Modeling is a highly coveted career, but it takes more than good looks to become a model. For many, that means hustling and finding your own work before securing an agent or manager. But before you start submitting yourself for gigs, you need to know what materials you’ll need, how to stand out in a crowded field, and how to find casting notices. Here’s everything you need to know about becoming a model without an agent.
1. Make sure your modeling materials are up to date. Your profile, headshots, portfolio, and comp cards should all be up to date so that clients can connect with you.
- Backstage profile: Without representation, you’ll be the one in charge of finding and submitting yourself for jobs. The most important step in this process is having a current Backstage profile that you update regularly. Not only will this allow you to quickly and easily apply for gigs, but it will also make you findable when casting directors and industry professionals browse the site for models. Ensure your work history is up to date and honest; be sure that relevant media is uploaded properly. And be reachable! Contact information that’s current and an email address you check regularly are musts.
- Headshots: To better your chances of standing out, make sure your modeling headshots are recent—meaning they reflect your current age and look—and professionally done.
- Portfolio: Your modeling portfolio consists of your headshots and other photos, personal stats, professional summary, and contact information. Creating a professional digital portfolio that showcases your unique look and style will greatly increase your chances of connecting with potential clients.
- Comp cards: Post your modeling comp cards online and print several physical copies so you can pass them out if an opportunity arises.
2. Determine the type of modeling you want to do. There are many different kinds of modeling; homing in on the specifics will help you focus your energy and resources. If a live audience isn’t for you, skip the runway and try commercial or print modeling. From hand and foot modeling to modeling for fitness and lingerie brands, options abound.
3. Learn the industry. Modeling comes with a unique set of industry terms and rules you’ll need to know. Without an agent to translate, it’s your job to understand what casting professionals need from you. Studying the lingo can help you land that big gig.
4. Harness the power of social media. Many models are stars of social media before landing representation. A strong social media presence allows you to get your face out there and gain notoriety in the industry even without an agent.
- Post: Post modeling shots, selfies, and behind-the-scenes looks across social media platforms—especially ones focused on aesthetics, like Instagram and TikTok.
- Use hashtags: Use popular hashtags like #model, #modellife, #modeling, or #instamodels, along with more specific tags, like #plussizemodel, #fitnessmodel, or #hairmodel, to gain attention from brands, photographers, and potential collaborators.
- Engage: Follow and engage with brands, other models, and modeling groups. Ask others in the know how to get modeling jobs—particularly for brands, which often use models without agents for smaller campaigns.
5. Apply for jobs on casting sites. Our comprehensive database is the best resource for finding modeling gigs and auditions when you don’t have an agent submitting on your behalf. Just sort the modeling casting notices by age, gender, location, and more, and you’ll be submitting to modeling jobs without an agency in no time flat. Once you have enough experience under your belt, use our comprehensive guide to learn how to land an agent.
Ready to see your face on a billboard? Check out our modeling notices!