|Below is an article about the
business of modeling that model Jillian Ann wrote
for her web site www.JillianAnn.com and was
posted on our Yahoo group. It was picked up and published
in the premiere issue of Teeze Magazine.
The Business of Modeling
by Jillian Ann
As a model, you are being paid to be a model. You are an example -- someone people look at as a form of beauty. You should see this and aspire to be it, but there is more to being a model than just being beautiful. Yes, you need outer beauty, but, as a model, you also need to display health, professionalism, kindness, and inner beauty.
As a model your attitude will play a big part in your success or failure. No one wants to work with someone who is angry, mean, or always negative. Within the business, models who burn bridges, are catty, are mean, are negative, lie, steal or try to con photographers or others usually do not last very long. It is a bout respect. If you respect others, they will respect you. Failing to be respectful will hurt your work or cost you work.
Why do I bring up the issue of attitude? Because it relates to my earlier point -- modeling is a business and it needs to be treated like one. Accordingly, models need to learn to be courteous, professional and positive -- even when you don't feel like it. There were many times when I was tired due to a lack of sleep, or I had been depressed, but I left my tiredness and depression at the door when I got to the shoot and was before the camera, I would do whatever it took to be the best model I could be when the work began. You, too, should strive to be the best you can be because, as in any business, the harder you work, the more you will be rewarded.
You must constantly remember that your body is a business. Modeling is all about your body, your face, and your attitude. If you ignore caring for body, you risk damaging your chances at doing well as a model. So let's go deeper and talk about the body.
When I first started modeling, I weighed a 120 lbs. and I was told that I was too heavy. After hearing that, I went on diet after diet, trying to find a way to be thinner and healthier. I tried pills (they don't work); I tried the Atkins Diet (it didn't work); I tried everything under the sun. Then, one day, I was talking to an agent and he told me to try the "Fit for Life" program in the book written by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond. I was willing to try anything at that point so I picked up a copy of the book and it changed my life. It taught me not how to be thin, but how to be healthy -- how to live in a way that would help me to be stable and stay in peak condition.
Every time you are about to eat something, look at it - and I mean really look at it -- and imagine it in your body. Then ask yourself is it heavy? Is it greasy? Will it sit like a rock in my stomach? If the answer is yes, then you are probably about to clog your body. The reason you get fat is because people eat too much of the wrong things - things that clog our bodies and cause build up inside. If we have build up inside, our food cannot be digested, which means we cannot process it, which means it turns to fat.
So what doesn't clog your body? Two things: fruit and vegetables. They are mostly water with nature's idea of vitamins and minerals. Now here are a few eating rules I follow and, as I said, following them changed my life forever.
1. I only eat fruit alone. I never eat it after anything else or with anything else. In fact, after eating fruit, I wait at least an hour before I eat anything else (because fruit is naturally digested and eating anything so soon after eating fruit will cause the fruit to ferment and go bad).
2. I eat at least 70 percent fruit and vegetables, raw or steamed ( the other 30 percent of what I eat consists of nuts, seeds, soy, tofu, grains, and so on.) I don't eat meat or anything that is processed and unnatural. Basically, if it isn't out of the ground or if it had to be killed, I don't eat it. In addition, since I went on this plan, my skin, hair, and body have been in much better condition).
3. I don't drink milk. Instead, I drink soy milk, rice milk, almond milk or oat milk.
4. I don't eat after 8:00 PM and if I do, it tends to be only raw fruit or vegetables.
5. I try not to over eat.
6. I try replacing coffee with Yerba Mate tea, Green tea, and black tea.
7. try to avoid sugar ( maple syrup is the best replacement better then honey)
8. I believe that I achieve the best health possible by eating mostly raw fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds, tofu, and soy while avoiding sugar, coffee, alcohol (although I do have an occasional glass of wine), drugs, and food like chips, fries, and anything else that is full of sugar and fat.
I highly recommend that you buy and read Fit for Life 1& 2 by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond.
Next, you have to move. Your body is the source of your money. As I said, it's your business. I don't think being anorexic or bulimic is hip anymore. Being that thin was fashionable in the early 1990s and the agencies are over it, the photographers are over it, and I am over it. What people want now is a beautiful, sexy, healthy look. So let's talk about working out.
