modeling is collaborative.
- Send thank you cards. This is a definite bonus. Always give credit where credit is due. It takes a village to create the perfect image. The casting director, photographer, booker, director, editor, makeup artist, hair stylist and, of course, you as the model are all ingredients for the success of the project.
- Avoid talking smack when you’re getting your hair and makeup done. It’s tempting to treat the hairdresser’s chair like a therapist’s chair. When a hairdresser or makeup artist is working on you, it’s normal to get personable and chit chat with your colleagues. Making a connection on set is comforting. But this doesn’t mean that you should get too comfortable and complain about the production or the project or photographer – etc. Trust me, if you talk smack when you’re getting your hair and makeup done, it WILL get back to photographer or client. Some clients lean on stylists for their input when casting and if you were negative on set with them in the past, negativity is a stain that does not wash out easily when being considered for future jobs. The net net: stay positive and keep any negativity off set.
- If you buy an outfit, take the tags off. If you decide to become a model, you should know that this is an expensive industry and can be an expensive pursuit. There are times when you’ll have to purchase outfits for a casting or an industry-wide event. If and when you do this – always take your tags off! If your tag slips out, people assume that you bought the outfit to wear at the event with the intention of returning it. This is awkward and reveals a lot about you as a person.Most people that buy-wear-and-return outfits do so because they’re tight on money. If money is an issue, don’t try to keep up with the Joneses. You can still find outfits from places like H&M and make them look cool. Just because another model has brand name clothing or purses, it doesn’t mean you need the same. Plus, you never know if those items were gifted by a client or someone else in the industry. A good model can rock a t-shirt and jeans effortlessly.
- Always pass it forward. If you’re working for a high-end designer, they might ask what sizes you wear. This is often because they want to gift you with something from their line (such as shoes). This is a good opportunity to ask what size your booker wears. When you get the gifts in your booker’s size, you can pass the gift forward. This is an effective way of saying “thank you,” and keeps you in good graces with your booker, who will want to work harder for you!
- Know how to say thank you. A thank you gift or Christmas gift to your booker should not be homemade chocolate chip cookies. While it’s a sweet gesture (and tasty!), it can unintentionally be a slap in the face. The industry standard is your day rate as a gift to your booker.
- Know how to dress yourself. In the fashion industry, perception is reality. You have to look stylish both inside and outside the casting room. Again, this doesn’t have to be an expensive pursuit that requires brand name clothing, but you should always put your best foot forward. No matter what you wear, look stylish and present an image you can be proud of.
By following these unspoken rules, you’ll make a good impression and earn a positive reputation in the casting room.
Are you looking to advance your modeling career? Learn more fashion industry insights and secrets by taking a modeling workshop from New York casting director tiffany rosenfeld.
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