Saturday, 3 November 2012

model diaries : starting out

Hello lovelies, like I mentioned in my first post, I am a model in Hong Kong and I'd be posting about starting out as a model, as well as do's and dont's, tips and so on. So, I've decided to create a series called Model Diaries (very creative...) which I will update every Saturday on all things model based. This post is, as the title states, starting out as model.

Now for me, Hong Kong isn't the worst place to start out as model, especially if you are in your teens. According to me, there are three types of models : agency signed, freelance, and both. I fall into the third category, as I work WITH an agency but I don't work FOR them. Sounds a bit confusing, but basically if they have work that they need a model for and their models aren't really available, or work that isn't that great, then they contact me. Which sounds like a bummer because obviously they are giving me the not-so-great jobs, so I freelance as well.

Freelancing as a model is not the easiest thing in the world, the most important thing as a freelance model is to have contacts. By contacts I mean designers you know, photographers you know, companies owned by people you know, etc. This way they can put in a good word for you and get you work. If you don't have contacts, go and make some! In Hong Kong, our international schools are big on fashion shows, my school had theirs last night actually. But there are model scouts who go to these shows to find potential models for their companies, as well as designers and clothing/jewelry companies. Just last night, we had two scouts from Hollister come and scouted our models from the runway as well as the audience. So do make sure you try to go to a few shows every once in a while. Also, check out websites like ModelMayhem and sign up (you have to be 16!) because they have a lovely castings tab which allows you to connect with photographers, makeup artists (MUA) and such looking for models in your area. FaceBook is another great option, as you can find local clothing boutiques and message them saying you are a model starting out and would like to work with them. One of the most important thing as a freelance model, is to ALWAYS bring an escort with you when you go for shoots that you find online or through freelancing if they are strangers. This is just to make sure you are safe, that nothing bad happens, and such. I suggest taking one of your parents, or even a sibling or a friend you trust.

As a freelance model, you should have a portfolio to start out. Now, I didn't have that much trouble with this because my agency had me shoot with a local photographer who then retouched them and sent it to me, which I then sent on to the agency. In Hong Kong, we have TONS of local photographers, a lot of them being in their teens as well, some extremely talented and some who are just starting out. Do contact them about a fashion shoot to start up your portfolio, I've found that they really do invest so much into making sure your photos look great. To show you an example, below is a picture from my portfolio with one of the best photographers I have ever shot with. She was extremely kind, and very easygoing and gave great direction as well for what she wanted me to do.

Agency signed models don't have it easy as well. It takes quite a while to find an agency that suits you, as agencies can be very picky. Their models have to be this tall, this thin, have this look, etc. The only advice I can give out for a model who really does want to sign with an agency, is to look online for agencies in your city, apply either online, or attend a casting call, or even just walk in. Do be careful though, because there are scam agencies. If your agency starts saying that you need to pay for your portfolio, pay for pictures etc, get out of there as fast as you can. A legitimate agency will shoot you for your portfolio in their studio, or get you to shoot with a photographer which will be a "trade for portfolio" (TFP) shoot. As an agency model, you will be required to also walk up and down the room for them so that you can be taken into consideration (height allowing) for you to work as a runway model as well. So really do practice walking in heels, practice your catwalk no matter how silly you may feel, it really helps.

So, as you now know the different types of models, consider which direction you want to take and I wish you the best of luck as you start your modeling journey! Next in the Modeling OBSESSED series will either be a post on model portfolios or modeling 'lingo'.


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