As a model you want to be toned so you should give yourself a good work out. Anyone can do is walking and I would say you should try to walk at least 30 minutes to an hour each day. Also, doing yoga and/or modern dance or ballet are both very good for a model's body. You need to move though. If you don't want to walk, run; if you don't want to run, dance. But, whatever you do, as a model, you will be expected at time to be able to prance around in a swim suit so you need your thighs and backside looking good and toned. Joining a gym is a good choice. In New York, places like Crunch or Gold's Gym and so many others offer yoga, some dance and other classes. Get in there! Go to the gym as often as possible. If you can't get to a gym, then walk and stretch on your own. Taking a dance class will also help and, not only is it good for your body, but it's good for your mind and your movement. Modern dance will help your legs and backside and is also amazing for the body. Classes are usually cheap and it is worth the money to look and feel great. Remember, if you sit around and let your body fall apart, it will cost you bookings.
Now, let's talk about your skin. If you are working out and eating right, your skin will show it. If you abuse yourself, your skin will show it too. Your skin will be affected if you don't get enough sleep. Other sources of poor skin include stress, greasy foods, dirt, makeup, pollution, alcohol and drugs. All will affect your skin in a negative way. You can spend lots of money on creams and lotions and just be wasting your time and money. If you want good skin, there is an easy and simple way to achieve it: eat well, sleep enough, and avoid makeup when you can or use oil free makeup created to help sensitive skin or skin with blemishes. It isn't what you put on your face that causes blemishes so much as what you put into your body. With regard to the sun, skin damage is also often caused by exposure to the sun. You may think it is harmless to get hours of sun exposure with no protection, but that beautiful tan will cause you to wrinkle and age at a rapid pace. Tanning in salons is, in my opinion, just asking to speed up the aging process and possibly cause skin cancer. It is better to avoid being in the sun without sunscreen for long periods of time. Don't get me wrong though. Some sun exposure is good for you. Exposure to the sun is how we get our vitamin D. As a model though, you need to do what you can to care for your skin because, just like your body, it is part of your business.
Your hair. Taking care of your hair is also important. You want to use a good conditioner and shampoo. Making sure that your hair is in good condition is an absolute must. If you dye your hair, make sure it is all one color. Photographers don't like having to retouch roots. You also need to learn how to do your hair in as many styles as possible because sometimes the hair stylist is late or gets sick or cancels at the last minute. The best way to learn how to do your hair is simply by doing it. This means going to the store, buying a curling iron, a straightener, a crimper, some gel, bobby pins and other fun toys, and then looking at a bunch of magazines and trying to copy what you see. If you do this long enough, you will get it down pat and it will be easy. When you go to shoots, make sure you bring your hair-related stuff -- all of it. It's better to have too much than not have something you need. Even if the photographer or agency tells you that someone will be there to do your hair, be prepared and have your own hair kit with you. It's better to be safe than sorry.
Makeup: Being a model means you also need to know how to be a makeup artist. Now in order to do this, I recommend a book by Kevin Aucoin. Check out http://www.kevynaucoin.com/ His books are amazing and will teach you everything you need to know about makeup. As a model, you will need to be able to go from a sexy vixen look to a look of innocent sweetness, often at the drop of a hat. Also, you need to build a makeup kit. A good kit can take time to build and it can be expensive, but it is well worth the investment. Mac makes good makeup for shoots because it doesn't come off and it holds its color without fading. Check http://www.maccosmetics.com/ You should always have everything you need to make your face up and also to take it all off.
You also need to have tweezers, nail polish and nail polish remover. Baby wipes are a useful tool too for when you need to clean little things up quickly. Also, having Q-Tips and a good set of brushes is a must. If you have any scars and/or tattoos, you need to have cover-up that can cover them as well. You can do a search on "body makeup" and learn all about it. Be sure when you arrive at a shoot, that you have clean hair, nails and skin unless otherwise instructed by the photographer or agent. Often, you won't know what look they want till you get there.
Okay. Now, let's talk business. As a model, each contact is a business relationship. This means that you need to treat them as such. A photographer is a client just as an agency is a client. They are going to pay your bills, so you need to look at modeling as work and not as a game, an ego thing or a social get together.
Here is a list of a few things that will really hurt your career as a model from the photographer's point of view.
1. An unexplained no show. If you can't make it to a shoot for whatever reason, call right away. Do not leave them waiting or wasting their time. If you can't make it and you don't call, chances are they will be very upset with you and will tell their friends, colleagues and other industry contacts. You will be labeled a "flake" or "unreliable" or "unprofessional" and so on.
2. If you have to cancel, call as soon as you know. I have had to cancel shoots for any number of reasons such as getting food poisoning, having had a death in the family, or a car break down. All of these things are justifiable reasons to cancel, but if they happen, you need to make a call and cancel right away.
