January 24, 2018

modeling 101

modeling
photo by dustin swim, edit by me

"so, how did you get into modeling?"
this is a question that i am asked all the time. maybe it's because it's something that just kind of started, none of my friends from before i started really did it, i'm not your typical model, i was shooting, on average, three times a week, i go to chicago to model bi-monthly, sometimes even weekly, or maybe it's someone who wants to get started in this industry... there are many reasons why i am asked this question, but it's one that is asked so often, and i thought it might be better to just write a post to refer people to, instead of individually responding to each person, because there's a lot i want to say on this, and i don't have time to respond to everyone.

modeling
photo by jose morales

how did i get into modeling?
as a precursor, i would like to say that this is not the case or story for most models you will meet.
truthfully though, i fell into it, or modeling came to me. i didn't really do anything to get it started besides attending a meetup and saying 'sure!' to someone when they approached me and asked for me to model for them. this turned into multiple photographers until there were about ten or fifteen in front of me taking my photo.
this was weird. i wasn't used to this, but it was fun. also, i had no idea what i was doing.
those photos got posted to instagram, and all of a sudden, people were DMing me, asking me if i wanted to model for them. i said sure, again, and all of a sudden, i was an instagram model.

modeling
photo by jon burns

fast forward a year later, and there have been so many opportunities. i've gotten to work with some brands, and have some really cool stuff coming up (hold tight!), i've travelled to multiple places to meet with people, to shoot with them, collaboration, all of that fun stuff, i've been featured by the biggest feature hub on instagram (here), as well as many others, and i've made SO many friends. it's truly been an adventure.

in the prime of that year, i was scheduling modeling gigs 3-5 times a week, heading down to chicago 2-5 times a month, and having such a blast.
this is not fully sustainable though. i have a capacity to be able to do a lot of things at once, but this is not the case for most people. i do not recommend doing this, as you will get burned out (i did, it just took a long while), but it really helped me to get exposure and to get out there (aka this is what worked for me).
in my entire career as a model, i have probably asked people to shoot with me less than ten times, and if it was the case, it was them coming to my area and wanting to shoot with models around that area, or when i was first heading to chicago and didn't know a ton of people, but wanted to make some connections.

modeling
photo by zak gruber

there's a lot that goes on in this industry, and i will say this: you need to be careful. 
i have been blessed to only have had a few encounters that were less than ideal, but this isn't a safe industry, whether you're going professional or are just doing collaborations, not everyone has your best interest in mind. you have to be careful, you have to do your research, don't be afraid to say no if things don't look ok. saying no is a good thing. prioritize you and your safety over your career.

modeling
photo by seth herlinger, edit by me

another question i get asked often is 'are you hoping to sign with an agency?'
the answer, despite what most people think, is no.
i have had two agencies reach out to me and then pursue me.
i took a good amount of time to think about these offers, i sat on them, weighed them, and asked many questions, but in the end, turned them both down. i'm not going to get into the reasons behind that, but back when i started, i set up boundaries, standards, etc., and between those, travel, and what i know of the industry, i decided that it was not in my best interest to proceed with either of those agencies.
that being said, i am not closed to the idea, i'm open to it, as long as the opportunity is right.

modeling
photo by israel moreno, edit by me

i would get started in collaborations. this helps you to network, build a portfolio, and just gain experience. this will lead to opportunities, but with that, comes so much more, so here are some tips (pay attention, these are important):
  • for the love of everything good, do not think that you are better than you are. do not think that you deserve things just because you're a model or because you have some following or influence. 
  • show up, be kind, be considerate of people's time and energy. don't schedule something and then not go. i have spent the entire time building this career of mine proving that i do not fit into the basic model category, basically, that i'm not flaky (don't show up) or that i am not full of myself.
  • respond to people, whether you're giving them rates or whether you'd like to collab, respond, and then keep responding and following through. don't leave artists who want to work with you hanging, especially if you also want to work with them.
  • be careful, weigh the opportunities that you get, bring a friend along if you feel sketched out in the least bit, or just say no to begin with.
  • set boundaries. i don't do lingerie, nude, or boudoir modeling. why? i have my reasons, but i don't do it. if people reach out to you asking to do anything that isn't within your boundaries, say no. stick to your guns; you have a voice, make it heard.
  • don't think that just because you're pretty, you only have to show up. there's a lot more that comes with modeling than just showing up and looking pretty. know what poses work for you, know what clothing works for you, practice, get experience, learn and grow.
hopefully this helped someone. if there's anything else you'd like to know, ask me! send me an email, text, comment, or DM me!

modeling
photo by carmen wong
xx, rn