Throughout my experience as a professional model, many people have asked what my job is like. Usually, I tell them about all the fun bits—the “fantasy” part of being a model. And it definitely can be fun. But in order to have the fun parts and also have a successful career, you’ve got to know how to conduct yourself. Here are four important points you can apply in order to help create positive experiences, expand your career, and get the most out of your modeling:
1. Maintain control of yourself and your schedule.
In this industry, you will typically get to experience a sense of total freedom. Not only will you be away from your family, but you’ll most likely be in a part of the world you’ve never been to before. This freedom can be tempting and overwhelming, and there is a learning curve to it. Most models start out very young: girls can be as young as 14-15 and most guys start around 17-19.
Having this kind of freedom at such a young age is a privilege, but make sure to stay on a decent schedule and remain in control. Have fun, but don’t go crazy. Use discipline, get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and eat well. That way, you can show up on time and give the client your best efforts. Your agency will be impressed and take you more seriously. As a result, they will likely send you to the best clients. And those clients will see your maturity, which could translate to some serious jobs and serious pay.
2. Treat modeling like a business.
The modeling industry is based on relationships. If people like you and your look, they will hire you. But your look is not everything. You’ve got to present yourself well—mature, good attitude, and easy to work with. By presenting yourself well, you can build a good reputation and relationships with your agency and clients.
There’s also the financial side of things: if you have the good fortune to make decent money, don’t spend it all at once. I have seen plenty of models blow through $50,000 in a matter of months and go into serious debt with their agency. Remember that although modeling can feel like a dream—especially when you make $30k for one job—at the end of the day it’s a business. There is no guarantee that more jobs and money will come. So treat yourself and celebrate a little, but also ensure you budget and save your money.
3. Get out, meet people, and absorb the culture.
As a model, you will get to travel: Hawaii, Europe, New York City, California, Japan, Thailand, China—no place is off-limits and you will usually be in a location for at least a couple of months. And each location has its own way of molding and shaping you. Travel in any respect, but especially in modeling, forces you out of your shell. Though it may be frightening at first, it’s a good thing. So, take advantage of the opportunity to go out and meet new people, understand new cultures, speak new languages, try new food, and make money in the process. Someday you may be able to say you have friends all over the world.
4. Never take it personally.
For every one job you get, there will be five you get rejected for, especially in the beginning. This kind of rejection can do a number on your head, affecting your confidence if you let it. But my advice is: Don’t let it. You, as a model, are somewhat of a human mannequin that represents the designer’s vision. Only a select few models become “celebrity models” who are then hired because of their name. But even they get rejected. Rejection will occur no matter what, so learn how to handle it and don't let it get you down. Learn to accept yourself and understand that it isn't personal (and if it is for some reason, why would you want to work with them anyway?). Make it a mission to understand your own worth and continually build yourself up to be the best model and human being possible. It’s sometimes easier said than done, but it should be a constant goal. And the rewards can be priceless.
*This post was originally published on Aug. 15, 2017. It has since been updated.
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