3. Do not lie to the photographer about your size, shape, hair and so on. I have heard stories of girl telling someone they were thin when, in fact, they weren't or that they had larger breasts than they actually have or they wear a size 2 when they really wear a size 6. If you lie, you will lose their respect right away and it will get around.
4. Do not get drunk or high on a shoot. I learned this lesson the hard way and I cannot stress this rule enough. Don't do it. It can cause trouble in many ways and it also makes for bad pictures. It is also unprofessional, and it is a good way to lose work. Some people may not mind and may even encourage this kind of behavior, but if they do, chances are that they want you drunk for a reason having nothing to do with making pictures. In addition, if you do get drunk or high on a shoot and the photographer is not into it and is paying you, you run the risk of him feeling that you ripped him off. Now, I know you think the modeling industry is full of drugs and drinking, and yes some of it is, but, as I said before, why would they want you drunk unless they want more than pictures? One glass of wine isn't going to kill anyone, but you should still bear in mind the basic rule -- if you are on a shoot, don't bring drugs or alcohol; and if you accept them from the photographer, you are simply asking for trouble. The best thing to do on a shoot is to be professional, sober and in control.
Now, let's talk about agencies. If you are represented by an agency, here are the no-no's:
1. Do not miss a booking. You will get dropped by the agency for this.
2. Do not miss a casting. They will forgive you, but the agency won't be happy.
Don't think of the agency as anything more than a vehicle for getting you work. Agencies don't want to be baby sitters. They, like you, are a business, and you are their source for money. You are their product - their merchandise. If they are cold or seem harsh, just remember that it is business and it's not personal.
This is something models need to remember and take to heart. So many models get heart broken over being rejected. They think they were too fat or too thin or not pretty enough. In the modeling industry, most of time, the client has in mind a look or what they want before you even show up, so if you are rejected, chances are that it had nothing to do with you and had more to do with the image the client had in its head of what they wanted. Once you really pound this into your head, it will help you avoid living on a roller coaster. You are merchandise and, while I hate to objectify you as a model, but the truth is that you are an object. Most, not all, but most jobs are booked on looks alone, so you can't take things personally. Sometimes people in the business really can treat you coldly, but just remember that it is a business and don't let it get under your skin.
Keeping a positive attitude and being friendly and up beat is always going to help you (although sometimes, depending on the situation, they prefer you to be more quiet and low-key).
Now let's talk about making money and taxes. When you make money, it may or may not be reported to the government. Many models think it is not when, in fact, often it is. Yes, I know that no one wants to or likes having to pay taxes, and I know you don't think it matters, but it does. Now, you may think it is a bad thing to claim money and pay taxes, but let me explain why it is a good thing and how you can use it to help build a life and move forward.
Deductions. As a model you can deduct almost everything. You should, of course, check with your accountant or tax advisor, but, often, depending on your circumstances, you may be able to deduct part of your rent if you work from home; you may be able to deduct all or some of the expenses relating to your internet service, your cell phone bill, makeup, gym, clothing, hair products, travel expenses, food or drink while you're on a job or traveling for a job, pedicure, manicures, books, comp cards, any test and or photo shoots you pay for, any film you have to pay to blow up, any thing you buy for modeling including scanners printer and so on. It goes on and on. Basically, at the end of the year, if you keep accurate records/receipts and have a good tax professional, you may only have to pay very little in taxes.
But why pay taxes? Well, here is the deal. If you want to buy a house or a car or get a credit card, you have to make money. If you don't pay taxes as a model, there may be no way to prove you make money. If you track everything you made and then spent and do it by the book, you can prove you are working, making money and then it can help you get houses, cars, or credit cards. When I moved to New York, I had to prove that I was making money; when I needed a car, I had to prove I was making money without bank statements or tax returns. Having no proof of income isn't any good these days and, while you may not want a house, car or credit card now, you need to think about what you may want in the future. It is important to be able to take care of yourself and to learn how to be financially responsible. This is a very important factor if you want to live a happy and productive life.
Now, we will continue with the education section soon enough, so I will leave you with one more piece of advice: Buy and read this book -- "The Idiot's Guide to Managing Your Money." It will help you a lot.
MORE ARTICLES BY MODEL JILLIAN ANN
HOW TO BUILD A MODELING PORTFOLIO (posted to our Yahoo Group on 10/15/04)
THINGS NEVER TO DO AS A MODEL (posted to our Yahoo Group on 12/27/04)
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN MODELING AT OUR WORKSHOPS
AND OTHER PROJECTS - PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR INFO