Trying to Book a Modeling Job? Do NOT Do These 6 Things

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Photo Source: HBO

Ready to kick off your modeling career? Great! However, if you think all there is to getting started is, “Strike a pose and go from there,” you’re not going to get too far. From what not to wear to what not to say to what not to do, here are a few of the mistakes you should avoid at all costs.

Not dressing for your go-see:
“First things first: A go-see is just an audition for models, nothing else. When it comes to actor auditions, there are two philosophies about how to dress. Some actors think that dressing for the part comes across as desperate and that the casting director can see them as a character simply be their read. Others believe it’s helpful to wear the appropriate wardrobe to allow casting directors and others involved in the project to see them as that character. It’s a personal choice.

“For go-sees, however, there’s no dialogue; industry professionals decide if you’re right for the job simply by looking at you, which means it’s important to dress the part (without going overboard). If you’re attending a go-see for a part as a doctor, you don’t need a stethoscope around your neck, a tongue depressor in your pocket, and paper booties over your shoes. But do wear something appropriate that will allow the people who matter to envision you as a doctor, like a dress shirt and slacks.” —Aaron Marcus, actor and Backstage Expert

Neglecting your research: 
“Treat this process as you would dating. The goal is to find someone who’s a good fit for you since this is the beginning of a relationship, albeit a professional one. Start by looking at available agencies in your area by (literally) searching “modeling agencies in [your city]” online.

“Once you get a decent list of suitable “mates,” you can start to delve further into each to see which ones you could see yourself with. Look at the clients and talent they currently work with and how they accept submissions. Read online reviews and check out their social media profiles, full investigation style. Would you feel proud being represented by them? If yes, then move forward!” —Chloe Catherine Kim, L.A.-based model, actor, and Backstage Expert

The wrong headshot:
“Modeling headshots typically feature performers wishing to be cast in fashion and beauty advertising. An amazing model is going to be skilled at communicating through their eyes, knowing how movement and light shapes their face. Editorial and fashion modeling is about selling a lifestyle. The goal of fashion or beauty ads tends to be about creating fantasy around a product versus having the audience relate to the person in the advertisement.

“Modeling headshots tend to be more artistic and flatter the subject. They say less about who a person is and more about how they are capable of appearing. There is a greater emphasis on the mood, lighting, and artistic merit of the photograph. Makeup, lighting, composition, and retouching are used to creatively flatter the subject and remove the flaws. There may or may not be eye contact in the model headshot.” —Marc Cartwright, L.A.-based photographer and Backstage Expert

General unpleasantness:
“If you feel you would present yourself better in person, you can find open calls on the agency website. This is what I recommend if you are serious about modeling. An open call is a meeting place where the agency can meet new faces. Show up with your unique style and a good vibe. They’ll talk to you a bit and take digitals. If they’re interested, a contract will be placed in front of you. Many agencies have open calls at different times throughout the year. If one agency says no, don't worry; there are plenty more.

“So if you’re serious about becoming a model, try making friends in the industry, send digitals to agencies, and go to as many open calls as you can. As long as you look the part, have all the physical requirements, and are up to the challenge, there’s no reason you can’t break into this industry.” —Trevor Drury, international model and Backstage Expert

Ignoring existing conflicts:
“After deciding you’re comfortable with the ad, find out the date of the go-see and the shoot. If you are not available for either, let your agent know.

“The other thing you will need to tell your agent is if you currently have an ad running that’s a conflict. If you have an ad running for McDonald’s (or ever did an ad for that company) and this is a go-see for Burger King, you have to tell your agent. Chances are they won’t allow you to attend the audition because you are working or have worked for their competitor.” —Aaron Marcus

Not knowing your type:
“I feel when people first get into the business they don’t understand what they might get booked for. If a producer wants a cheerleader, they’re going to get someone a lot closer in age, not a 40-year-old mom trying to relive her cheerleading days. [Similarly], a 25-year-old is not going to play a CEO of a Fortune 500 company. People come in sometimes with a three-piece suit—when are you realistically going to use that?” —Joe Thompson, agent at Abrams Artists Agency

Check out Backstage’s modeling listings!

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Casey Mink
Casey Mink is the staff writer at Backstage. When she's not writing about television, film, or theater, she is definitely somewhere watching it.
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