About the Author
Judy Goss began her career in the fashion/entertainment industry as a high fashion model for Ford Models in New York, where she lives today.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Welcome to the World of Modeling!
You are about to be walked through the simplest and least expensive way to enter into the modeling world, the way to break into the business preferred by modeling agencies. This book will show you how to be your own manager. These techniques are the ones used by modeling scouts and managers who place new models with agencies all over the world every day.
The information I give you has never before been published in such simple detail for the general public. Why not? One reason is because modeling conventions and schools would lose money if everyone tried to break in the real way—then they wouldn’t be able to charge you for making contacts that you could otherwise make yourself. And I’ll show you how to make many more connections in addition to what they could provide. Plus, conventions and schools make money off workshops that off err the same information I provide right here in this book (such as how to dress and what questions to ask when you go on an agency open call, and about the modeling industry in general). This book will teach you more than a weekend modeling convention with workshops and a semester of school about modeling combined, and for a fraction of the cost—not to mention advice on how to make valuable contacts on your own. People who work at modeling agencies are incredibly busy, and they simply don’t have the time to explain this process to everyone who walks through their doors or sends them pictures. Now, all you need to know to break into the modeling industry has finally been condensed into four easy steps—preparation, pictures, promotion, presentation—that you can follow at your leisure, along with all of the extra know-how about the industry that is crucial to your being a part of it.
I come from twenty years of experience in the fashion industry: I worked as a high-fashion model for several years with Ford Models in New York City and have also had several years of experience as an agent at two of the top-ten high-fashion agencies in the world, including New York Models and Ford NY (yes, I became an agent on their celebrity board long after I was a model with them). In addition I have been a casting director, bookings editor for two national magazines, art buyer, producer, manager, and scout—all in New York City. I also worked at a modeling convention company at one point, so I can let you in on the secrets from every angle possible.
In addition to my easy four-step process, I will also give you tips on how to pose for the camera, common insider scams to stay away from that do not get publicized enough, valuable leads to reputable modeling agencies around the world with specific e-mails and marketing advice, and interviews with and quotes from some high-profile casting directors, models, and expert modeling agents to help you on your way to becoming a model. Some of the advice may even prove useful after you snag an agency for representation: how to present yourself at an open call or casting, how to request financial assistance from an agency ahead of time (especially if you are traveling to a different city to live), and so on.
At the end of the book, I’ve also included important business tips you can apply to your new career, an explanation of insider industry terms to help you speak the lingo, important advice for parents who may be considering a modeling career for their children, as well as follow-up advice—whether or not you find an agency to represent you.
If these techniques do not work the first time, do not give up, but just repeat the whole process in eight weeks. The modeling business has certain “looks” that come and go, and you could be the next type they are looking for at any given time! If you don’t get in the first time, you have a better chance at getting in with another attempt by building on your experience and creating your look to work for you by following these simple steps.
When I started my career in modeling, I approached Ford Models five times at their open calls in New York before they finally accepted me. Plus, as a manager I have personally placed girls without any professional pictures or experience in the industry with agencies around the world, sending only the types of pictures I will show you how to take. In one case, an agency advanced—to more than one girl—overseas plane fare, hotel accommodations, photo shoots to start a portfolio, plus composites! And it’s not that agencies gave me the time of day because they knew who I was; I just was aware of what specific pictures I should send to get their attention. I have also placed a fifty-year-old woman with white hair at one of the best and biggest commercial print agencies in New York City. She then moved from North Carolina to start her career as a model, and became very successful, so the spectrum of the business is probably broader than you think.
My four-step process of breaking into the modeling industry is described as follows:
1. PREPARATION: how to prepare yourself mentally and physically for breaking into the world of modeling, how to realistically figure out what type of model you are. I also provide an overview about how modeling agencies work.
2. PICTURES: how to take the proper photos—including poses, dress, angles, and lighting—that all modeling agencies are looking for.
3. PROMOTION: tips on how to sell yourself to modeling agencies all over the world, and how to find those agencies, for your specific look.
4. PRESENTATION: the optimum way to present yourself at a modeling agency—what to wear, what to say, what questions to ask whether or not they want you to, and how to act, as well as a glimpse into exactly what happens on an open call or a request meeting with a modeling agency.
Please follow these steps precisely, one by one, for maximum efficiency. There are no guarantees, as with any business, but following these steps exactly will give you an edge in breaking into such a highly competitive industry. And make sure to read the entire book before starting the Four-P process, then go back through and focus on the four steps meticulously.
Your First Reality Check
Almost everyone has heard or read stories about the modeling industry. The press covers both extremes—not only the glamorous side of modeling, such as travel to exotic lands, getting paid thousands of dollars for one day’s work, and the benefits of fame and fortune, but also the pitfalls of modeling, the stories of tragic drug addiction and extreme eating disorders. These sensational stories may attract readers and sell tabloids to the public, but they do not give you any idea about how to actually get yourself into the modeling industry, or better yet, what is the best way to attract the attention of people within the industry. The gossip and stories are fun, but modeling is still a business, and should be treated as such.
Before we start my 4-P process, there are several things I can teach you that will not only help you get ready for this business as a newcomer, but that can also be used after an agency or manager selects you and you are well on your way to a successful modeling career. The way to pose for a picture and prepare for castings (which are some of the things I cover in detail) does not change after you actually start working in the business. If you are already working in the industry but are with a modeling agency in a small town or city and want to expand your search for a modeling agency beyond your agency’s capabilities, if you need to change agencies and don’t have a manager to market you, or if you simply want to know the marketing concepts and lingo of modeling so you can keep tabs on how your agency is marketing you, this process will help you. You will always be coming back to the basics I’m going to teach you because they will become the base of everything you eventually are involved in as a model.
Let me first tell you about the number one rule in the modeling industry, a rule that I will keep repeating throughout this book: no one should have to pay money up front to be in the modeling industry. Sure, it will cost you money for the pictures in your portfolio, the pictured composites you give to clients, and other business expenses (which I show you how to get help with from the agencies later on in this book), but these expenses are all incurred after you are in the business and have representation at a legitimate modeling agency or with a model manager. (I explain the difference between agencies and managers in chapter 7 under “Agency Versus Manager” in “Terms You Should Know.”)
If you doubt this, just pick up the phone and call any legitimate modeling agency worldwide and ask them if you need to send professional pictures to their agency as a potential new model. The answer will always be no. If you are still skeptical, then keep reading, because I am excited to show you the real way to break into modeling for hardly any money at all!
Are you thinking that you have already gone down that road and paid money for someone to “market you” who did not work at a modeling agency? These fees are bogusly called “registration” or “consultation” fees. Or perhaps you paid for “photo packages” from someone, or had a credit card submitted for an automatic monthly fee for a Web site that did not get you any castings or contacts. If so, just move forward from here with my advice. To try and save your money you should immediately cancel your “subscription” on any Web site that isn’t directly affiliated with a reputable modeling agency, or get a refund from a photo package that you purchased if you haven’t gone on the actual shoot yet. These are not legitimate ways to break into the modeling industry...