Just wanted to share some of my experiences in modeling. Now, I have never stepped foot on a Bodybuilding stage but I was living on a religious double split training program for five+ years with no cheat days in my diet. I did it because I loved it. Until one day, I was approached by a talent scout for a modeling agency. Now I had been approached before and usually laughed it off but this time I actually thought about it. If you live in the gym and take good care of yourself, there is a chance you could actually make some money with your investment (referring to myself). So I checked it out.

Well, that agency seemed very unprofessional. They were unorganized and a warning flag went off when I saw them taking money from someone who did not look anything like a model and promised them work. Regardless of how photogenic you are, NO agent can promise you work! So I told them that I would think about it and walked away. But, I was still interested in giving modeling a try so I did some homework. I Found an agency who had a household name and gave them a call. They told me to come by with a recent photo of myself because not all attractive people photograph well. So I did just that.

When I got there it was exactly what I wanted to hear. The agent looked at my photo and said my neck looked wider with a look of concern. I explained it was from working out. She also told me straight up that at 6' 4" I would have a hard time getting work. The cut off for male models is 6' 2". Then they said something that made me step back. They asked for money up front. An agency shouldn't do that if they think you have a chance at making money. I thought, well... I have been approached by half a dozen modeling scouts over the past few years so I must have something sellable. So I took a leap of faith and handed over $700. It was to cover test shots and some basic schooling in industry essential knowledge. LOL model school.

Fast forward to end of classes and test shots completed. I stopped by the agency to look at how my shots turned out. As it stands the plan for models who pay the money and finish the course is they are automatically showcased in the agencies new models book. I wanted to see what my page would look like when something very fortunate happened. One of the International division model reps in the office saw me, loved my look and scooped me up. I skipped the lower profile new models division and jumped up to their international and highly promoted elite team. The importance of this chance meeting cant be under emphasized as all of the models I know who entered the new models book have never had a gig (years later). They all lost money! I was fortunate, I more than doubled my money on my fist job a couple of weeks later. A Panasonic TV commercial. Yep, a TV commercial. If you want to get into modeling for money, then TV commercials should be on your radar!!!

I ended up modeling full-time for a year and had a great time doing so. I learned a little too. I thought magazine covers were the end all. I soon found out they don't pay for cover shots as they are considered "exposure" shots. Even the super models on high end magazines... $0 (I did get I paying cover shot for a Harlequin Romance Novel and that was fun). The print work I did although paying, was not enough for ME (others may differ and females make way more money) to make a living it was fun. Commercials were my bread and butter. I would land one every month or so and it was the easiest money I will ever make. Why did I quit? Well the answer was in part to my love for training. I was getting bigger and the model size clothes were not fitting anymore. My agent told me I was not allowed to train anymore or I would not be sellable (remember this is fashion modeling). Another reason was my resume. I had been an Art Director/ Graphic Designer for 7 years at that time and what would I have to put on a resume after modeling? Not much that would help me in my chosen career. Sure, it gave me a chance to see the front of a camera and pick up some new photography techniques but that experience has to be shown in a portfolio. Art Direction was my long term career plan, so I bailed.

I posted this as there is probably a few aspiring models here and my experience may not be your experience. Please only look at this as food for though.


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Comment by Mindy Blackstien: Crowd Leader on October 14, 2008 at 7:25pm
Great post... Thank you for taking the time to write this.

Yes, it helps to be at the right spot at the right time... and to network, network, network. That's why this site - and the competition stage - can be beneficial for those who have the desire to go further in the modeling field. Whenever you add photos, blogs, forum posts and replies, your name and profile pic is featured. Since this site is all about Body Proud there are many photographers, companies, agents and scouts who use it as a resource. The more often you can be featured and in the 'spotlight' the more likely those same people are going to click on your profile... :-)

Over the years we have worked a good relationship with casting directors and scouts. Now they come to us directly for models and actors because typical agencies don't accept nor promote their more muscled roster. Obviously this has served us -and our athletes well, so we're happy.

You're right also that any company that actively scouts ANYONE likely is not going to do their best in trying to promote you. For them it may be more about making the money off your fees, rather than the work they provide. So be cautious... and ALWAYS read a contract thoroughly!

:) Thanks again for sharing Mark!


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